Pilates Shanghai Blog

A blog about Pilates in Shanghai and China

Holiday Mat Exercises

December 14, 2015 — Derrick Cope

As previously mentioned, I am sending some exercises to practice during Christmas so that you don't become a Christmas Grinch!

The are generally pretty easy but should keep you mobile and happy through the Holiday Season.
The routine should take around 40 minutes.
In the Christmas spirit of giving, if you send me a picture of you doing Pilates over the holiday, I will give you a free reformer class!

Mat Exercises

  1. Dead Bugs -Inhale and Exhale with the pelvic movement. Forward and backward as well as side to side. Finish in the center.
  2. Bridging -Exhale as you curl up to the brigde. Inhale and pause.
  3. Shoulder Organization -Inhale to roll shoulder in and up. Exhale to roll them back.
  4. Single Leg Dropout -Exhale and allow one leg to lower toward the ground. Keep the pelvis stable.
  5. Dead Bugs -Exhale to touch one foot to the ground. Maintain the pelvis stable.
  6. Assisted Rollup -Exhale to curl the head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Push into the hands to sit up.
  7. Single Leg Stretch -Exhale to pull the bent leg into the chest and stretch the straight leg to the ground. Inhale to change legs keeping the pelvis stable.
  8. Roll Up -Inhale to lift arms up. Exhale to roll to a forward sitting position. Inhale straighten the spine. Exhale to return to supine.
  9. Single Leg Circle -Exhale to circle leg in and away. Inhale to return out and up. Reverse directions.
  10. The Hundreds -Exhale to roll up head, neck, and shoulders, reach arms forward. Pump arms 5 times with inhale and exhale. Return to supine after 10 sets. note:the traditional exercise is with straight legs.
  11. Side Lying -Inhale as the knee comes forward exhale as it goes back. Keep the torso quiet.
  12. Side Plank -With your elbow beneath your shoulder, exhale to lift into side plank.
  13. Mermaid -Inhale to elongate and exhale to side bend into the rainbow stretch.
  14. Swan Prep -Lying prone, inhale to curl up the head neck and shoulders.
  15. Single Leg Kick -Inhale to bend the knee and flex the foot. Exhale to straighten the leg and lift the thigh. Maintain the pelvis stable.
  16. Swan Dive I -Exhale to curl straightening the arms. The spine should be in a uniform arc, eyes level.
  17. Double Leg Kick -Inhale to bend both legs. Exhale to straighten arms and leg while lifting chest.
  18. Scissor -Exhale to rollover, balance on shoulders. Scissor legs symmetrically.
  19. Standing Roll Down -Exhale roll down toward toes. Pause for an inhale before returning to vertical.

Have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you in class.

Tags: pilates, shanghai-pilates, reformer, christmas-pilates, synapse-pilates

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2015 — Derrick Cope

Though the Thanksgiving Holiday is uniquely American, yes I know Canada celebrates as well, the concept behind the holiday is not. As well as the trend toward less exercise and more eating near the end of the year. See pic below.

This Holiday Season let's exercise as much as we eat!

Having enough food to survive the terrible Shanghai winter isn't a big worry for us as long as we can find enough motivation to put down the ipad and make a trip to CarreFour. Nowadays the harvest is always bountiful and if you can't get mangoes in mid- December for your chia seed mango smoothy then you better "give the store manager a piece of your mind"!

Hopefully though, in the midst of so much food, and parades, and sports spectacles, we can all take a moment to think about what really is important, Health, Family, and Friends. Things that can't be bought and you can never have too much of. Let's appreciate what we have, while we have it.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!
See you in class
dc :)

2015 PMA - China Chapter Conference

October 18, 2015 — Derrick Cope

The Pilates Method Alliance was established in 2001 and is the largest professional association and certifying agency in the world. The PMA is essentially the governing body of Pilates. They have a definition of "What is Pilates " as well as who is elligible to be a "certified" Pilates teacher.

The PMA is the not-for-profit governing body of Pilates.

Each year the PMA hosts the worlds largest Pilates conference. The conference is supported and attended by the best known Pilates instructors in the world including all the first geration Pilates instructors and most of the second generation instructors. The 2015 conference will be held in Denver.

The world's largest Pilates conference is hosted annually in November by the PMA.

Every year following the PMA Conference the PMA - China Chapter invites the best presenters to come to China for our own conference. This year we are extremely honored to welcome Dr. Suzanne Martin to China.

The PMA - China Chapter Conference follows the U.S. conference

Dr. Suzanne Martin, began her career as a dancer but after an introduction to Pilates decided to pursue an instructor certification and eventually acheived her Ph.D in physical therapy. With over 30 years of experience teaching movement, Dr. Martin's China workshop will be an opportunity not to miss.

Dr. Martin has a Ph.D in physical therapy.


Elements and Reformer Course

September 28, 2015 — Derrick Cope

Last weekend we had a great Elements of Movement and Reformer One course in Shanghai. Take a look at some quality of the movements we got during the course.

--The assited rollup is great for warming up the body

--keep the pelvis quiet in "feet in straps"

--hands on teaching is a big part of learning

See more pics on imgur!

Pilates Everyday!

September 28, 2015 — Derrick Cope

"Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities."

- Joseph Pilates 1945

The above quotation by JP is from his 1945 book "Return to Life" and a great definition of his now famous exercise system. "Joe" loved sports! He fenced, ran, boxed, ice skated, and swam. His exercise system was designed to help him keep doing what he loved.

Joe Pilates loved to exercise, without a lot of clothes on.

Pilates isn't just an exercise system, it is a lifestyle. To acheive the full benefits of Pilates it has to become part of your life. That means doing Pilates everyday! It doesn't have to be on the equipment, the mat is fine; it doesn't have to be an hour, half an hour is fine.

"I must be right. Never an aspirin Never an injured day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier"

- Joseph Pilates 1945

If you think about it, our body follows what our mind wants to do all day, without too much complaint. If you spend an hour letting your mind follow your body, you will feel much more balanced.

See you in class! :)

What are the Hamstrings?

September 07, 2015 — Derrick Cope

One of the biggest hurdles for people who are new to Pilates is the hamstrings. Common Pilates exercises, like roll up, roll over, and single leg circle, all require good hamstring length. Since sitting has become a large part of our work life, short hamstrings and consequently poor hip mobility has become a fact of life.

fig. 1 The hamstrings are on the back of the thigh. They are comprised of 3 muscles, two on the inside and one on the outside.

The hamstrings are connected to the pelvis and below the knee. They can move the hip and the knee or if they are tight can restrict movement in these areas. More importantly, because of the connection to the pelvis can also affect the lower back and the posture as a whole.

fig. 2 The hamstrings extend the hip and flex the knee. The first 3 figures above from "initial contact" to "take off" are peak uses of the hamstring.

The traditional way to to stretch the hamstrings is to bend forward at the hips toward the toes, but the this isn't very effective. Pilates exercises can be very effective especially with help of some props.

fig. 3 Single Leg Circle with assistance of a theraband can be a very effective hamstring lengthening exercise.

What is Kyphosis?

August 24, 2015 — Derrick Cope

Recently a client asked me about Kyphosis and whether or not it was a reason for concern so I decided to do this weeks blog post on the subject.

A small amount of kyphosis (convex curve) is normal in the upper spine. As is lordosis (concave curve) in the lower spine.

Too much curvature can be problematic aesthetically (poor posture) and functionally (sore muscles, less mobile). Extreme curvature can cause pain and require medical attention, but most cases do not and are reversable with exercise.

The most common type of kyphosis is just "slouching" and usually accompanied by rounded shoulders and forward head .

Perhaps I am biased because of my profession, but it seems to me that good postures are on the decline due to lifestyle changes involving computers, ipads, and smart phones.

The good news is Pilates is excellent for correcting Kyphosis and improving posture. Helpful exercises include: (1)swan, (2)dart, and (3)scarecrow.

A fitball can be a great tool as well!

Just lie over the fitball supine, as pictured, and extend the arms overhead. Make sure the neck isn't over arched

Sitting Well

August 16, 2015 — Derrick Cope

Summer is drawing to a close and Fall is approaching. Many of you will be spending long hours at your desks.There has been a lot of research on sitting recently and the only conclusion is that there is no good way to sit. If you do have to sit then it is important to sit with good alignment.

The pelvis has three bones: the ilium, the ischium, and the pubis.The spine connects into the back of the two ilium. If we want the spine to be straight the pelvis needs to be vertical.

When sitting, the sitbones should be aimed down at the ground.

When the pelvis is tilted the spine will too arched. When the pelvis is tilted backward the spine will be rounded. When the sitbones are aimed down the pelvis and the spine can be vertical.
A simple exercise you can do in your chair is to tilt the pelvis and round the spine to wake up the muscles and improve posture..

Pilates class has lots of exercises that practice sitting.

Shortbox series on the reformer is a good way to practice sitting well.

Tags: pilates, posture, sitting