Pilates with Balls!

Small soft Pilates balls

The small Pilates soft ball (sometimes referred to as an overball or exer-soft ball) is a useful training aid to assist in targeting and isolating specific muscles, particularly the abdominals, inner thighs and the gluteals.  Exercises incorporating a small Pilates ball help to improve strength, endurance, concentration, coordination and balance. It is also helps in the engagement of the pelvic floor.  Equally it can be used as a supporting cushion when partially inflated and is suitable for neck and upper back massages.

Pilates wheel or spine curl using a small soft ball

Melissa now uses the 7″ and 9″ exer-soft ball in all her classes.  These are provided along with mats and head blocks in varying sizes.

Melissa doesn’t use the ball in class to do this though unfortunately.  Watch and marvel…


August Bank Holiday Weekend 2015

Ballet Central on Clevedon Pier

The Pilates class on Saturday 29th August at 10 am will be running as usual at the The Wellbeing Studio in Clevedon over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.  All are welcome so if you have guests visiting, please feel free to bring them along to class.

The 12.30 lunchtime session on Monday 31st August will NOT be running.  Apologies for any convenience this may cause.  Those who usually attend the Monday class are welcome to join the 12.30 Thursday lunchtime session later that week if it suits.

Enjoy the extra leisure time.

To close, here is one of the best girl bands of all time playing Clevedon bandstand…not really but imagine if they did…


Pilates Inspiration – Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold free soloing

Pilates is all about sequence, an ordered set of instructions given to the body, e.g. inhale laterally into the chest, exhale sucking in the tummy muscles, print the spine into and off the mat, engage the pelvic floor muscles etc, to perform an exercise with control and precision.  Sequence is also key to climbing.

The ultimate form of climbing is free soloing where the climber goes it alone, ascending without ropes, harnesses or any other protective gear, relying only on his or her climbing ability. Unlike bouldering, free soloists go beyond heights that are considered safe where a fall would mean serious injury or even death.

Arguably the best free soloist in the world is Alex Honnold.  In this beautiful National Geographic video, we can see the poetry of what’s involved in him scaling a sheer rock face with his bare hands…

Pilates to Ease the Symptoms of Arthritis

Spine shadow

Arthritis is a complex condition affecting millions worldwide. The main symptoms include joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. One of the best treatments to relieve arthritis is Pilates. Here are the key findings from an article which highlights how Pilates can help those suffering from this debilitating disease…

‘Lengthening and stretching the body in a balanced manner assists in relieving the soreness caused by osteoarthritis.  Pilates enhances muscle control, spine stabilization, posture, body awareness, co-ordination and balance. It facilitates in relaxing the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back.’

‘Pilates also improves lung capacity and blood circulation in the body; a better blood supply means more oxygen and nutrients are supplied to the tendons and muscles thus relieving the pain.’

‘People doing Pilates become more aware of the position of their body and its alignment, which is beneficial in relieving stress on major joints. Pilates is also extremely useful in increasing the flexibility and strength of the joints by encouraging controlled movements. Proper motion stimulates the joint surfaces to produce synovial fluids, which lubricates the moving parts of the body. Pilates emphasizes the proper alignment of the body thus avoiding excessive weight or wear and tear on the joints, which results in less damage and ultimately less pain for patients.’

Spine statue

‘Evidence in literature points towards the efficacy of Pilates for patients suffering from different arthritic conditions. One study looked into the effects of Pilates exercises on 50 children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group followed a Pilates-based exercise regime for 6 months, while the members of other group were enrolled in conventional exercise program. At the end of this study, all the participants showed improvement from the symptoms of the disease. However patients following the Pilates programme showed better results both physically and psychologically.’

‘A 2009 study was designed to consider the effects of Pilates on 50 female patients with chronic fibromyalgia. The participants were divided into two random groups, one receiving a Pilates treatment programme under the guidance of a certified trainer for 12 weeks, while the other control group performed stretching and relaxation exercises at home. When comparing the results from the two groups, it was found that the group receiving the Pilates exercise treatment showed significant improvement in pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia, while the other group showed no significant improvement.

‘A similarly designed clinical trial was performed on 55 patients (30 men and 25 women) with ankylosing spondylitis. Again, the participants were divided into two groups. One group received the Pilates exercise therapy to relieve the pain and stiffness, while the other received a standard treatment regimen. At the end of 12 weeks all the participants were tested for disease indicators. On comparison of the results it was once again established that Pilates is the best means to restore movement and reduce pain among patients with Ankylosing spondylitis.’

To read the article in full click here.

Spine made of roses