Training Library

Pilates Core Flow – Intermediate/Advanced Level

What do you do when you don’t have enough time to work out? You carve out 30 min for this video. You can find this time in the morning, during lunch or before going to bed. Give your body just 30 min to get stronger and healthier.

The truth is that you don’t need long exhausting workouts that leave you feeling wiped out in order to stay in shape. You need consistency to stay on track and proper nutrition to fuel your body. Just 20-30 min of functional exercise 5-6 days a week will build the muscle while good clean eating will give you the energy throughout the day.

However, if we have ONLY 30 minutes to work out we need to be smart about the exercises that we choose so that we can get the most “bang per minute.”

Today I wanted to share with you my Pilates go-to mat workout that adds a contemporary twist and flowing transitions to the classical Pilates mat exercises. Your core will be burning but of course your entire body will get an excellent workout.

12 days of Christmas: Full Body Pilates Workout

This is not your ordinary Pilates workout. Get ready to have some fun with this 12 Days of Christmas Cardio Pilates workout. It features classical Pilates exercises in a modern flow with heart-pumping cardio blasts.

This workout will help you strengthen your core, work your upper body and tone your legs all in under 40 min. You will work every muscle in your body while also perfecting your technique of each movement. It’s a perfect workout for the days when you do not have a lot of time but would like to get a full body workout that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed.

But before you get started with the workout take a few seconds to read the story behind it. Continue reading “12 days of Christmas: Full Body Pilates Workout”

Lower Back Release for Strong Core

There are two major reason why most people decide to strengthen their core:

  1. Get strong core to flatten stomach.
  2. Strengthen core to prevent or eliminate back pain.

Regardless of which camp of core “enthusiasts” you fall in, we can all benefit from some gentle release for our lower and upper back. In fact we often work so much to strengthen all of our muscles that we forget that we need to give them rest and learn to RELEASE them.

Lower back often suffers the most from long hours of sitting OR hours of ab exercises done with poor form. When we learn to release the tightness built up in the back of our bodies we can improve our form during any exercises which results in more effective core training. Today we will work on lower and upper back releases that will leave your body feeling amazing.

For this video you will need 2 massage balls. I am using sFera Therapy massage balls but if you don’t have those on hand you can use tennis balls, lacrosse balls or toy balls – basically anything that you can find around the house.

Chest Release to Correct Posture and Open Up Tight Pecs

Correct slouched posture by releasing chest muscles using sFera massage balls.

Trigger Points in the Pectoralis Major and Minor cause tightness and shortening of this muscle group. As a result the shoulders are being pulled forward creating a round-shouldered posture and sponsoring Trigger Point creation in the back muscles.

It is needless to say that hours spent behind the computer with bad posture (head forward, shoulders rounded) are detrimental to the health of the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor. Young mothers are also at risk of developing Trigger Points in this area as they are nursing and caring for the baby.

Carrying a heavy backpack that makes you lean forward to lighten the weight of the load can be another cause of Trigger Points in the pecs.

Repeat this technique at the end of the day to counteract negative effects of the modern lifestyle or before any workout to experience more opening in the chest and shoulder area.

Benefits of the Pectoralis Major and Minor Release

  • Improve posture (correct the round-shouldered, head-forward posture.)
  • Relieve chest and front of the shoulder pain.
  • Increase range of motion in the shoulder (particularly the movement of reaching the arm back.)
  • Successful deactivation of the Pectoralis Major and Minor Trigger Points is essential to the effective release of the Trigger Points in the upper back and shoulder muscles as the latter are sponsored by the tightness in the pecs.

Forearm and Hand Release to Relieve Wrist, Elbow and Hand Pain

Release trigger points in the forearm muscles to relieve wrist, elbow and hand pain. You will need a wall to lean on, a table and sFera Massage Balls.

Of all the muscles that you have thoughts about releasing forearms are probably the last ones. In fact, many people are not aware of any tightness or muscle knots in their forearms until they discover pain in the elbow or wrist. Many people live many years with occasional numbness or tingling in their fingers without ever giving these symptoms any attention.

“Tennis elbow” and “carpal tunnel syndrome” are two terms that get thrown around a lot if there is any pain in the elbow or wrist. However, all of these symptoms can be merely a sign of active Trigger Points in the forearm.

Trigger Points in the forearm are easily aggravated by our modern lifestyle that involves long hours of typing, writing with a pen (not so much these days) and any sport activity that requires you to grip something for long periods of time (yes, an occasional tennis match can be the cause of all the pain.)

If you have any pain, tingling or numbness in the hand then it can be a sign of active Trigger Points in the arm and shoulder muscles. Please refer to the release techniques in those muscles (click here) before you work on releasing Trigger Point in the hand itself.

Benefits of the Forearm and hand Trigger Point Release

  • Relieve hand and wrist pain.
  • Relieve “tennis elbow” symptoms.
  • Relieve stiffness in the hands.
  • Relieve discomfort in the palm and thumb area.
  • Improve grip strength.

Upper Arm Myofascial and Trigger Point Release to Increase Range of Motion and Relieve Pain

Simple self-massage for the upper arm muscles (deltoid, triceps, biceps and brachialis) to increase range of motion, speed up athletic recovery and relieve shoulder and elbow pain.
You will need a wall to lean on and sFera Massage Balls.

Trigger Points in the Muscles of the Arm often refer pain to the hand and elbow. Any injury, repetitive stress in the workplace, carrying heavy bags or lifting weights can set up Trigger Points in this area. The pain from the Triceps, Biceps and Brachialis Trigger Points will often manifest itself in the elbow making most daily activities very uncomfortable.

Bebefits of the Upper Arm Muscle Relase

  • Improve athletic performance and prepare muscle for strengthening.
  • Relieve elbow and shoulder pain.
  • Increase range of motion in the elbow.
  • Relieve symptoms associated with “tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow.”

Infraspinatus Trigger Point Release to Relieve Front Shoulder Pain

Increase range of motion in the shoulder area by releasing active and latent Trigger Points in the Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles. You will need sFera massage balls to perform this release.

Both Infraspinatus and Teres Minor are rotator cuff muscles and they play a huge role in our ability to lift and rotate our arm. Trigger Points in the Infraspinatus cause deep ache in front of the shoulder that feels as it was coming from inside the shoulder joint.

Tightness in the Infraspinatus that harbors active Trigger Points usually causes tightness in the other rotator cuff muscles. When not treated, this rigidity can cause “frozen shoulder” symptoms that completely limit the movement of the arm.

Working at a job that requires keeping the arms overhead or out in front for long periods of time promotes creation of Trigger Points in Infraspinatus and Teres Minor. Working behind the computer without elbow support, common accidents and injuries as well as many sports activities put continuous strain on the rotator cuff muscles causing creation of Trigger Points in the area.

Benefits of the Infraspinatus and Teres Minor Release

  • Prevent and release “frozen shoulder” caused by muscle tightness
  • Relieve deep pain in front or back of the shoulder
  • Release tightness and rigidity in the shoulder
  • Improve range of motion in the shoulder joint

Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain by Releasing Trapezius and Supraspinatus

Find relief from neck and shoulder pain by releasing Trigger Points in the Supraspinatus and top portion of the Trapezius muscle. You will need a wall corner and sFera Massage Balls.

Supraspinatus is a small muscle buried under a thick fold of the Trapezius muscle above the spine of the shoulder blade. This muscle is a little awkward to get to but it is definitely worth the effort that you will put into accessing it. Trigger Points in the Supraspinatus as well as the Trapezius (which covers this small muscle) can be the primary cause of deep shoulder pain and tightness in the neck area.

Carrying heavy loads with straight arms or working with the arms overhead for long periods of time (for example painting) easily set off Trigger Points in this important muscle.

Benefits of Supraspinatus Release

  • Relieve pain in the outer shoulder
  • Increase range of motion in the shoulder joint

Head and Neck Release to Relieve Tension Headaches

There are many small muscles on the back of the neck that are key players in the movement of the neck and head. Covering each muscle individually goes outside of the scope of this guide. Trigger Points in different neck muscles that can be accessed safely and  effectively by massage with sFera balls are localized near the base of the skull.

All of these Trigger Points will cause pain in different parts of the head ranging from deep migraines to temple headaches. They can also be a source of stiffness in the neck.

Suboccipital Muscles are a group of small muscles at the base of the skull that usually harbor numerous Trigger Points even in people who do not suffer from frequent headaches. These muscles tend to contract in response to emotional stress and develop active Trigger Points that can send migraine-like headaches.

Benefits of the Suboccipital Release

  • Relieve common headaches
  • Increase range of motion in the neck
  • Relax

Tight Back Release and Stretch to Relieve Back Pain and Improve Posture

Is your back tight? Do you want to improve your posture? This trigger point and self-myofascial release technique will help you release muscle knots in the paraspinals (muscles that run along the spine.) You will need sFera Massage Balls.

Exercises in this video will help you open up your back and enjoy more flexibility in your torso. It’s a great idea to follow up this video with a core training workout (try this one) to create a strong foundation in your body and prevent future episodes of back pain.

All spinal muscles become extremely vulnerable if the abdominal muscles are weak and deconditioned. Any sudden movement, bad twist, heavy lifting (especially with a bad technique) can cause an injury to these muscles and create Trigger Points in them. Poor posture (slouching, uneven weight distribution) are another cause of Trigger Points and unexplained back pain.

Benefits of Paraspinals Release

  • Relieve back pain along or a couple of inches away from the spine
  • Correct postural imbalances associated with tightness in the back muscles
  • Prepare body for effective core training
  • Release tight back muscles