When you imagine a Pilates aficionado, you probably think of a young, thin, healthy and Physically Active human. I am none of those things.
In this post, part of our Good Form/Not So Good Form series, you will learn how to correctly perform a plank as well as the reasons why it's so important to have excellent biomechanics when you exercise.
Let's start with not so good plank...
In this plank you'll notice a dropped head, pelvis not aligned with the neck, and arms forward of the shoulders. Not only do the bones of body lack alignment, the body's energy in this plank feels like it's dropping to the floor! That's going to work against you if you wan to hold plank for a period of time.
Now, on to good plank...
What differences do you see? The neck is long and in alignment with the shoulders and pelvis, and the arms are under the shoulder girdle. This plank displays an upward momentum of energy - exactly what you need when doing this exercise!
So, why does form matter?
When the bones of your body are in alignment your muscles work efficiently and spontaneously.
Try this: while sitting, slouch your back and try to turn your head right and left. Does the movement of your neck feel restricted? Now, sit up straight (find your best posture) and turn your head side to side again. It should feel unrestricted, natural and smooth. Simply putting the bones of your neck and spine in alignment allow your muscles of your neck to work efficiently.
When you attend classes at All Wellness you get more than a workout - you get an education. Learn excellent biomechanics and gain an increased awareness of your body that will bring more ease to your daily activities. Join us today!
When asked what I do for a living I start with, "I own a business in Burlington, VT called All Wellness. We offer physical therapy, rehabilitative Pilates, and I teach an awesome high intensity class on the Da Vinci BodyBoard that uses resistance bands to strength train." Everyone understands the owing a business and physical therapy part of my response, most people know about Pilates, but hardly anyone knows about the Da Vinci BodyBoard and our resistance band system.
The Da Vinci BodyBoard was developed by our friend, Floery Mahoney in 2011. Floery is a fellow Vermonter (now living in Santa Fe where her flagship studio is located) and was one of the first people to open a Pilates studio in Vermont. With a background in fitness, Floery wanted a way to exercise with resistance bands and tada (well, it took a little longer than that) the Da Vinci BodyBoard came to be.
When I heard about the BodyBoard I invited Floery to All Wellness for a demo. She showed up with 6 long wooden boards that had resistance bands attached to the top, bottom, and sides. After the demo I knew the system needed to be offered in a class format. All Wellness was the very first studio (ever!) to offer Da Vinci BodyBoard classes. The strength training system has spread across the country and all the way to Japan and Korea.
WHAT IS THE BODYBOARD?
The Da Vinci BodyBoard looks a little like a surf board. It's about 8 feet long and the width of a yoga mat. The board is made of wood and has holes cut into the top and bottom that allow resistance bands to be attached to it. There are resistance band tubes at the top with handles and velcro ankle straps at the bottom, as well as Theraband that runs along the length of the board. The bands are used in some combination during every exercise.
WHY RESISTANCE BANDS?
- They strengthen the neuromuscular system where it's weakest, at the end of the range of motion.
- Humans move in three planes of motion and resistance band bands allow us to train in all planes. Free weight can definitely create vertical loading and feedback, but muscles need to be strong and reactive in all vectors not just up and down.
- Resistance bands get harder the further a band is stretched, which teaches us how to accelerate when pushing or pulling and decelerate when releasing tension.
- Bands can be used to safely load movements such as running, jumping, hopping and kicking without altering the bio mechanics of those movements. It is difficult and sometime dangerous to run, jump or hop correctly with any type of free weight on the body.
- Unlike free weight training, resistance bands requires you to train through the full range of motion which, in turn, requires a great workout load.
If that's too much science for you all you need to know is this: resistance bands are a safe, effective, and fun way to strength train.
Yes, so much more! Not only does All Wellness have the BodyBoard, we also have a resistance band suspension system that hangs from our ceiling (think stretchy TRX), resistance bands attached to our walls and loops secured to our ballet barres. Each class moves seamlessly from wall, to ceiling, to board - the end result is a high intensity class that gives you a full body workout plus cardio.
Class Times: Monday 4:30 & 5:30, Tuesday 9:00 & 5:30, Thursday 5:30, Friday 9:30. We offer Lite classes for beginners.
New clients get their first 2 weeks for $29 and will receive a one time only membership offer at the end of their trial
Quality of life. Everyone wants it, but what does it really mean? Quality of life is subjective and refers to the positive and negative features of life like your health, family context, career, living conditions, outlook on life, spiritual and political beliefs. Generally, the happier, more comfortable, and healthier you are the better your quality of life.
If you feel your quality of life needs improvement, adopting a healthier lifestyle can help. Many research studies are being published on the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Here are the top 3 ways yoga can increase your quality of life.
1. Yoga Stimulates the Brain's Pleasure Centers
Yoga inhibits the posterior or sympathetic area of the hypothalamus. This inhibition optimizes the body's responses to stressful situations and restores mechanisms associated with stress. Yogic practices inhibit the areas responsible for fear, aggressiveness and rage, and stimulate the rewarding pleasure centers in the brain and other areas leading to a state of bliss and pleasure.
2. Yoga Increases Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a chemical found in the human body that carries signals along and between nerves. Serotonin is regarded by some researchers as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, and that a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.
3. Yoga Improves Flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. But do you know why? With consistent practice, yoga gradually loosens the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the bones and joints. The body's joints are taken through their full range of motion, squeezing and soaking areas of cartilage not often used and bringing fresh nutrients, oxygen and blood to the area.
How would your quality of life improve if you were less stressed, more flexible, and experienced pleasure more frequently? Contact our Yoga Therapist, Lucy D'Aponte, to discuss how a personalized yoga program can benefit you. We offer our clients a beautiful studio and convient Burlington, VT location.
To learn more about how yoga increases quality of life read the full study by the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi, The Center for Health Behavior Research, 215 Turner Center, University, MS, USA in the International Journal of Yoga.