Go ahead…ask?

16 years of owning and operating Marin’s oldest and most decorated Pilates studio has partnered my trainers and I with clients that are some of the most successful, fascinating, well traveled, well fed, well clothed, coiffed, and well…everything!
We thought…why not share!
Of course while we will feature health, wellness and Pilates related queries…this space will also be used to share tips on restaurants, travel, shopping, music and a variety of things and places our clients share with us on a daily basis. Consider this…your own little goldmine (but DO share) as that is how this whole idea got started. Feel free at anytime to ask any questions that might be burning a hole in your brain and if we don’t know the answer…we know one of our clients will! Let the sharing begin!


Buns of Steel

Jane Fonda put buns, and hard body parts on the map! People are always asking in the studio about the best way to buns of steel. There are many ways but the best exercises we’ve found to tighten those tushies are still found in the original Jane Fonda Workout series. Remember Fire Hydrants and Donkey Kicks? If not, you might be too young to need to read this. Really, if you spend just 10 minutes a day doing these (and not eating) you will really see a difference. Lets review some of the basics.

Fire Hydrants

Get down on “all-fours.” Both of your hands should be palm side down and flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle and both your knees as well as your toes should also have contact with the ground.

Choose which side you will work first. Pick either your left or right side for your first set. After performing the first set, you should switch sides.

Wet the hydrant. While keeping your leg bent, lift the chosen leg up and rotate it out to your side until the inside of your thigh is parallel with ground. This is much like when a male dog lifts his leg out to urinate.

Return to the original position on “all-fours.” This is known as 1 repetition or “rep,” and it is the end position of the exercise.

Donkey Kicks

Same starting position as Fire Hydrants.
Take a nice deep breath in.
As you breathe out, draw your naval to your spine, raise your right leg to a 90 degree angle to the ceiling. Keep the weight on your left leg.

Keep your back straight (no sagging or arching) do not lean backward or forward and do not allow the knee of the lifted leg to go higher than the line of your neck.

Your right foot should be pointing toward the ceiling as you do small pumping motions as if you were trying stick something to the ceiling.

As you breathe in, lower your right leg back to the starting position

Repeat this exercise with your left leg.

There are many good variations to these like straight leg circles and swing kicks. You can even make up your own as long as the form stays the same.  No back sway or arch. Keep your body position straight. No Leaning to one side or the other. As with any exercise you try. Be sure to check with your doctor (  Duh…I have to say that ) and if you find that kneeling on one side is too hard on the knee or leg, you can use a gardening pad under your knee and this usually solves the problem.

E-mail us with any questions and send us those bikini pictures sporting your new buns of steel!!!!

Full Swing Pilates

This month FFP launched Full Swing Pilates. A program specifically focused on improving your golf game.

Golf is one of those sports that the more you practice…the more you realize how much more you need to practice. While the ‘greats’ make the game look effortless and at times poetic, it is indeed comforting if not a bit satisfying to know that even they can have really smelly days!

Pilates is a great way to improve your golf game and both disciplines share many of the same philosophies. Both are mind and body practices and require concentration, strength, flexibility and power.
During a golf swing, the workload put on the spine and supporting structures is immense. Consequently if the body is out of balance, the risk of injury intensifies. Many hours are spent working on improving the swing but in my experience, the problems are often the result of poor bio mechanics.

In golf…age isn’t a limitation. Experience isn’t a limitation. Equipment isn’t a limitation.

Pilates helps you:
•    Build up the back muscles evenly
•    Elongate and align the spine for better stability
•    Strengthen the abdominals
•    Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance
•    Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
•    Enhance concentration through focused breathing
Performance Benefits
A stronger and more stable core helps golfers:
•    Attain an optimal backswing and follow-through with increased range of motion in shoulders
•    Get more distance and power because of added hip and torso flexibility
•    Have a stronger and bigger hip turn for greater power through rotation
•    Create a smoother and more powerful swing due to evenly conditioned back muscles
•    Maximize balance and alignment while rotating
•    Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body
•    Hold a body position long enough to play through a shot
•    Play without pain!

Pilates exercise also incorporates core-extremity integration in multiple planes and configurations that allow for better control of the extremities. This control will help the golfer fine-tune the ability to direct the ball.

When a client signs up for this program, we will first look at what your pre and post game rituals are (or aren’t). We will then take a look at your actual swing mechanics and finally, you will be given exercises based on your specific needs.

You must fix your body to fix your swing!

Will Pilates guarantee you a spot on the PGA tour??? Maybe…but one thing is for sure, if you improve your core strength, alignment and balance, you will reduce the risk of injury and improve your game!

Happy New Year…Now get to work!!!!

Yes…it’s that time again when we all stand in front of our mirrors and groan about eating and drinking too much. Did the holidays go right to your hips? Give the gift that keeps on giving, a gift certificate to the best workouts ever. Let us melt away those muffins and prepare you for that spring fling.

This is also the time of year when many of you go off to hit the slopes (after not even putting on a ski boot in a year) and come back limping and crying. Not our clients. Many of you have returned after going through a series of Mogul Madness classes reveling that you hit the ski slopes like you never stopped skiing. We’ll give you Black Diamond Quads in no time.

Here are a few pre-ski pointers:

Start doing Ball Squats now to build up the quads. Backward lunges are also great.

Wall Sits are also good to strengthen quads and easy to execute. Just lean back into the wall like you are sitting in a chair and stay there as long as you can. Build up the amount of time you can sit.

Seated Leg Lifts. Sit with your back against the wall and lift your straight leg and hold for as long as you can. These are really hard so don’t be discouraged (wimp) if you can only lift for a second.

Seated ABC’s. In a chair sitting straight up (no leaning back cheaters), put your leg straight out in front and write the block ABC’s with your leg (not your foot…again with the cheating). Try and get all the way through the alphabet.

Lastly, remember it is important to stretch. Not 2 minutes before you are ready to ski your first run. Start with an aggressive stretching program now and it will really pay off! If you need help with any of this…you know where to find us!!!

Have a Happy & Vibrantly Healthy New Year from all of us at Fit First Pilates!