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Pilates help needed!

(12 Posts)
oxocube Thu 10-Feb-05 12:47:29

I've bought a pilates dvd hoping to get fit and loose a few inches but I don't know what the instructor is talking about! The dvd is supposed to be suitable for beginners but she uses lots of jargon without explaining what it means. Can anyone tell me what 'zip and hollow' means then at least I could try the first exercise!! Is it like the pelvic floor going up in lift thingy? TIA

iota Thu 10-Feb-05 15:52:26

I presume she means lift your pelvic floor and pull your stomach in. ( and then hold it like that whilst you do all the exercises )

Instructors semm to refer to this in lots of different ways - do your buttons up, try to get a tight pair of jeans done up etc

KateandtheGirls Thu 10-Feb-05 16:01:17

I've never heard that expression. She could be referring to "imprinted spine" which is the position that most pilates exercises are done in. The way my instructor explains how to do this is to put your thumbs on your bottom rib above your belly button and your forefingers on your hip bones, and then shorten the distance between your fingers. You do that by contracting the muscles in the pelvic region, and the small of your back will be on the mat with no space inbetween you and the mat. You kind of rock your pelvis up and towards you, but without actually lifting your bum off the ground. And at the same time you should be pulling in your belly button (and you have to try and keep it pulled in throughout the whole workout).

Does that help?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 10-Feb-05 16:03:14

Oh, oxocube, I have that video. I asked my physio (who told me to buy it), and he said yes, zip is tighten your pelvic floor and hollow is suck your stomach in.

Prettybird Thu 10-Feb-05 16:23:08

"Zip and hollow" doesn't necessarily mean have yuour spine flat to the floor. All of us have a natrual curvature to the spine, so to have your spine totally in contact with the floor would mean that you "tucked" too much.

On your back, you should try and lie with your legs bent up comfortably. Roll your pelvis backwards and forwards (ie into an exggerated arch and then back into a tuck), diminshing the movement slightly each time until you find a "comfortable" position. Your pelvic bones (if you put your hands on your bone bits pointing towrds your pubes) should be about parallel with the floor. This is your "neutral" position. I tend to arch my back a bit much, so following a private session with my instructor, I now feel as if I am tucking ever so slightly in order to be in a "good" neutral.

The zip and hollow comes next - the "zip" is a bit like the "lift" pelvic floor exercise and the "hollow" is the sensation of pulling your belly bottom towards your spine. But you must not move your pelvis out of neutral while doing this. It helps to do this while you are exhaling. (Doing it while you are inhaling is more difficult).

You also need to try to get a sense of what your "neutral" is when standing - and then to do your "zip and hollow" in that position.

Hope that helps!

oxocube Thu 10-Feb-05 18:09:51

Thanks everyone, although it sounds pretty daunting! I thought Pilates might be the easy option to the gym - looks like I was wrong . Will give it a go tomorrow when kids are at school!

oxocube Thu 10-Feb-05 18:11:56

Prettybird, you sound very professional! How long have you been doing Pilates and what effects has it had if you don't mind me asking?

Prettybird Fri 11-Feb-05 08:44:49

I've been doing Pilates for 5 years now - since just about the time I discovered I was pregnant with ds (see the other Pilates thread for more of the story).

It's made a big difference to the strength of my stomache muscles - both while I was pregnant (made my day with GP said it was difficult to exmaine me 's they were so strong ) and post pregnancy when, although there was damage to some of the muscles in my pelvic floor, the remaining "undamaged" ones were strong enough to compensate. Down side was that it delayed me going to see the physios as I didn't have the "normal" symptoms (ie stress or urge incontinence) - it was only when I commented on Mumsnet that I was finding it difficult to hold in tampons that it was suggested I should go for help.

It has also helped my posture, flexibility and the strength of my back. I used to get tension pains between my shoulder blades at work or when cycling and no longer do. I have quite a stiff back and sometimes despair at my lack of flexibility - but them remind myself what it would be like if I wasn't doing Pilates.

It helps to have a really good instructor - the "pictures" she draws really help to make sure you are using all the muscles correctly.

Earlybird Fri 11-Feb-05 21:34:01

Prettybird - you mention that it's important to have a really good Pilates instructor so that you understand the movements....can you share who taught/teaches you? I'm in London, btw.

soapbox Fri 11-Feb-05 21:44:18

Earlybird - not sure where you are in London but I use the pilates studios at LABAN at creekside in Greenwich.

I also use the pilates studio at the London Complementary Health Centre (think thats what its called) in City Road right next door to Moorfields hospital.

I've only ever done studion pilates not mat classes so don't know where you would find a mat class. The studios are fantastic and you get results a lot faster than a mat class because the equipment really helps you achieve exactly the right movement. The downside is that the teacher/pupil ratio is much lower and so it does work out to be quite expensive!

Earlybird Fri 11-Feb-05 21:53:51

soapbox - thanks for the tips. Think Greenwich might be too far for me, but City Road might be a possibility.

I have done a very few mat classes, but like you, have found that I don't get the same results as when I use the equipment. I learned to do Pilates in NYC about 12 years ago, and have tried lots of different places in London (Kilburn, Marylebone, off Oxford Street, Notting Hill, etc). I currently go to a studio in Islington (off Upper Street), and it's the best one I've found so far. But, I'm always interested to hear who's got a recommendation for a good studio/teacher. So, thanks for the tip.

Prettybird Mon 14-Feb-05 16:48:22

Earlyburd - if you google BodyControl Pilates, you'll find a list of the same type of instructors as I use, by area.

I go to Louise Stearn - but she is based in Sitrlingshire, so not much help for you!

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