-By Jordana Herman

What do Professional athletes like Kobe Bryant, Hope Solo have in common with actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Lucy Liu and Performers Pink and Lady Gaga? PILATES! Pilates is a huge part of their physical fitness routine. They say it makes them feel strong and beautiful, they’re more flexible and less prone to injury. Article after article shows pictures of our favorite Celebs on the Reformer, Mat, Tower doing their workout of the day stretching and strengthening, looking fabulous spreading the word. Pilates is the workout we should all be doing.

Even if you’re not a professional athlete, many of you who live in the Hudson Valley live your lives as if you are. You’re out there most days of the week moving and grooving and have heavy schedules balancing work and family.

So you may think I’m doing all I can to stay at the top of my game but I assure you, you aren’t, not yet. But you can be! You can use the secret weapon of PIlates like the Celebs do to get your body looking the way you want and while you’re at it, watch your performance go through the roof. It’s like being catapulted to the next level.

Before I began taking Pilates I was an avid hiker. Up on the Mountain 3-5 days a week and doing Yoga almost as often. I missed the ballet barre classes I took in NYC and someone suggested trying Pilates instead. I had no idea what it even was! So I started with one on one lessons. During those first few weeks when I hiked or did Yoga I knew something was different. I had more stamina, I was more flexible, I could dig deeper and find a higher level of performance than I ever had. The only thing I changed in my workout routine was Pilates.

I began taking all types of Pilates lessons I could on all the apparatus 3-5 times a week. I think it was my dedication to Pilates that helped me sustain 60 hour work weeks while raising my first son and managing numerous operations, a bad back and Lyme Disease. It was my secret weapon. I want to make it your secret weapon too!

Embarking on any new exercise routine, especially one so foreign as Pilates can feel awkward and embarrassing but with a really awesome Pilates Teacher who makes you feel comfortable you’ll feel confidence. Find that teacher with many years of experience and you’ll be in good hands. You can start with private lessons alternating with group lessons. But consistency is the key! Any combo of sessions and group classes twice a week is a good start and with your own personal trainer, you’re less likely to waste money on that monthly Gym membership and you’ll get the results the Pros get!


Enjoy my recent column “PILATES STRONG” in the current Beacon Free Press newspaper Healthy Lifestyle section! November 28. Page 3.

In many way Pilates is Calisthenics along with active stretching. Ab exercises similar to sit ups, upper body exercises like planks and push ups and stretching, even lunges are the types of exercises and movements you’ll find in a Pilates workout. A combination of your body weight and springs provide resistance training that makes your body strong, flexible and stable. It improves balance and coordination. Gives you great stamina and even an increased ability to focus! If done correctly, it rids the body of imbalances and eases chronic pain.

Pilates is emerging as a mainstream form of exercise for women and men. Daily Pilates is recommended by Doctors, Physical Therapists, Professional Athletes and Actors. Pilates has become a foundational workout clients worldwide rely on look great and stay fit!

Pilates can be perfectly suited for your needs and goals. Qualified Pilates Teachers who have gone through accredited training programs, usually 600 hours, will be able to adapt your workout to meet your goals and needs at any level. It’s true, everyone can do Pilates.

If you’re still hesitant to take the leap, most Pilates studios offer introductory packages and specials. In 5-10 one-on-one lessons you will be get to know how to use the apparatus, the names of the exercises and the sequences in a stress free environment. Group lessons are generally taught at most Pilates studios. Mat, Tower and Reformer classes are wonderful additions to your workout.

So if your long runs hurt your knees and feet, if your back hurts and you don’t know what to do, maybe you suffer from Lyme disease, an ACL surgery, preparing for a Triathlon or just ready to feel an overwhelming improvement in your body, it’s time to give Pilates a try!

Purpose of Pilates exercises and proper cueing

Teaching Pilates is a multi-tasking effort. The purpose of each exercise is an important piece to this multi-tasking puzzle. The best time to layer in cues, key phrases and make corrections is while the client is in motion. Explaining proper movement is not the same as the actual “doing” of the movement making the mind/body connection. To develop and improve the technique of appropriate cueing, the cues used should exist symbiotically with the movement of the exercise.

For example ongoing cues to glide the shoulder blades on the back are not the primary goal throughout each exercise. To say over and over to a client the same cue no matter what exercise they are doing will more than likely not have the desired effect. Resist the urge to get caught in this rut.

If the action of the exercise is the Roll like a Ball, at it’s simplest level the goal of the exercise is a massage of the spine with abdominal support. At it’s most advanced level, it’s to prepare the client for a controlled roll up into an exercise such as the Teaser. In order to progress clients from Beginners to Advanced. To advance their skills and teach proper technique from the very first c-curve we must take our cues to a new level with a new purpose and a new understanding.

The same is true for exercises in extension like Swan Dive or where the “Box” should be square such as Kneeling Side Kicks. Should the arms or the legs should be lengthening during the action of an exercise? If so we must speak of that while the client is moving and use specific verbs, cues and key phrases. Is the exercise a massage/warm up or cool down like Seal? Or is it a more dynamic action like Jackknife?

By questioning the purpose of the exercise, performing the exercises ourselves to think and feel the action in our own bodies and to properly cue with that purpose in mind will develop proper and supportive teaching techniques for you and your clients.

The Brilliance of the Barrels

The brilliance of the Barrels and Spine Correctors have helped so many people walk out of last weekends Comprehensive Apparatus training at Power Pilates NYC relieving their pain and creating big smiles. Don’t let it collect dust. It creates Pilates Magic!


-Photo under copyright and trademark courtesy of TecnoPilates.