PilatesPlus Blog

Take Your Workout Up a Notch with Dynamic Pilates

Posted by on 5:29 pm in Blogs | 0 comments

If you’re into intense, blood-pumping workouts that give you an adrenaline high, Pilates may not exactly be the first thing to come to mind. 

Yet, that’s exactly what’s in store you for you once you step into the studio for a session of Dynamic Pilates.

You see, Dynamic Pilates differs from its traditional and comparatively more relaxed counterpart in its intensity and vigour, making it a great cardio workout as well. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about how Dynamic Pilates and how it can turn you into a lean, mean, fitness machine. 

Pilates at its Core—and So Much More

Dynamic Pilates is similar to classic Pilates in that it features a series of controlled and precise movements meant to re-establish your natural balance. Dynamic pinpoints the waist’s and lower back’s core muscles, which provide support for your entire body. Both Dynamic and traditional routines likewise feature a lot of stretching.

Dynamic Pilates, however, puts a lot of emphasis on improving posture and developing toned muscles in a short amount of time—hence the high level of high-powered activity. Some routines are a lot like classic Pilates combined with circuit training moves, where other muscle groups as well as the core muscles get a good workout.

Anyone who switches from classic to Dynamic is bound to notice how workouts are longer, with each exercise repeated for longer periods to achieve thorough muscle fatigue. Moving the larger muscle groups such as the glutes are also given emphasis to make sure the entire body benefits.

Dynamic Mat Pilates

Dynamic Mat combines Joseph Pilates’ traditional mat exercises with energetic movements performed at a faster pace. You could say Dynamic incorporates all Six Principles of Movement formulated by Pilates himself: Breath, Concentration, Control, Centering, Precision and Flow, making it more challenging and more fun (if you’re the upbeat type) than classic Pilates. 

The real challenge lies in being able to blend each movement into a seamless, continuous whole while exercising your entire body.

Exercises during a typical Dynamic Mat class include:

  • Abdominal series
  • Kneeling
  • Leg circles
  • Planking, front leg pulls, push-ups, stars, side bends, twists, side kicks
  • Quadrupeds
  • Rolling like a ball, seal rolls, boomerangs and open leg rockers
  • Roll overs, control balances, corkscrews, jack knifes
  • Roll ups
  • Saws
  • Single leg and shoulder bridging
  • Spine twists and stretches
  • Standing balances, squats and roll downs
  • Swan, swimming, and rocking extensions

While Mat Pilates generally uses your own body weight, Dynamic Mat Pilates may also add the use of other exercise equipment such as flex bands, foam rollers, hand weights and mini stability balls. 

Dynamic Reformer Pilates

To take your workout to the next level after the next level, Dynamic Pilates can be done on a Reformer, which is a special apparatus used for Pilates exercises. This apparatus, which looks a lot like a bed with a lot of hoops and straps, allows you to perform a greater number of exercise combinations in a full range of motion than you could with just a mat. 

More importantly, a reformer makes it possible for you to work out smaller muscle groups, and makes exercises for developing lean muscle that much more effective. During workouts, you lie down on the reformer, kneel and stand on it, or squat on one end of it to exercise different muscle groups. To exercise your arms, you add free weights to your routine.

In Dynamic Pilates, reformers provide greater resistance during workouts, which means you exert more effort, and achieve results faster. And as its name suggests, Dynamic exercises are linked continuously into one, smooth flow so, you keep on moving while you’re on the apparatus. Note that there aren’t a whole lot of rest breaks in between exercises, which means you’re going to have to concentrate to keep up with the rest of your class.

Don’t let the reformer intimidate you—it’s true there’s a lot of attaching and detaching going on but your instructor will take you through each routine step by step. Classic Pilates practitioners would likely be familiar with the moves done on reformers in Dynamic.

The good news is that both Dynamic Mat and Reformer routines complement each other, which means you can do both as part of a comprehensive fitness regimen.

How Dynamic Pilates Does You Good

Dynamic Pilates’ focus on the core enhances your posture, flexibility, endurance and strength, helping you stay active and keeping you from getting injured (or making existing injuries worse). It also helps you develop lean muscle.

Dynamic Reformer Pilates, in particular also helps build muscle size and strengthens your connective tissues. In time, you’ll find you won’t be fatigued as easily while carrying out everyday tasks. 

Dynamic Reformer is also great for spine alignment and stabilisation, correcting muscular imbalances in your lower back and making you look taller (and more confident). The best part is standing up straight will become a habit that carries over outside of the Pilates studio.

A typical one-hour session of Dynamic also burns 300 calories and keeps you burning even more calories for some eight to 10 hours after the workout ends, making it ideal for weight-watching fitness buffs. An increase in muscle mass resulting from Dynamic also means the ability to burn more calories, which in turns means burning up excess body fat. 

Dynamic Pilates also improves your breathing, increasing your lung capacity and efficiency not just while working out but also while you’re at rest. Improved breathing also increases your energy levels overall.

Both Beginners and Buffs are Welcome

You don’t need to have any Pilates experience to enjoy the full benefits of Dynamic Pilates. If you’re new to Pilates or have had some experience at a beginner’s level, Mat classes are a great way to try Dynamic Pilates. 

If you have tried Pilates before, you’ll be familiar with many of the exercises which might give you an edge in getting the hang of Dynamic routines faster. 

Pilates Plus offers a wide variety of both Mat and Reformer classes in groups and private sessions. Check out our class schedule or get in touch with us to ask how you can get started on Dynamic Pilates, today.


Mummy Tummy Troubles? Try Pilates.

Posted by on 10:45 am in Blogs | 0 comments

Let’s face it: We can’t all be Chrissy Teigen. But if you think only supermodels can have a slim waist or only men can have a six-pack, think again.

A nice, firm mid-section before and after pregnancy is possible with ab sculpting Pilates exercises. Even if you already have a mummy tummy, AKA the mom pooch  (or a muffin top, love handles, beer belly or so on), you may want to consider Pilates instead of crunches or a crash diet.

To understand how Pilates can help, let’s first take a look at how mom pooches form, along with other causes of tummy flab. We’ll also take a look at supposed mom pooch solutions, and why Pilates ab sculpting exercises could prove to be more effective.

How a Mom Pooch is Born

The way the body makes way for the bun in the oven is a wonder of nature in its own right. Unfortunately, once the air is let out of the balloon, so to speak, the tummy tends to look as deflated and wrinkly as its rubber counterpart, instead of reverting to its pre-pregnancy form. The obvious challenge would then be to improve the mid-section’s skin turgor and muscle tone.

But the root of the problem lies in the abdominal muscles, where a condition called Diastasis Recti separates the muscles that make up the six-pack. These muscles are connected in the middle by the linea alba, which is the white area you can see in the front part of the illustration below.

Picture credit: By OpenStax College – https://cnx.org/contents/FPtK1zmh@8.108:y9_gDy74@5, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64291130

The separation of the muscles takes place as the tummy extends to accommodate the growing foetus. As the baby grows, these muscles can stretch up to 50% of their original length. Diastasis Recti is also caused by rapid weight gain, heavy lifting, and heavy-duty abdominal exercises.

You can tell at sight whether a person has this condition if you see a ridge-like bulge in the middle of the abdomen.  There’s also a “touch test” which you can take by lying flat on your back and slowly lifting your head above the surface while running your hands long the linea alba. If you feel something protruding, then Diastasis Recti is the culprit.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of how the test is done.

[ Embed:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvybTZiLqRE ]

Other Tummy Flab-Causing Factors

If you’ve determined that Diastasis Recti isn’t behind your jelly belly, then there are other ways tummy flab may be formed, some of which aren’t as obvious as you might think. Medical News Today identifies the following on top of the usual bad diet, drinking and inactivity:

  • Stress, with which the body copes by releasing a hormone called cortisol, which unfortunately also causes extra calories to accumulate round the tummy to be used when called for.
  • Genetics, which some findings suggest can influence a person’s chances of becoming obese along with behaviour and environment.
  • Lack of sleep, which research has linked to excess tummy fat—this refers to sleep quality as well as duration.
  • Smoking, which, while it doesn’t directly cause flab formation, has been linked by a study to be a risk factor for developing it.

Rectifying Diastasis Recti

Now if Diastasis Recti is the cause of your mummy tummy, let’s get some bad news out of the way first: there’s no cure. 

The good news, however, is that there are things you can do about it to improve the way a mum tum looks. If you take another look at the inset of the illustration above, you’ll see the muscle called the Transversus abdominis (AKA “internal girdle”), which studies say plays a key role in preventing and correcting Diastasis Recti.

But if you’d rather not wait for the results of a Transversus abdominis workout, there’s also the surgical route to mom pooch removal which is better known as the tummy tuck. Also technically referred to as abdominoplasty, this highly invasive procedure involves sewing the muscles back together to tighten up the abdomen for quick results.

Don’t Work Out Hard—Work Out Smart

Find yourself shuddering at the prospect of long incisions being made on your tummy and running the risk of scars? Then exercise presents a friendlier method of melting the muffin top. With the goal of shedding pregnancy pounds and strengthening your core muscles, a conscientious exercise plan could very well do the trick.

Be advised, however, that not all exercises touted as tummy flab fighters are your friend; in fact, some of them—like the crunch—might even make your mummy tummy worse. Yes, you read that right: crunches aren’t always the go-to for a streamlined waistline, which is why finding out whether Diastasis Recti is responsible for your mom pooch is paramount.

There are studies that show that isolated abdominal work may not be the most effective way to build core strength. One such study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2013 compared isolation core exercises (e.g crunch, oblique crunch, extensions) and integrative core exercises (eg. mountain climber plan, side hover, pointer with resistance bands.

The study concluded that it was the integration exercises that engaged the abdominal muscles more, versus the isolated abdominal workout. So instead of just working out pell-mell thinking it’s bound to burn belly fat one way or another anyway, focus on targeting the right muscles to firm up your core, which is exactly what Pilates is all about.

Ab Sculpting with Pilates

Certain core and postural principles in Pilates are effective in not just putting you on the track towards a six-pack, but addressing Diastasis Recti and improving a mom pooch. This is because Pilates engages the Transversus abdominis muscle as well as the pelvic floor. Not only does Pilates correct the condition, but prevents it in future pregnancies.

The beauty of Pilates is that it places minimal stress on many other structures while strengthening support muscles. This makes Pilates a much less stressful means of making over a mum tum with the same effectiveness as more energetic exercises such as cardio—another piece of good news, particularly for new, already stressed-out mums.

And as an added bonus, Pilates can be done in the comfort of your own home (so you can keep the baby close). Take note, however, that there are certain other Pilates exercises that might make a muffin top worse, so having the advice of a certified Pilates instructor is recommended.

Find a Pilates instructor you can count on to chisel your abs and solve your mom pooch problems at Pilates Plus. Enrol now or find out how you can test the waters at a trial session, today.

10 Reasons Why Working Out Can Improve Your Mood

Posted by on 6:27 pm in Pilates Exercise | 0 comments


A regular exercise regimen boasts of many physical benefits. Exercise paired with lifestyle modifications can not only improve your health and physiology, it can also improve your muscle tone, giving you a fitter and more lean appearance. And in case you need more encouragement to make exercise and working out a part of your weekly, if not daily, routine, consider what working out can do for your mind, emotions, and overall disposition. Below are 10 reasons how working out can improve your mood.

1. Working Out Can Make You Happier

The body releases chemicals called endorphins when you exercise. Endorphins interact with the brain by triggering positive and energizing feelings that some have even described as euphoric. No wonder they call it a post-workout high! The character Elle Woods sums it up best in a now-iconic scene in the movie Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Basic.

2. Working Out Can Help Keep Depression at Bay

A diagnosis of depression is not the same as feeling sad and the treatment of which is rarely straightforward. While working out does not cure depression, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Studies show that the mood boost that people get from regular exercise does result in lower rates of depression.

3. Working Out Dulls Pain

Heart-broken? Disappointed? Dejected? Once again, the endorphins released by the body during exercise can help. Endorphins can reduces pain perception. It works the same way morphine and other painkillers work, except endorphins are naturally produced in the body, safe, and non-addicting.

4. Working Out Can Build Self Esteem

For some people, looking their best and feeling their best are two sides of the same coin. If this is you, then a sedentary lifestyle will make you feel sloppy, but keeping your body fit and toned will lead to a better body image, relieve feelings of insecurity, and improve your self esteem.

5. Working Out Can Improve Posture

If you’re wondering how your posture and your outlook can be related, then you’re in for a surprise. One study found that simply sitting or standing up straight generated positive feelings and a more energetic disposition among people diagnosed with mild depression. Choose a workout that will improve your posture, such as pilates. It strengthens your core and stretches, lengthens, and tones your muscles. You’ll be walking taller and feeling better.

6. Working Out Can Reduce Stress

Stress can be a downer, physically and mentally. If you don’t learn effective coping mechanisms for stress, you will end up with a host of ailments such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability among many others.1 Any form of exercise is actually a great stress reliever. Think of working out as meditation in motion, it makes you focus so intently on your body and your movements that the day’s troubles will be momentarily forgotten.2

7. Working Out Can Improve Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a guaranteed mood killer. It also impairs your cognitive ability, which may put you and the people around you at risk.3 If you have a hard time falling asleep or if you are suffering from poor sleep quality, it will eventually have some negative effects on your brain, including your mood and emotions. Exercise is one way to sleep better, believe it or not. Good muscle tone improves the quality of sleep, helps you fall asleep faster, and prevent sleep interruptions or waking up in the middle of the night.4

8. Working Out Can Increase Motivation

If monotony and boredom are making you feel unmotivated about life in general, surprisingly, working out can get you out of your funk. Getting your heart racing and your blood running will pump you up, make you feel more energized, and drive you to keep moving.

9. Working Out Can Make Everything Easier

Plodding through life constantly tired and unable to perform simple physical tasks can be demoralizing. If you keep your body condition through exercise, you’ll have more energy to go around, whether it’s for pursuing a hobby or sport or spending quality time with your loved ones. You’ll have more stamina throughout the day.

10. Working Out Can Give You a Sense of Accomplishment

Sometimes you just need a win. When dealing with a setback, or when you feel like nothing is going right in one area, it’s easy for that feeling of defeat to taint the other areas of your life. A “bad day” or a “bad season” can soon start to feel like a “bad life”. However, having and keeping exercise goals or workout routines can give you back some sense of control and achievement. Knowing that you are making an effort, exerting yourself, stretching your limits and hitting your targets is encouragement indeed.

What is the best mood-boosting workout?

There is no one-size fits all answer to this question. It depends on your fitness level, interests, and personality. But one example of a workout that is accessible to all because it can be tailored to almost any fitness level, age, and physical condition is Pilates. Not only does it develop your core strength and flexibility, it also promotes the coordination of mind and body. In Pilates, each movement is done with total attention.5 This full-body and mind integrative workout is what makes Pilates unique and a good workout choice to improve the condition of both body and mind.

Drop by Pilates Plus today and book your trial class with us so you can experience all the benefits of Pilates for yourself. Click here to check out the schedule and to sign up for a class.