Many clients complain of tight muscles or inflexibility, but are not really sure how to stretch. Or won’t take the time to do it properly.
In pilates, one of the goals of stretching is to maintain postural balance. Opposing muscle groups need to be balanced in both length and strength for efficient performance and injury prevention. Opposing muscle groups that are well balanced provide optimal stabilization for the spine and peripheral joints.
General guidelines exist but specific (modified) stretching exercises will need to be tailored to each individual. For instance, amateur athletes will have different specific needs than individuals with injuries or illness.
Let’s take an example. Let’s look at the lower leg. The hamstrings, the muscles that run down the back of the leg, are classic culprits for “being tight”. Actually consisting of three muscles not one, the hamstrings start at your “sits” bones and stop right below the knee on both the outside and the inside of the lower leg. Tight hamstrings can cause pain and cramping anywhere along the muscle length.
The hamstrings extend the hip and flex the knee. To stretch the muscle, do the opposite. If you can lie on your back and lift your leg to 90 degrees with the hips square to the floor, you meet the general recommendation for adequate hamstring length.
The quadricep muscles run down the front of the upper leg and extend the knee (kicking a ball); the hamstring muscles run down the back of the leg and flex the knee (doing a hamstring curl). If these two muscle groups are not equally balanced, the pelvis, hips and knees will not be properly stabilized and are predisposed to injury. Shortened hamstrings are associated with low back pain and knee pain.
Hamstrings that are too tight for an individual’s sports or daily activities are predisposed to “tweaking”, “pulling” and other injuries. “Tweaking” a hamstring is another way of saying the muscle fibers were stretched beyond capacity creating inflammation, pain and scar tissue. “Pulling” a hamstring usually refers to a tear of some degree. Rarely, hamstrings can rupture completely.
Injured hamstrings take a long time to heal-months to years-and are highly sensitive to re-injury. Prevention is much easier than rehabilitation. Always stretch a warm muscle, and avoid excessive stretching before any sports activity.
“SDK Pilates’ yoga instructors are beyond wonderful and very reliable. Our community and hospital staff truly enjoy the classes and we are extremely thankful for their partnership with us.”
Pilates has been a wonderful experience both physically and mentally – it relieves stress and gets your body in a “can do” spirit to stretch and feel good. The instructors are the best and the people I’ve met in class are fun to be with. Friendships develop. I will do this forever!
I love the classes and instructors at SDK Pilates! Stephanie, the owner, has been a tremendous help to me with understanding challenges I face with a bad hip. Her expertise and medical background have helped me select exercises that are appropriate for me and I have learned there are still plenty of things that I can do to strengthen my body! At other places, I sometimes overdid my workouts (and hurt myself) – SDK’s instructors have helped me increase my flexibility and strengthen my body in a s…
I have been a client of Stephanie’s for several years. What I think makes her stand out from other studios is that she was a doctor & understands each individual clients bodies. The new studio is airy spacious & calming
SDK Pilates is great! So far I’ve taken Pilates classes with Steph and Nancy, and I’m looking forward to Yoga with Mark. Currently working on core strengthening, shoulder mechanics, overall conditioning, and my golf game.
My experience with SDK Pilates has been outstanding. All of the instructors have been knowledgeable and welcoming. All levels of fitness and capabilities are embraced, addressed and challenged. Individual needs are seamlessly met with in the class. Every class is different and I always walk out feeling better than when I walked in. I take Pilates twice a week and wish I could take it every day!
“Sandi and Elaine have the ability to deliver a class that meets the needs of all attendees in the class, even when there is different levels of experience. They have a great manner of presenting poses and ensure good form for a safe and enjoyable Yoga class.”
SDK Pilates is wonderful! I have been taking classes from Stephanie for a number of years and thoroughly enjoy both her Pilates and therapeutic yoga sessions. Her training as a doctor enables her to work around physical limitations and injuries and strengthen weaknesses. She has helped me immensely with chronic shoulder issues. The fun nature of the classes, the camaraderie of the attendees and the great workout make SDK classes my favorite way to exercise!
“Sandi and Elaine have the ability to deliver a class that meets the needs of all attendees in the class, even when there is different levels of experience.They have a great manner of presenting poses and ensure good form for a safe and enjoyable Yoga class.”
I have taken yoga and Pilates classes from Stephanie for many years, and I can say that she is terrific. Her background in physical medicine and rehab makes her uniquely qualified to instruct and coach with a focus in balanced strengthening, proper alignment, and prevention of injury. I enjoy the low key environment at the studio, and have made many friends in her classes.