L + L at Home: The Hundreds

Before she heads off to Boston for an exercise science internship, Rachel shows us her favorite Pilates exercise to do at home, The Hundreds. This classical exercise is a staple in the Pilates Mat workout. Rachel loves The Hundreds because it develops the foundational core strength necessary for the more advanced exercises. Try them yourself to feel strong, long, and lean at home!


Setup

Lie on your back with a neutral spine (maintain natural curves of your back) and bring your legs to a table top position (knees bent and lined up directly over hips). Float the arms up to the ceiling, being careful to keep the arms plugged in to the shoulder joints.

Steps

  1. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to extend the legs on a diagonal as the head neck and shoulders curl up off the mat and the arms press down next to the hips, hovering an inch or two away from the ground.
  2. Begin pumping the arms in small rhythmic motions next to the hips. As your arms move, inhale for 5 pumps and exhale for the next 5 pumps. Keep your breath rhythmic and dynamic.
  3. Hold the head neck and shoulders up off the mat in the abdominal curl position and continue the series of 5 rhythmic inhales and 5 rhythmic exhales a total of 10 times. That makes 100!

Hint: Lift the legs to extend them straight up to the ceiling or keep them in a table top position if you feel any strain in the lower back. Lower the legs closer to the ground for a greater challenge.

 

 

 

Team Long + Lean: Get to Know Jenn

Jenn is an OG Long + Lean Pilates instructor who has been with us since day one at the Elmwood studio! If you have had the opportunity to work with Jenn, you know she is an amazing instructor who is pursuing her doctorate in Physical Therapy! Here’s your chance to learn more about Jenn.

What brought you to Buffalo?
I moved to Buffalo from home (Schenectady) just about 6 years ago in order to start my undergrad studies in Exercise Science. As soon as I moved here I felt an immediate love for the city and it’s people. Buffalo had just started expanding in big ways and I was loving the community support. I hung around Buffalo after graduation, applying to Physical Therapy schools, eventually enrolling in D’Youville’s DPT program.

What inspired you to start teaching Pilates?
Actually, my last semester of my undergraduate career I had the opportunity to pick almost any location within the health and wellness field to do a full time internship. I knew I wanted to eventually go into Physical Therapy but wanted to have fun with it my last semester. So, I ended up having the great pleasure of working with Dane Burke (previous owner of Northstar Pilates). Dane is a Physical Therapist, Pilates instructor and a huge anatomy geek. He mentored me and opened my eyes to the amazing world of Pilates, helping me get certified in Mat Pilates. I was officially obsessed with Pilates and how it can be a rehab tool, a strength and conditioning tool or flexibility and balance tool for anyone of all ages and conditions. For the next two years I spent well over 500 hours (and a whole lot of money) gaining my comprehensive certification.

What’s your favorite activity outside of the Pilates studio?
Anything to get outdoors and in nature! Summer is my preferred season but with the winter weather coming up, my favorites will be getting out to Ellicottville to go snowboarding and snow shoeing. With the snow coming and having to stay indoors more often, crafting is a big pleasure of mine, too. Crafting anything from knitting scarfs, to making my own lotions and chapsticks, to building furniture.

Best thing about living in Buffalo?
I live on the West side and everything is in walking distance! If I do drive, anything I would need or want to go to is within a 20 minute drive (even Canada)! Everyone is very friendly, neighborly and seems to be heavily involved in the community and making Buffalo a better place.
Everyone and every place I have crossed paths with thus far has made Buffalo feel just like home. <3

What is your favorite act of self-care?
It’s hard to remember how important self-care is especially trying to balance work, grad school and personal life. Taking a spinning class, yoga class, working out or simply meditating helps tremendously to clear my head from a hectic week. One of my all-time favorite things to do to unwind is taking a warm bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book!

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L + L at Home: Modified Front Row

Welcome to the first post in our series of Long + Lean At Home Favorites! To begin the series, all the Long + Lean instructors are sharing their absolute favorite exercises to do at home!

Founder Hayley’s favorite exercise to do at home is a Pilates Reformer exercise modified for the mat that is great for posture and feels amazing. Here’s why Hayley loves doing Modified Front Row at home:

“This exercise gives me everything I need right now (and always): it stretches my back and hamstrings, opens my chest and shoulders, gives me gentle work in my abs and spinal extensors, and feels invigorating.”

Want to try the Modified Front Row for yourself (you totally should)? Here’s how to do it:

Setup
Sit with your legs extended out in front of you. Make sure you are sitting on your sitz bones with a neutral spine (let your knees bend slightly if you cannot sit up straight with your legs extended). Flex the ankles so your toes point up to the ceiling.

Steps

  1. Round your spine one vertebra at a time, starting from your head, as the arms reach forward towards your feet. Feel the back ribs pull back while energy from the fingers and the heels shoots forward. Think of widening the shoulders on the back, but don’t let them sneak up to your ears. Feel the abdominals gently pull the belly button towards the back as your spine rounds.
  2. Stack the spine up one vertebra at a time, returning to neutral, while carrying the arms straight up overhead. Keep those shoulders relaxed down and the ribs relaxed, not popped forward.
  3. Circle your arms down to the starting position. Feel the pinky fingers reach away from you as though your arms could reach the walls. Repeat 3-5 times.