Julie Erickson of Endurance Pilates and Yoga might be a pro, but she's no workout purist. While she's been a Pilates teacher for many years, she's still a big believer in the power of cross-training. With 11 marathons and one ultramarathon under her belt, Julie shared five Pilates moves that help keep runners injury-free and in tip-top shape.
Regardless of how you choose to sweat, core strength is essential. If you're not sure how strong your midsection really is, Pilates teacher Julie Erickson of Endurance Pilates and Yoga has a tried-and-true test.
Known as Boat Pose in yoga, this ab exercise is a perfect indicator of your core power. Julie explains, "If you're able to properly engage the muscles of your core, you should be able to hold it for minutes. . . . I would say for a runner who hasn't been thinking about it constantly, holding it for 30 seconds would be a good test. If they can't hold it for that long, I would say that their core strength needs a little bit of help."
Once you're ready to test yourself, here's how to perform the exercise properly.
- Begin sitting on your mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your butt.
- Keep the spine long, and straighten the legs as much as you can without rounding the back.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds, and remember to keep breathing!
Tell me how long you held it in the comments!
If you suffer from sliding around on a mat during Pilates or yoga or prefer not to be barefoot during a barre class, then Nike's Studio Wrap Pack ($110) may be your answer to this problem.
The Studio Wrap Pack consists of three parts: the wrap portion that fits around the foot and ribbons (both pictured above) and a pair of slip-on flats that can be worn with or without the other parts of the Studio Wrap system. While it was a little confusing at first to wrap the ribbon correctly, once I managed to put them on, the sock-like wrap portion was quite comfortable. The stretchy fabric and open design offered a full range of flexibility for my feet and ankles. The ribbons were designed to give support to both the ankle and arch of the foot, but I didn't necessarily feel like they did this in a particularly effective way. But they did spark a lot of questions from admirers, both at the gym and at the yoga studio.
As someone who loves to go barefoot whenever possible, I found the wraps to be a little cumbersome during the yoga and aerobic dance classes I tested them out in. The wraps certainly provided traction when it came to floor choreography off the mat, but they moved around my feet during the more active parts of a mat workout.
While some yoga newbies swear by socks with grips, I worry that they won't learn about building up the foot strength that comes naturally with a well-designed yoga practice. When it came to dance class, I had a full range of motion and was able to move across the floor without any worry. But since the wraps didn't offer a great deal of cushion for the soles of my feet, they just felt a little unnecessary the whole time. My favorite part of the pack might just be the elegant studio flats; these simple, cozy ballet slippers held up on the streets during my city commute, and they were comfortable enough to run errands in after class.
I appreciate that the Nike Studio Wraps offer an open, breathable design; even with the extra coverage and support, your toes are exposed and easily able to connect with the mat. The socks aren't supportive enough for a class that calls for traditional sneakers or running shoes, but as for the "better-than-barefoot" and "flattering foot" experience they promise, the Nike Studio Wraps deliver.
This year, we've been absolutely wowed by Pink's abs. To learn her fitness secrets, we went to trainer Juliet Kaska, who showed us four moves that work the midsection from all angles to create a rock-hard midriff. All the exercises are done standing, making the moves functional and full-body. Press play to learn how you can get Pink's abs.
Indulged too much? Get back on track with a workout that doubles as detox. Julie Erickson, founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga, created this workout to help. "Sometimes we lose sight of our physical bodies over the holidays while we partake in the abundance of food and beverage choices," said Julie. "Yoga and Pilates hold us accountable and bring our focus right back into our physical selves."
Julie recommended the following 10-minute workout to boost metabolism and "move the remnants of our 'less healthy choices' out of the body a little more quickly." Keep reading to learn how to do the workout, and get the printable version here!
Pilates is one of the best workouts for whipping the abs into shape. And if you have 10 minutes to spare, we can help you take care of your tummy with this workout from celeb trainer Juliet Kaska. Best of all, no props are needed! Press play, pull your navel to your spine, and get ready to work your midsection.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Have you guys heard about Pilates Platinum? This hot new studio, a favorite haunt for drool-worthy celebs including Alessandra Ambrosio and Marcia Cross, uses the same principles as traditional Pilates but adds extra resistance and repetitions to give you a hardcore fat-burning, body-toning workout. Unfortunately, not all of us have a ZIP code of 90210. (Or anything Los Angeles-related. You get the point.) Thankfully, Pilates Platinum owner Healther Dorak shared three moves you can do at home or in the gym. "Each of these three moves targets and challenges several different muscle groups at once so you get more bang for your buck," says Dorak. "Do this routine three times a week, and you'll start to strengthen and tone your abs, legs, glutes, and arms."
Start on hands and knees with hands directly below shoulders. Place a four-pound hand weight at the back of one knee. Bend same leg to hold the weight in place, and lift the knee up to hip level, heel reaching high to the ceiling. Simultaneously, reach the opposite arm straight out in front of you. Press the knee up toward the ceiling about two inches, keeping the weight still and foot flexed. Count to 10. Hold knee still, two inches above hip, for about 10 seconds. Do five reps, switch legs, and repeat.
Get the other two moves after the break!
By adding light weights to traditional Pilates exercises you can increase your lean muscle mass while training your core. Celebrity trainer Juliet Kaska created a full-body Pilates workout using an exercise band, light dumbbells, and ankle weights to build metabolism-boosting muscle — exactly what we need heading into the holidays. If you don't have these props, don't worry: this workout is still effective without them. Press play and get your Pilates on.
You might be avoiding the essential Pilates exercise the Hundred because it strains your lower back. But don't give up! We might be able to help you fix this problem possibly caused by tight hamstrings. Or you could be overextending your lower back by forcing your legs to straighten. Weak ab muscles and tight hip flexors could also be the culprit. It's difficult but crucial to constantly pull your belly button to your spine to activate your deeps abdominal muscles throughout the exercise. Yeah, it's hard but your back will thank you.
As your hamstrings and hips loosen up and your abs become stronger the Hundred will start to feel easier. Easier on your back that is; it's always going to be a killer ab exercise, which is why we love it so. Do be sure to work within your range of motion when doing the exercise and only straighten and/or lower the legs if the low back can remain glued to the floor.