Tag Archives: plank

Mel Collie | How To Do The Plank

Mel Collie | How To Do The Plank

Years ago I went to a Pilates class run by someone who wanted you to hold the plank for 8 minutes…and there was one person in the class who could do this..at the expense of their back though, because I knew that person, and they had back pain.

The plank is a common strength position in classes. Its ok to practice it, but only if you can maintain alignment.

Most cannot maintain alignment for more than a few seconds.

When the abs aren’t working correctly, the neck takes over.
When that happens the shoulder blades usually lift.
When that happens, the jaw clenches, if it hasn’t already…
When that happens the breathing changes, or you forget to breathe
When that happens the lower back drops.
When that happens you get back pain..
When that happens…you’ve already done too much, but if theres people around you in the class and your instructor tells you to keep going, you clench even harder and keep going.
When that happens you probably aren’t getting any strength gains where you want them – your core..

Theres so many other moves you can do for your core.

Theres so many other ways to help your inner self gain strength

Start with your breath. Its the most repeated movement you will do all day, all of your life, but most of us don’t even bother with it, as its automatic, it just happens, we don’t take a moment to consider that the way we breathe is relevant to posture, strength, awareness, reduction in pain. Surely it has to be harder than that?

Well, no not really…

Start here, and that will give you massive gains.

Then go onto your vision and balance. Both connect to the spinal cord. Massive gains here in mobility, flexibility and reduction of pain. Just with simple vision and vestibular drills.

Surely it must be more complicated than that..?

..well, no not really…

Then, proprioception and spatial awareness, improve those, your movement, flexibility, strength, power, jumps, lifts, every day life will be awesome.

Really? Surely..

Well, yes, really…

It can be that simple.

 

Mel Collie

www.posturegeek.co.uk

Want to have your posture checked over? Book your place here

I will contact you to once you’ve booked, to get a time and day you can come to my treatment room and posture studio in Llanberis, North Wales.

Mel Collie | 2 Reasons to Stop doing Crunches (and what to do instead)

Mel Collie | 2 Reasons to Stop doing Crunches (and what to do instead)

Ok, my last post was on adrenal fatigue…and one of the things that makes us tired is over training at the gym, usually because we’ve bought into the marketing idea that flat abs will make you happy, more desirable and sexy…

So, if you believe that to be true (it isn’t by the way) I would love to share some facts with you about crunches..

1. You can do loads of them , many about 22,000 of them, which burns a pound of fat, thats all. How long does it take to do that many crunches? You tell me…I can’t be bothered to even work it out. However, a point of your lovely fat contains 3,500 calories. Still doing crunches?

2. Ok..you’ve got a LOT of time on your hands. But, heres the thing, this is time you could spend doing other stuff that actually makes you happier which = improved self esteem, and when your self esteem bank account gets a boost, it tends to mean that the next time it gets a knock back, you won’t feel it as much because you’ve got some reserve in the bank account, hugely powerful stuff when you are worried about what other people think of you and your body.

3. Sit ups can give you neck ache and back ache, when done badly. I recently had a couple of friends staying for a couple of days and one of them had a baby recently, 3 years ago in fact. Her line alba hadn’t yet knitted back well (Google: diastis recti, it will tell you all you need to know)  and she was doing a well intentioned Pilates class twice a week, but at a big brand name gym in a class with lots of people, it hadn’t really helped her out, she’s now considering surgery. . I spent 2 years going to similar classes in a gym. You won’t get individualised attention. It isn’t geared towards that. She wasn’t to know, not her fault at all. I know physics and chiropractors recommend Pilates, but also know that they have clients coming to them with pain from going to Pilates sessions at gyms because of the amount of people in each class who have certain things going on that a one size fits all class won’t be covering. Crunches will not help a post pregnancy belly at all, it will create more problems for the muscles and pelvic floor, find someone who has been on a specific course on the issues that need to be addressed. Check out Hypopressives, a brilliant way to get the body back to alignment

So what can you do instead if you are a lover of sit ups?

Theres so many exercises, my top favourite is to learn how to breathe from your lower belly first to reduce cortisol levels , which when elevated, sit in the belly tissue, so you can exercise harder for longer, but if you are stressed, and have a continual high stress lifestyle , you may just find that belly fat sits around you for a lot longer than you originally intended. Breathing and doing less, working out smarter, not harder, is the key, which means a change in mindset, and that isn’t easy.

It may be easy to accept it, realise it, but then to actually implement it and stick to it is the hardest bit. You need to check yourself every now and then, make sure you haven’t slipped back into old patterns.

Exercises that you can do instead of loads of crunches are (and remember , always, with each repetition, to be in the moment and fully focused , as when you do that, you are sending signals to your brain about alignment to help each rep be very effective. Reps done without focus, when the mind wanders to other things because you are bored, then your alignment suffers and your results will reduce. True story!) :

Side Planks

Push ups

Burpees

Mountain climbers

Handstands

Cartwheels and many variations of them

Kettlebell swings (or use a dumbell)

Jumps

Go for a walk everyday, get outside and breathe, get some sunlight on your skin and get some laughter and love in your life

That doesn’t mean, if you don’t have one right now, that you should look for the perfect partner, but look inside yourself for your own self acceptance, do the exercise that you love to do, not whats trendy or what others are doing, it might not work for you.

Find your own blueprint, then you may find that you choose what foods and what exercises make you feel awesome, you choose to nourish yourself, rather than beat yourself up.

Mel

x

Helping women be themselves and love who they are in her 1:1 studio in Llanberis, North Wales, UK. By appointment only.