Tag Archives: wales pilates

Mel Collie | Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

Mel Collie | Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

Foam Rollers – all the rage, and I bought 8 of them a few years ago and used them in Pilates classes and on myself too, however, I have recently looked further into foam rolling and the science behind your brains reactions to this trend, and this is what I found..

Once you get to know your nervous system, what it sees as a threat, and reactions, foam rollers may not be your first choice in releasing tension & massaging to those painful trigger points and heres why…

1. The Foam roller is used a lot for massaging the outer edge of the thigh. This area is called your Tensor Fascia Latae, a band of fascia (web like connective tissue that is predominantly water – big hint there on how to help it be less tight) The muscular part of the TFL is at the pelvis , the iliac crest, between glute medium and sartorius. Anyhow, seeing videos on You Tube massaging the outside of your thigh on these white foam things (other colours are available..) can be doing you no favours at all. Your TFL is tight for a reason, a bit like your hamstrings, they won’t let go until they are happy that another muscle in your body is doing its job, so you may have some imbalances in your pelvis and thighs, possibly ankles and feet too. Get checked out and get a posture assessment. 🙂

2. Your nervous system is your CEO, its in charge, and will send tightness to your muscles if it feels you are under threat. So , imagine then, if you then go an massage your tight muscles with a hard foam roller, what does your brain think is going on if it feels pain? It will sense that you are under threat, won’t release tightness, will reduce movement and range, sending you back a step, rather than forward a step, which is where you want to be.

How can you assess yourself? Test your range – for example:

Standing with feet either together or hip bone distance, put your arms out in front of you, just lower than shoulder height and place the palms together, like my fellow climber in the picture below.

The turn to your right(keep pelvis and feet the same though, just turn upper body) then back to centre and to your left, note how far you can turn to on each side, there will be one side you find tighter or a reduced range of movement. Don’t hold your breath, keep good posture also.

Do you have a foam roller?
Do you have a foam roller?






Then , perform your foam rolling session, once you have finished, re assess your movement with the same drill.(this can be substituted for a toe touch as the forward bend range can be reduced if the nervous system feels threatened – think tight hamstrings and painful lower back)

You can do the same assessment when you exercise. A client came to me with nagging right side and right shoulder pain. During assessing him, we did some push ups , which were his usual warm ups and training exercises, and found that after the push ups, his rotation had decreased considerably which meant that he was either doing too many or his form wasn’t perfect during each push up.

Practicing his posture, breathing, and doing vision drills (which all help in push ups, especially if you keep the head in alignment but use your eyes to down as you descend, and up as you come back up – the down eye movement facilitates the flexor muscles in the thoracic, the up eye movement does the opposite)

Keep assessing your reactions, then you can tell if your brain is sensing threat, reducing your performance, increasing the possibility of injury.

Train safe for the best results, overtime, why would you choose not to?




Personal training, Pilates , nutrition and neurological training all rolled into one for the best results.


Mel Collie | Posture & Your Story

Mel Collie | Posture, Back Pain, Your Brain

I saw a couple of clients at the weekend for posture assessments, and one of them sits all the time, drives a lot, uses the laptop a lot, but her posture was pretty good.

Why was that?
We are constantly bombarded with information that sitting is bad for you, and well, it is, but you can change your seated posture as much as you like as sitting perfectly straight is not what you want to do, but move and fidget as much as you can.

Her posture was pretty good because she meditates…

Her most constant repeated muscular contraction was with her diaphragm, as is the same with all of us.

Breathing is your most repeated “movement”. 25,000 times a day ( or there abouts)

With a focus every now and then on your respiration during each day, help the mind and body.

Start with just acknowledging the breath, so you can hear it, feel it, dont try to control it, you might find that its quite fast and shallow, by and by your breathing will slow a little more, it will settle.

Mechanically, you are breathing into the lower belly, as if you had swallowed a balloon and each breath , each inhalation was inflating the balloon, and each exhalation was deflating it.

That means it uses the diaphragm and the whole core to breath, the sides and the back.

This allows the mind to calm, the thoughts to settle instead of racing around.
It allows the shoulders to settle, to relax.
Many of us think our shoulders relax when we tell them to or arent sure how to relax shoulders.

Simple breathing helps them let go. It allows us to stop using those smaller shoulder and neck muscles for breathing, and instead use the body as intended.

Breathing into the lower belly can help strengthen to core, the back, let go of tight back muscles, release tight shoulders, help digestion, help calm the mind so a great habit to introduce before bed if you have trouble calming the mind before sleeping.

You dont have to meditate to watch the breath, you can do this at any time, for me, I like to watch my breathing when Im feeling scared, judgemental , think I cant do something, that I will be rubbish at something, Its when I hear that negative voice in my head, thats when my breathing really helps me.

Sounds a bit cuckoo? To some it does, maybe its because they have never tried it, or are scared by the realisation that they can be powerful beyond measure, and a way to get there is to know yourself first, know when you are lying to yourself.

And we do that all the time – too tired, too busy, too stupid, not ready, not enough money, not enough knowledge, etc the excuses we tell ourselves are lies we believe from past conditioning.

These can all change your posture, more so than just sitting at a laptop.

Your beliefs change your posture.

Anxious fearful people can have a stooped posture, always thinking about the next thing, worrying about what others think or that they aren’t good enough, posture can close in, being protecting.

Posture tells a story of our beliefs.
What do you believe?
How are you telling others your story through your posture?
Mel Collie


Posture Assessments online and inhouse

£50 for your initial assessment

£40 thereafter

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