Olympic Form

Nick McCrory, front, and diving partner David Boudia both do Pilates.

My client hesitates at the door as I greet her before the lesson is about to begin. “Oh no, did you stay up watching the Olympics again? You have an evil look that usually means you are going to make me do something crazy!”

She knows me well. This week, I’ve been coming into the studio inspired by the strength and beauty of the athletes, wondering how to transform the Ladder Barrel into a Pommel Horse, who can swing off the Cadillac frame like the Fab 5 on Parallel Bars, and which one of my lucky clients wants to try leaping off the roof and onto the Chair for Pike. Okay, maybe we won’t try the last one….yet!

The list of Olympic athletes who include Pilates as part of their training crosses national lines. Our champion Nick McCrory, who won bronze for Men’s Synchronized 10 Meter Platform Diving, says, “I really enjoy it (Pilates) because aside from just the strength that you build, it really teaches body awareness and coordination, which is essential to diving.”

Of course, you don’t have to have the skill of an Olympic athlete to experience the tremendous benefits of Pilates, but you can simulate their moves. We’ll just do it on safer ground…

Take away the element of diving in the air, competing for your country and millions of viewers watching, and you have Rolling like a Ball.

Picture a: Sit with your arms wrapped around your legs, holding on above your ankles or behind your knees. Pull your heels in as close to your glutes as possible. Lift your feet off the floor, round your back, and look down at your belly button.

Picture b and c: Pull your stomach muscles in and roll back to your shoulder blades.

Picture d: Return up and hold your balance, keeping your feet off the floor. Inhale to roll back, Exhale to come up.

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