Pilates Balance Workout

Pilates Balance Workout

Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of my favourite Pilates workouts to increase strength, flexibility and balance.

Balance is a fundamental skill everyone should practise. It’s something we take for granted, but as we get older balance and muscle strength can help to stop us from having falls. When you balance on one leg you use your core and small muscles in your feet to keep upright. Find a spot on the wall in front of you which keeps you in alignment. Draw your belly button to your spine and feel the length through your spine, use your toes to grip the ground. In this video I have added in some upper body work with the ball, as you increase the range of movement think about squeezing your core to remain still. Each time you open your arms imagine squashing a walnut between your shoulder blades to activate your upper back muscles. As you improve increase the range of movement and then reps. To make it harder try standing on a block, to make it easier decrease the range of movement and height of the leg. I hope you enjoy this little video. Subscribe to keep updated with more Pilates workouts.

Try the ‘Couch Stretch’ from Seventy 9 Sports Therapy to open up your hip and improve quad length

Try the ‘Couch Stretch’ from Seventy 9 Sports Therapy to open up your hip and improve quad length

The Couch Stretch is super easy & super effective at opening the anterior hip & increasing rectus femoris (quadricep) length. It’s a great “bang for buck” stretch/mobility drill for anyone who sits most of the day but still needs to be able to open the hip up during sport (e.g. runners, weightlifters).

Brace your trunk into a neutral spine, get the knee as close to the wall as you can tolerate and tuck your pelvis into a posterior rotation…don’t forget to squeeze your glute to generate extension!! Remember, it’s hip extension, not back extension, so keep the spine neutral to open your facet joints. Aim to hold for around 2 minutes each side, repeat as often as necessary. It can also be done with your foot on the sofa (hence the name) if you find discomfort with the ankle position on the wall.

‘seventy9 Sports Therapy is a private sports injury clinic in Farnham, Surrey, specialising in the treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries across the entire activity spectrum.  We pride ourselves on the delivery of a high-performance service, regardless of your physical or sporting abilities.  Our skilled and experienced therapists use best evidence-based practice to restore full fitness and function across the spectrum of sport, exercise and occupationally related injuries, treating you as an individual and building bespoke exercise programmes to fit your lifestyle and schedule.  Our therapists are all members of The Society of Sports Therapists.’

Posterior Shoulder Strength Exercise from our friends at Seventy9 Sports Therapy

Posterior Shoulder Strength Exercise from our friends at Seventy9 Sports Therapy

The structures of the posterior shoulder play a vital role in stabilising the ball and socket joint (glenohumeral joint) of the shoulder.  When they are dysfunctional, they are unable to generate appropriate  compressive force to the joint, leaving a feeling of disconnection in the shoulder girdle.  This is particularly important in overhead athletes such as throwers and swimmers.
This exercise targets all of the structures in the posterior shoulder with the long lever position creating an additional load challenge.
Externally rotate from the shoulder (the elbow/forearm will subsequently rotate), before horizontally extending the shoulder joint, driving the movement by squeezing the shoulder blade (scapula) backwards into retraction.  The movement should be smooth and controlled, yet with enough resistance to be a challenge.

‘seventy9 Sports Therapy is a private sports injury clinic in Farnham, Surrey, specialising in the treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries across the entire activity spectrum.  We pride ourselves on the delivery of a high-performance service, regardless of your physical or sporting abilities.  Our skilled and experienced therapists use best evidence-based practice to restore full fitness and function across the spectrum of sport, exercise and occupationally related injuries, treating you as an individual and building bespoke exercise programmes to fit your lifestyle and schedule.  Our therapists are all members of The Society of Sports Therapists.’

Becky’s Favourite Mountain Bike Ride in Wales.

Becky’s Favourite Mountain Bike Ride in Wales.

We caught up with Becky our wonderful bike guide on her favourite mountain bike ride in Wales. Becky will be our lead guide during all our Mountain Bike Breaks in Wales.

One of my favourite routes in North Wales is the Pont Scethin. Most of the books will say ride it clockwise, but due to erosion on the tracks it’s actually a nicer ride anti-clockwise starting from Bontddu, which is on the road from Dolgeallau to Barmouth (A496).

The route begins with a steady climb on tarmac travelling up towards a farm track where the real climbing begins. Riding over sheep fields and heading up to the saddle before the descent to Pont Scethin, you experience stunning views over the Mawddach estuary and looking towards Cadair Idris (another great ride!). This is the place that I really love to sit for a while and just take it all in, so peaceful and you rarely see a walker or other cyclists up there.

Then begins a fun, technical descent – a loose rock track with quite a bit of technicality descends down, around the hillside, to Pont-Scethin, a quaint old packhorse bridge over the Afon Ysgethin.

This part feels very remote, and you continue on through a little bit of fun bogginess onto a farm track, where you can pick up a little speed down (watch out for the sheep and walkers!) to your next turn off, but all the time looking out to the expanse of Sea below.

After making the turn onto another tarmac track you eventually head off onto farm land again, with gradual incline – but just stunning scenery and coast line the whole time. Eventually you arrive at your second and last technical ascent – this is particularly rocky and if your skills allow is a great challenge – and if not, it’s only a small hike a bike to the gap where you have fantastic views back down towards the coast, or across to the forest where you are heading.

This descent is a lot of fun, loose, rocky and a few turns as you make your way down towards open land and head off down into the forest. One of my favourite sections of this ride is as you are nearing the end, just before you ride into the trees again, you are blessed with a beautiful view down the Afon Mawddach towards the estuary.

The last descent brings you out directly opposite your car, a perfect way to end. Such a remote feeling ride, and although only around 22km you won’t want to add more mileage! I just love the the remoteness and quietness of the ride, and the challenging rocky descents make it all worthwhile. Also, it would be hard to beat the stunning views across hills, mountains and sea, a great summer ride. As it is remote, make sure you are prepared – you will definitely need those energy balls!