Tag Archives: Pilates reformer NYC

Low back pain and Pilates

Low back Pain and the Gluteals

Clinical studies have shown that a majority of low back pain can be traced to weak and inhibited gluteal muscles . There are three gluteal muscles that make up the side and back of the hip and pelvic region: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The following blog describes how a dysfunctional gluteus medius can specifically contribute to low back pain.

The glute med is a lateral hip muscle that is responsible for keeping the pelvis level when standing on one leg. For example if you are standing on your right leg and have trouble keeping your left hip from dropping your right glute med is not doing it’s job. What the body often does to compensate for this is lean to the right , creating a side bend in the lumbar spine . Although in itself not an invalid motion but repeated over and over again during the gait cycle can cause a lot of problems. Side bending to the right compresses the facet joints on the right, forces the intervertebral discs to the left potentially impacting nerves as they exit the spine, puts a stretch strain through the left  iliolumbar ligament and facet joints and encourages the left quadratus lumborum (low back muscle) to work overtime. Any of these compensations could be a source of pain. And although massage and stretching may temporarily relieve the pain until the right glute med is strengthened, the back pain will return.

At Mongoose Bodyworks in NYC we use the Pilates Method seamlessly combined with contemporary bio-mechanical knowledge to undo muscles imbalances and keep you pain free. Contact us at info@mongoosebw.com or 212 431 8377 to make an appointment. See you at the studio !

Halle Clarke

594 Broadway ( between Houston and Prince)

New York City, New York 10012

Mongoose Bodyworks is a boutique Pilates studio in soho NYC that focuses on delivering customized private sessions designed for your exact needs.

Halle is a 2nd generation master teacher having studied  closely with two of the great NYC protégés of Joseph Pilates: Kathy Grant and Romana Krysanowska. Halle opened Mongoose Bodyworks, a boutique Pilates Studio in New York City in 1999 .

As well as training in Pilates Halle has pursued studies in ideokensiology, anatomy , biomechanics, muscle energy technique, trigger point therapy ,neuromuscular re-patterning, Alexander technique, The Feldenkrais Method, Polartity therapy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. She has additional certifications from the PMA-CPT and ACE. Halle integrates all of her extensive studies of the body into her work as a New York based Pilates Instructor and Teacher Trainer.

She has been conducting Pilates Teacher Trainings for Balanced Body since 2006 both in New York and around the country. Halle has taught Master Pilates classes nationally and internationally, including at The PMA Conference and Mind Body Expo.

Reformer Pilates in Soho NYC

The Pilates Reformer

Joseph Pilates on Reformer
Joseph Pilates on Reformer

The Pilates Reformer is the primary piece of equipment designed by Joseph Pilates. It is used in private sessions and small group settings alike.  Although the design has gone through some modern revisions the essence of the machine has remained the same. The reformer provides resistance for some 500 + Pilates exercises designed to coordinate and strengthen the body in a myriad of ways making it suitable for both beginner and advanced movers.

Pilates Reformer
Pilates Reformer

The reformer looks like a single bed frame that houses a sliding wheeled carriage. The carriage is tensioned by adjustable springs at one end and straps with handles on the other. The front end of the reformer has a foot bar with adjustable height settings that can be pushed by the hands or feet to move the carriage. This varied design provides for a vast number of positions in which to train the body. One can sit, stand, kneel, lie down front, side or back,  all while pulling the straps or pushing the bar.

Pilates Reformer Exercises

Pilates is more than an ingenious and versatile piece of exercise equipment. It is the philosophy behind the exercises and their relationship to the Reformer that make it truly unique. The movements, although strengthening, are not always used in direct resistance with the springs. In fact, sometimes the springs support the weight of the body and act as a teaching tool for proper mechanics. This allows one to learn how to lengthen, lift and open the body creating more ease and efficiency throughout the system at the same time building tone and endurance.  Counter intuitively, it is often the lighter spring tensions that are more challenging and strengthening as one aims to balance and control the movement.

man on reformer

One of the main Pilates principles is the idea that movement can be supported by the intrinsic muscles of the core.  When the core is coordinated with the rest of the body one moves with grace and efficiency, leaving less wear and tear on the joints and allowing a body to stay healthier and pain free longer. Core awareness can be the key to relieving back pain and many other neuromuscular issues.

Benefits of a Pilates Reformer Practice

The benefits of a Pilates practice on the reformer are an elongated spine, improved posture, increased strength and flexibility and an improved ability to participate in other physical activities such as sports, running and skiing, to name a few. What also makes Reformer Pilates so remarkable is that it works at all levels. The basic philosophies outlined above can be taught to anyone and at any level. Beginners thrive from learning the primary skills and there is still room to grow and accommodate even the most accomplished dancer or athlete.

women on reformer

Pilates Reformer at Mongoose Bodyworks Soho NYC

At Mongoose Bodyworks in Soho, NYC our sessions start with teaching the core principles on the mat and then reinforcing them on the Reformer. The majority of our NYC clients take private sessions but we do offer a few small group classes on the reformers for those that are interested. Although not required, we do recommend taking three privates before embarking on the group reformer classes. If you have any questions about the Pilates Reformer or our Soho NYC studio please contact us at info@mongoosebw.com.