Send Questions or Recommendations to me at elmazelmaz@gmail.com

  1. Panther Planks in Pilates: why do my knees hurt and what can I do?

The Panther Plank is a position that challenges your center. Because you are in table top and because your toes are the back of the body support, the knees are in a position to hold your center of gravity. As we age and lose the padding in the knee, the weight that shifts to the knee cap during panther can trigger sharp pain. To relieve it, you can modify by lifting your knees higher and shifting back a wee bit. Or, you can extend one leg while the other stays in panther and then switch. Ultimately, you can also replace panther with watch dog. Always modify as soon as you feel pain, especially if it shoots or stabs.

Why does my back hurt during deadlifts and what can i do?

I’m going to let the genius at Men’s Health answer this one with this very thorough article. But I’d also like to address some of the tendencies we have: Dead Lifts are an unusual exercise as they require us to keep both our legs and our backs straight. We are accustomed to softening and leaning in order to protect the curves in kinetic chain. The Dead lift is the exception to that rule. So in order to protect your back and your hamstrings, squeeze your glutes and climb through the action rather than lifting the hinge. Think of it as incremental as you climb. I encourage you to read the article. It’s oriented toward male structures, so please emphasize the modifications that are recommended.

How do I avoid cramps while doing bridges?

Oh heck, me too. I have read all kinds of articles and recommendations and yes, i still get them. Some coaches recommend positioning you feet on the heels–which i think activates the calves, but doesn’t necessarily eliminate cramping. (Sometimes it just adds calf cramps!)

So i kept looking and found Sydney and appreciate her breaking it down in this video https://www.pilatestonic.com/2013/get-most-out-of-bridge-no-cramping-hamstrings/

What Sydney points out is you can avoid the pain by relying on the glutes more. Give it a listen

My neck is killing me during Pilates, I just can’t do the curl up or i do it and my neck hurts anyway,

This is the most common complaint about Pilates and I’m glad when people are aware of how it’s difficult for the neck to hold the head. First, let me remind you that this takes practice, so practice it, but don’t force it. When you lose your curl (looking at the ceiling), please put your head down,.

So the idea is to have your neck in a curve as you lift your shoulders off the floor.

I want you to imagine that your shoulder blades have a little stand at the bottom and you’re trying to curl up so that those shoulder blades are standing on their bottoms. The other visual to go for, is spirals at the bottom of your breast bone.

Lying flat, inhale and lift your chin as if you’re trying to make it parallel to the top of your breast bone. The action is up and over, creating a C in the back of your neck. Put your hands flat, palm down on the floor. Exhale and walk those hands toward your hips as your upper body curls up, using those spirals at the bottom of the breast bone. Imagine them spinning you upward, until you reach the stand at the bottom of the shoulder blades.

This is the position to hold and reinforce as your work out in Pilates. Again it takes practice. Here’s a video that walks you through it,

https://bookshop.org/books/secret-stairs-east-bay-a-walking-guide-to-the-historic-staircases-of-berkeley-and-oakland-9781595800633/9781595800633