WundaBar Pilates, Pilates, injury rehabiliation

Welcome to Week 3 of Wunda Wednesdays!  From May 1st through July 1st, I’ll be participating in a 60 Day Challenge with WundaBar Pilates.  I’ll be taking 3-4 classes per week in exchange for documenting my progress weekly here on the blog.

Today I complete 10 WundaBar Pilates classes.   The 10-20-30 Principle in Pilates is that in 10 sessions you will notice a difference in your body, in 20 sessions you and others will notice a difference in your body and in 30 sessions, you will have a whole new body.  Along with the type of food you put into your body, I think there’s some merit to the 10-20-30 Principle.

10-20-30 Principle of Pilates

Image: mag3737

After 10 sessions at WundaBar I do notice a difference in my body.  Someone else might not be able to physically see the difference but I certainly physically feel a difference in my body.  I’m very aware of my posture – how I sit, stand and move in every day activities.  Now I find myself thinking about my core muscles and I can actually feel them.

I have heard the phrase “engage your core muscles” by every exercise class instructor I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve tried (oh how I’ve tried!) but only since I’ve taken classes at WundaBar do I realize that I never have truly engaged those deep abdominal muscles but I feel them now.  Now, I really understand why I’ve been wrestling with the same back injury for years and years – all of my other muscles have been doing the work for my non-existent core.  Not anymore.

In honor of Week 3, I want to share 3 of the exercises specifically recommended to me by some WundaBar instructors to get the back and core STRONGER (can you hear Britney singing it?) after injury.

Footbar on WundaFormer

1. Footwork:  Lying prone on a Reformer and using the footbar in a single leg or double leg manner allows for core and back strength development. This was the foundation that began in Physical Therapy and continues during my weekly PT sessions.  With both feet on the footbar, just raising and lowering (articulation) of the spine can engage the core.  Bending, straightening and extending the leg or legs (moving the Reformer carriage against a springload) in a specific combination triggers the mind and body connection.


Before WundaBar, my quadriceps and hamstring muscles of my legs were performing “the heavy lifting” and now my hips and back are being supported by the muscles of my abdominal area to do the work.

Plank Pose on WundaFormer

Obviously not me. Image: WundaBar.com

2.  Kneeling/Plank:  WundaBar instructors love these exercises.  In the hands and knees position, picking knees up off the floor is called 4 Point Kneeling and it will engage the abdominal muscles immediately.

Plank, AKA upper push-up position, can be performed on hands or elbows.  Doing a Plank on a WundaFormer and having to move your body even a half an inch against spring tension does not compare to doing it on the floor.

I’ve been doing Planks at home but in every single class a WundaBar instructor has adjusted my hips, rear or shoulders and my back and core feel the difference.

3.  Arm Arcs with Abdominal Crunch:  This is not your average “flatten your lower back, hands behind your head, pull on your neck up and attempt to have your chin meet the sky” type of crunch.  As with many contemporary Pilates exercises, a neutral spine, allowing for the natural curve of the back is encouraged at WundaBar.

Hang Ten Measurement, WundaBar Pilates

Hang 10 Measurement by Helene

Instructors will place a hand in a vertical hang-ten sign down the abdomen to ensure proper positioning.  Once in position lying on the Reformer with knees bent and diagonally raising straight arms with hands in straps (attached to spring loaded tension pulleys) already allows for some central tension.  Even the smallest core crunch can help develop strength.

Depending upon spring tension, my arm arcs up and down are small.  Neutral spine and a lengthened form take work for me.  Keeping proper form to finally develop my core and back muscles are paramount!

In addition to the above WundaBar instructor recommended exercises, I’m sharing my personal favorite exercise so far called Madonna Arms.


Madonna Arms at WundaBar Pilates

Madonna Arms!

The true name to this exercise is Reverse Saloon Doors but I will always call it Madonna Arms (minus the veins) anyway.  The exercise is performed on the Reformer, upright on knees, hands in pulley straps, elbows at hips with hands facing outward with tension on the straps to bring out the best in your biceps!  Hello!

This works the arms for sure but without engaging the muscles of the core and back there is no stability to kneel upright.  I like seeing what my inner muscular athlete looks like without Photoshop.

Next week is my 1 month check in.  I’ll share my Fit-Fax body composition analysis follow-up and my goals for Phase 2 of the 60 Day Challenge.  If you’re new to the series, this is the post for Week 1 and for Week 2.

*This post is part of my series Wunda Wednesdays which I have agreed to write in exchange for classes at WundaBar Pilates for the next 60 days.  All opinions are my own.