Welcome to Week 5 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.
In the past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot not only about Pilates but about my own potential. I’ve been working hard to reach the goals I set forth for phase 2 of this 60 Day Challenge – like taking more time to fuel and refuel my body properly. WundaBar classes three times a week are intense and I need to ensure that I’m taking in the proper amounts of protein and calories to prevent my body from catabolizing my own muscle! I’m also giving greater focus on exercise form. Utilizing the Jump Board properly has proven to one of my greatest challenges thus far so today we are going to learn a little more about what it’s like in a WundaBar class to JUMP!
If you’re an 80’s music freak like me, you hear David Lee Roth of Van Halen singing “Jump” right now, don’t you? WundaBar Pilates jumping is not the DLR “splits in the air” but it’s a type of pylometric exercise. Plyometric exercises are short, fast explosive movements that encourage muscle elasticity and allow the body to be more efficient when workout intensity increases. Jumping exercises help the body to adapt to harder workouts faster.
Jumping is done lying on one’s back or side using the WundaFormer for movement and Jump Board for push-off and landing. The number and color of springs used varies the amount of tension during jumps. There’s a lot more to the proper jump than just bending your knees to push off and having your feet hit the board to land.
Cate B., (left) an instructor at the WundaBar Pilates Montrose location took the time to to talk to me about the keys to jumping – proper alignment for the body, push-off and landing – she has a unique understanding of my injury and how important it is to use exercise to safely challenge the body while having fun. When she’s not working us out at WundaBar, Cate is also a Soul Cycle instructor in LA.
Body Alignment – Core Always Engaged but in addition…
- Back Jumping: It’s important to keep the natural curve of the spine and not flatten out the lower spine. WundaBar even offers light back support devices to help if you need it. I found the support intermittently helpful.
- Side Jumping: One is often instructed to scoot to the lower end of the WundaFormer to rest the hip and the knee is bent at 90 degrees with the foot facing behind you. Resting an ear on a yoga block does wonders for keeping the neck from arching over and aiding hips to stay stacked in a straight line.
Push-off and Landing Alignment – Think About Your Feet!
- Push-Off – Heel/Ball/Toe: This sounds extremely logical but it is not often easy to execute. When you are pushing-off and landing in quick succession, it is very easy to just utilize the ball and toe and forget the heel entirely. Utilizing the heel engages the muscles in your legs entirely differently than just the ball and toe combination.
- Landing – Toe/Ball/Heel: Again, logical sounding but not always easy to execute in a quick motion. This takes concentration for me because my calves are powerful and they just want me to go “Whee!” but I know it cheats the rest of my body not to get my heel involved.
It’s amazing how many combinations of exercises there are for the Jump Board. I’ve done my fair share of positions (hi/lo, diagonal jumps, side/front/double/scissor kicks, parallel/plie/side facing feet) and dancing a new type of Do Si Do on all of the real estate of a Jump Board. My right lower back and hip are still a bit sore when I do side jumping (especially with kicks) but as long as I go slow, focus on form and continue to practice, I know I’m challenging my body and getting stronger every time.
Have you ever done jumping or bounding in Pilates before? What did/do you struggle with? How did/do you meet that challenge?
*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.