For 27 years Kelly Uygan has been a Pilates instructor. Before that she was a professional Ballet dancer. Twelve years ago, with the support of her husband Viktor – also a former professional dancer – they opened a special type of Pilates studio, Konnect Pilates, where they instruct a lot of dancers. However, that is not their singular focus. They serve a wide range of clients who come in all ages, shapes, sizes and ability level.
“Our studio is an official training center for Balanced Body, Inc., known as the world’s leading Pilates education provider” says Kelly. “In fact, Viktor and I are both certified Balanced Body Education faculty-training instructors, teaching Pilates CoreAlgin Balanced Body Barre, MOTR and BODHI to other instructors. Not many Pilates instructors can say this and not many Pilates studios offer this level of instruction.”
Kelly says the things she emphasizes most in her teacher training are the Pilates Movement Principles and Core Activation.
“This is one of the most important fundamentals of Pilates, because it is needed to successfully stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine when stress is placed on these areas” says Kelly. “This happens when we bend, sit, twist, walk, run or jump. Strengthening our core enhances our body’s core strength and makes us much more aware of the deep muscles around the spine and pelvis. This helps us prevent injury.”
Kelly says that her favorite exercises to strengthen all four abdominals are:
The Pregnant Cat – In a down-on-all-fours (hands and knees) position, you would inhale and allow the abdominals to expand. On the exhale, you pull the abdominals up and in toward the spine without changing the position of your back.
Single Arm and Leg Stretch – In a neutral all-fours position, you would extend one arm forward and the opposite leg out and backward, breathing as you work on core activation.
The Plank –This exercise is done in an all-fours position. As you bend your elbows 90 degrees you would rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your ultimate goal should be to hold it for two minutes.
The 100’s – For this exercise, you would be kneeling. You would then lean back at 90 degrees with your arms and hands extended up to the ceiling. You would exhale, engaging the abs and drawing your ribs toward the hips to lift up into an abdominal curl. Next, you would pump your arms in a small pulses as you breathe in for five pulses and out for five pulses. Your goal is to do 10 sets for a total of 100!
For more great exercises, keep checking back. We’ll be posting more here. Better yet, contact Kelly at Konnect Pilates: 949.837.9999!