If you come to any of my private or group sessions you will see that I never teach flexion in the traditional pilates series from the floor or crunch type movements. I have attended many types of movement sessions around the world where I see participants straining their neck and being told to build strength and work through the ache, even though they my not have the correct alignment and mobility to be doing these movement patterns.
I feel we have to move with the times and have a look at the type of clients we have in front of us and also what they have been doing in the day. None of us leave our hand baggage at the studio door. We are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual human beings and will bring our daily stresses into our posture and class. Our daily life consists of driving, sitting, texting, sitting at computer screens and rushing around with our heads leading the way. The last thing I would want to do is put a client into more flexion by either sitting them on a spin bike or doing a series of flexed positions from the floor. You can read my full article here on forward head and will notice that I make most of you work with the head rest down and tucking the chin into chest when working on the Pilates Reformer.
However I would teach neck flexion when starting from extension e.g from a swiss ball or foam roller. This is because most explosive movements in life and especially in sport would involve flexion but are preceded by some form of extension. People like Gary Gray and Paul Chek go into this in great depth.
The U.S. Army has started phasing out sit-ups for some soldiers, and the Navy and Marine Corps are considering new fitness requirements. Personal trainers and military advisers now believe that sit-ups are dangerous, because they put too much pressure on the spine. They say men and women should replace them with the plank pose, which is when you stay in the upward part of a push-up.
An editorial in Navy Times, which covers the US Navy, recently called for sit-ups to be banned completely. It called them an ‘outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries’. The Navy is said to be currently reviewing it fitness requirements. The US Marine Corps is also reviewing its physical fitness and body composition standards – in an attempt to improve fitness and reduce injuries. Click here for the full article.