Ruth Larkin Follow
Ruth first experienced the power of Pilates to strengthen posture and prevent and alleviate injuries during her professional dance training. She's now a Sports Massage therapist and Pilates teacher, specialising in chronic pain.
Go slow for back pain
As an addition to Ruth's 'Pilates for Back Pain' program, this gentle class is suitable for any time you are experiencing pain. The gentle movements and mindful activation will help you to move through discomfort and feel more confident in your body in spite of any pain you may be feeling. Have a soft blanket for comfort during this practice.
Abs on fire!
A short but strong practice to fire up your core and build strength in the abdominals. If you experience any strong sensations in your back, please bend your knees. No equipment necessary for this practice.
Bone safe abs and adaptions
If your bone health is an issue or you have been told to avoid loading the spine, this class is for you. Understanding the movements to do or to avoid is very important if bone density is a concern or you are keen to know more about adapting your practice for this issue. Ruth takes you through some accessible core strength work and offers some useful tips to keep you feeling confident in your moments.Props: A stretchy band and small ball or cushion will be useful.
Roll with it
A short, fun flow to challenge your core and get the spine moving. Let's roll! This one isn't suitable for anyone with acute back or neck issues or bone density concerns.
If you haven't yet tried Pilates, or you've taken a class and were confused with some of the terminology, join Ruth where she explains some of the Pilates principles. Small details make a big difference in what you can gain from the Pilates method so it's worth knowing the fundamentals to get the most out your classes and further your understanding of the individuality of your joints and how they move. Have a blanket or small cushion handy should you need it.
Pilates spends lots of time on core strength and spinal mobility and control, so here we have a chance to focus on the strength of the back without large movements or needing to be super flexible in backbends. This practice is also beneficial for the shoulders and neck. A bolster or firm cushion will be helpful, as well as a resistance band or hand weights.
A bit of everything
If you can't decide what you need, try this all-round tune-up. With a little bit of work for the whole body you should end up feeling longer, stronger, more poised and centered. No equipment needed but feel free to add ankle weights should you want more challenge.
No Reformer, no problem! Using just a blanket to slide on the floor and a resistance band, this shorter practice highlights the deep core connection which can be felt on the traditional Pilates Reformer. Ruth explains how we can recreate some of these stronger exercises at home for a slightly different experience on the mat.
This is the final class in Your Pilates Week. Active stretching or passive stretching - which is better? In this session, Ruth focuses on active (moving) stretches to increase our tolerance to the sensation of stretch, elongating the spine and finding more space in the body to relax. You don't just have to sit in static positions to increase your mobility! A resistance band will be helpful, as well as a cushion or folded blanket.
TGI Friday feet!
Welcome to the fifth class in Your Pilates Week. Awareness in the feet obviously helps with balance and grounding. It can also be a great way to bring variety into your Pilates routine and improve other activities such as running or sports. Let's take a look at improving our foot and ankle mobility and notice how that can help with our balance and posture. Ruth also offers some useful pointers for rehabilitation after ankle sprains or tendon problems. A small pillow will be useful to test your balance.
Thursday still standing
The fourth class in Your Pilates week. Standing postures are more commonplace in yoga than Pilates so let's explore some standing work. We’ll strengthen our legs and our posture in general and challenge our balance. A resistance band and small ball (or a cushion) will be useful here, as well as some wall space.
Wednesday hips don't lie
The third class in Your Pilates Week. Everybody's hip joints look and move differently. Keeping them strong and mobile is important for our back health and indeed all our activities. In this class we’ll focus on activating the glutes and gain more awareness around hip strength versus mobility. You might like to have a small cushion to rest your head on.
Tuesday tune up
In the second class of Your Pilates Week, Ruth takes you through some core strength exercises and we focus on the position of the ribs. We’ll work slowly and with control, and use our breath and correct alignment to make challenging exercises achievable. You might like to have a small cushion to rest your head on.
A moving start to the week! In this class we focus on the upper body, mobilising the neck and shoulders, strengthening the upper back and easing out your spine. With some added stability work, this session should leave your shoulders feeling more balanced and your posture improved. Please have a small cushion and/or a soft ball to rest the back of the head on. (The ball is optional) This class is part of Your Pilates Week program.
Introducing: Your Pilates Week
Ruth introduces our newest program starting Monday, 14th November. Your Pilates Week is a 6-class series with brand new, 30 minute classes targeting different areas of the body for every day of the week. Click on the link and follow the program.
15 minutes of Plank
A short practice to fire up the core and build shoulder strength! But don't worry, in spite of the title, this class is accessible with different options as we go along. Join Ruth as we move through all the different versions of Plank in manageable chunks. Before you know it, you will have planked for a full 15 minutes! Give it a try and see for yourself how this really is possible.
For most situations, proper preparation can help us to feel ready and more confident. If you are new to Pilates, unsure of some of the techniques or worry that it's difficult, then it can feel a little daunting. But to make challenging movements or postures feel achievable, all we need to do is prepare. In this gentle class, suitable for everyone, Ruth takes you through some handy preparations which may help your journey into a stronger and more confident practice.
No pain in the neck
Whether you have a generally stiff neck, an injury, or are just feeling stressed, this focused session will gently and safely mobilise and strengthen the upper spine. It also offers some useful tips on how to avoid neck tension during core work.
Sometimes we all need to go gently. Whether you are recovering from injury, have ongoing joint problems, feeling low on energy, new to practice or maybe post-natal, this class is for you. Pilates does not have to be a tough workout, it's often about soothing our bodies to find balance and connection. No equipment necessary and no crunches!
A dynamic Pilates flow to get the body moving, lengthening and strengthening when you may be short on time. Dynamic does not have to mean fast, so we still observe good technique, following the breath in this fun challenge.
Focus on shoulders
Shoulders are often problematic. Whether it's tightness due to desk working or general stress, manual jobs or child-care...it all takes its toll. But should we keep stretching or build strength? In this session Ruth gives you a balance of both to release and stabilise this area. A stretch band or yoga strap will be helpful.
Advanced mat abs!
A short run through of the first few exercises of Joseph Pilates' original mat work. The 'advanced mat' is a specific sequence of classical exercises performed in a full flow. Here, Ruth introduces you to the first section - from the Hundreds to the Teaser - for a fun challenge. Not suitable for those with acute neck issues.
Fun with the foam roller!
The foam roller is often used for massaging out tightness in the body but it's also a great tool to change up your Pilates practice, adding the challenge of working on an unstable surface. This is great for your balance and joint stability as we wobble, roll and release. If you don't have a roller, most of the work can be done with a yoga bolster too. Enjoy this introduction to the many possibilities of ways to work with this equipment.
Finding your feet
Mobilising the feet and grounding to form a stable base for posture and balance are important actions to practice. In this class we focus on working from the ground up to find awareness of the feet and how they can work to support our joint alignment and strengthening of the lower limbs. If you have ever sprained an ankle or struggle with knee issues, this could be helpful. Grab a stretch band and tennis/massage ball if you have one.
General Pilates practice
Ruth brings you a signature Pilates class with a bit of everything to leave you feeling generally more mobile and balanced throughout the body. Suitable for everyone with no need for special equipment, we'll follow our breath and control our movements, leaving the joints feeling strengthened yet functioning more comfortably.
15 minute mobilisations
If you're feeling creaky or compressed and you need to feel better quickly, this session is designed for you to use any time you need it! Focusing on the spine, Ruth will take you through some gentle mobilisations to alleviate morning stiffness, tension after a long day or even back pain from travelling. You could also do it as a preparation for another class. No equipment necessary.
Pilates with the resistance band
Using a resistance band is a fantastic way to add a new dimension to your practice. This class balances strength work with mobilisation using your band throughout. If the mat work becomes more comfortable then this adds an extra level of challenge; however it can help to access and control certain movements too. Resistance work is essential to our bone health so this class is a great option for all!
Pilates - pelvic floor focus
Engaging with the pelvic floor is just as relevant to men as women, and you do not need to have suffered any issues (after childbirth, for example) to benefit from this class. But what actually is the pelvic floor and could yours be overactive rather requiring strengthening (which popular opinion often encourages)? Ruth explains how to create gradual tone in the PF through relaxation as well as strength work. You may be surprised how focusing on this area improves your posture, back health and core control too!
Pilates with the small ball
The small ball (or overball) is a fantastic piece of equipment in Pilates, easily available and so versatile. In this class we focus on using it to release spinal tension and to challenge pelvic stability by adding an extra dimension to our core work.
Pilates for desk workers
Ruth brings you the perfect antidote to being stuck behind a desk for hours at a time. As so many of us have been restricted in our daily activities over the past year, our general movement levels have generally decreased. As a result, we may be experiencing more backache and stiffness than usual. This class offers some anatomical insights and opens the hips, relaxes the shoulders, activates the core and will make you feel generally more balanced!
30 minute abs!
A strong 30-minute practice, focused on all round abdominal and core strengthening. Ruth's personal experience with chronic back pain and injury has demonstrated that the more we struggle with these issues, the stronger we need to become! Not suitable for those with acute injury, no equipment necessary.
Introduction - Pilates for Back Pain
Meet our newest teacher, Ruth Larkin, who introduces her Pilates for back pain program. This 5-class series is designed for anyone who suffers from pain - and if you’re lucky enough never to have experienced it, this course also works as a brilliant preventative measure!Alongside teaching Pilates, Ruth is a sports massage therapist, working with people who have pain and injuries on a daily basis. Ruth also suffers from an inflammatory form of arthritis and scoliosis, so has personal experience of how chronic pain can affect our daily lives.
Class 1 - Exploring neutral spine: Alignment
Class 1 of Pilates for back program. Pilates is about strengthening the spine in its natural shape. So, let’s explore how to find a ‘neutral spine’ in any position. To help heal back pain we need to look after our spine by creating a strong support structure throughout our body but, crucially, gaining control over our movements. Precision is key! In this class we look at how to ease out of discomfort and feel confident to continue to move, even if we experience pain. A small pillow or folded blanket will be useful for comfort, as well as a resistance band if you have one.
Class 2 - Using the breath: Breathing for support
Class 2 of Pilates for back pain program. Breath is life! As in yoga, the movements in Pilates are designed to follow our natural breathing pattern to either help stabilise the body or challenge the movement. In this class we look at how breathing can help calm the nervous system and support all of our movements, further moving away from the fear of discomfort. A yoga strap or resistance band will be useful for the final stretches.
Class 3 - Strong core and stamina: Centring
Class 3 of Pilates for back pain program. We often talk about the “core” but what and where is it? It would be folly just to focus on the major abdominal muscles as we need strength and stamina throughout our body, because every piece of us is connected. In this class we focus on pelvic and spinal stability, moving slowly to practice precision of movement and so gaining more control of our joints. When we know we have the strength to support our spine in all directions, we are less likely to encounter problems in our day to day activities. Have a small pillow or yoga block handy.
Class 4 - All about the glutes!
Class 4 of Pilates for back pain program. If you suffer with back pain or not, the glutes (and other deeper muscles of the hips) are essential for postural support and movement. The gluteals and hamstrings work as one unit so we need to practice proper engagement, strength and activation to help with our core control. You will be amazed how much better you feel with some regular targeted thought for your bottom! A tennis ball or massage ball will be useful for targeted stretching.
Class 5 - Motion is lotion: Flow and stretch
Class 5 of Pilates for back pain. As discussed in the first class, if you have back pain, staying still is often the worst thing you can do! It can be scary when you feel like you can’t move naturally but with everything we have learned so far, this class will further help you to feel confident to move and stretch in a constructive, safe way with lots of mobilisations to get you moving normally again. A yoga block/cushion and blanket may be useful for stretching tighter hamstrings.