Endurance Sports & Fitness: The Core Expert™, Jessica Schatz
By Alix Shutello
[as originally published on endurancesportsandfitness.com]
“I believe everyone has the opportunity to live a better life. My unique methodology, rooted in Pilates and tying in the depth of knowledge and expertise I have gained over the years, will transform more than just your surface. It will give you the power to shape your life from the inside out, starting at the core, and connecting the mind, body, and spirit. As The Core Expert™, my mission is to help you harness and leverage this power to feel better, function better, and live better.” — JESSICA SCHATZ
Jessica Schatz has made it her personal and professional goal to teach others to live a better life through optimal health and wellness. She has discovered that every person who has the desire and devotes the time and energy can make this happen, at any stage of life, health, fitness, and wellness.
“I developed an integrative approach – a unique methodology rooted in Pilates, and drawing upon Yoga, bio-mechanics, meditation, psychotherapy, exercise, nutrition, and other modalities that I have seen transform more than just an individual’s surface,” she states. “My approach is consistent with the findings of many health practitioners and researchers that long-term wellness results when the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – is properly addressed.”
Before she devises a plan to help an individual, Schatz thoroughly examines a range of factors (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, behavioral, environmental, economic) that have influenced the person’s health status.
“A particularly valuable benefit of this integrative approach is the collaboration between me as the instructor/practitioner and the individual under assessment. A cooperative dynamic fosters engagement and commitment on both our parts to work together, maximizing our ability to achieve optimal results,” she said.
In recognition of the efficacy of her methodology, Schatz became acknowledged by many in the fitness and health and wellness community as The Core Expert™.
Schatz combines scientific knowledge of the physical core with an intuitive sense of the inner core of each person. “I help each person harness and leverage the power to shape his or her life from the inside-out, starting at the core, and connecting the mind, body, and spirit. Too many of us suffer from poor health, pain, weakness, anxiety, depression, obesity, sleeplessness, and self-doubts. We all deserve to feel better, function better, and live better.”
Schatz, 48, incorporates Pilates, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and specialized strength and conditioning exercises into custom-tailored programs for each individual client. Every athlete, just like every person, has very specific needs. Just as an example, for runners, core work is about form and function. “If you run without injury then probably your core is strong and stable,” Schatz said. She realizes that long-distance running gets a bad rap because athletes commonly end up injured unnecessarily.
Schatz addresses the correct development of muscle to create a virtual “suit of armor” in order to build resistance against muscle fatigue, avoid injury and enhance balance, mobility, alignment, stability and proper joint function. This approach, which she calls “prehab,” is designed to minimize, if not eliminate, the need for rehab.
The Top Core Exercises for All Athletes
Schatz recommends a number of exercises to build your core.
Planks are a great basic exercise to build core strength. There are a number of different types of plank variations. Following are two Jessica recommends. To see 20 different plank variations, search for plank variation workouts and videos at http://www.health.com.
Variation 1: Plank Knees In and Out – 10x total – five leading w/right leg, five leading w/left leg
Body in an upper push-up position, hands directly under the shoulders, knees hip bone distance apart, body in one long line, core engaged. Without moving the upper body, step the right foot in and then the left, bending the knees 45 degrees hovering off the floor. Step back to start position, right foot and then left. Do this five times starting each side, 10x total. Keep the body completely still throughout, maintain scapular stability, draw the navel in deep, and breathe naturally. Imagine balancing a foam roller across the sacrum to stay stable.
Variation 2: Side Forearm Plank with Rotation – 10x each side
From a forearm plank, palms flat, rotate to the lateral edge of the right foot stacking the legs, left hand behind the head, elbow pointed up. Inhale to lower the hips towards the floor, right hip touching (not resting). Exhale to lift the hips up and twist the torso toward the floor, elbow pointing down. Be sure to exhale completely, imagining a corset pulling your mid-section tight as you rotate. Do 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
2. Quadruped Bird-Dog (Kneeling Arm & Leg Reach). Five sets alternating – 10 total
On hands and knees, heels behind sit bones, knees under the hips, hands under shoulders. While maintaining a neutral spine, raise the opposite arm and leg straight out horizontally keeping the abdominal wall engaged, navel in deep, and the whole body in one straight line from head to foot, flex the foot. Hold a full cycle of breath. Lower the arm and leg back to the floor in the same path as the upward movement and change sides. Continue alternating for 10 repetitions (five for each side). The goal is to resist rotation and extension forces that attempt to destabilize the spine. Keep the toes pointed down, hips level, navel in, palm faced in as if shaking someone’s hand.
3. Pelvic Tilt to Pelvic Curl (shoulder bridge variations) – 10x total
Lying supine, knees bent, legs hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor below the knees, neutral spine. Keeping the arms reaching long, palms flat, head on the floor with the chin slightly lifted so there is space under the neck. Inhale and lift the hips and spine up in one piece and squeeze the tush at the top, navel stays in. Exhale to lower in one piece. Then, inhale and curl the tailbone and pelvis in and up as the spine peels up off the floor one vertebra at a time. Squeeze the tush at the top, navel stays in. Lower in the reverse progression, one vertebra at a time until back in the start position. 10 rounds total.
About Jessica Schatz
Body by Jessica® was founded in 2001 and garnered a wide following. Jessica’s Pilates work expanded to include high-endurance professional athletes and dancers, leading Schatz in 2016 to create CHAMPION PILATESTM. Schatz established JESSICASCHATZ. COM in 2017, which focused on teaching a sophisticated understanding of core strength and stability, full-body integration (“F.B.I.”), and heightened mind-body awareness. Schatz has worked with the likes of fashion mogul Ashley Olsen, NBA star Wesley Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks, former NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips, the cast of Hamilton, the company of Wicked (while in residency at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre), and members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.