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Get the setup right in Pilates exercises

Get The Setup (Just) Right

teaching skills Jun 26, 2019

Have you ever found yourself rushing through the setup of an exercise, just to keep the flow of a session or practice going?

For example, you used the foot loops for arm work on the Trapeze Table or Springboard.

You didn’t change the distance between Barrel and Ladder because the following exercise would require putting it back at the first setting anyway.

In a regression for Swan From Floor on the Chair using the long box, the distance between box and Chair was not quite right, but you didn’t want to get up, move the box an inch back because it would have taken precious time away from your practice.

I want to urge you to take the time to get it right. Do you believe in precision? That small changes have a huge effect? Well, then don't rush through the setup.

All this beautiful equipment has options for adjustments for a reason: to fit your body. Pilates is custom made, like a perfectly tailored suit. Not the cheapest piece of clothing on a sales rack.

Do you teach an exercise or do you teach a person? Not all people who are 5’6” tall use the same setting. Some of us have long legs and a short torso. Some have long arms and short legs, etc.*

Once you’ve found a setting for you for one exercise, that doesn’t mean it works for you for another exercise. Even though I use the Ladder Barrel on #11 for most exercises, for Figure 4 Stretch I move it in to #6. For Roll Over Shoulder Stand on the Ladder Barrel, distance definitely needs to fit your body (#8 for me) or you risk sliding down and falling on your head. Yikes! Not on my watch!

Take your time to get the setup right. It does make a difference!

*I just learned that in climbing there is something called the ape index, which indicates the length of your arm span compared to your height.

Note: Members, the exercise links within the text will lead you directly to the Pilates Encyclopedia.

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