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Pilates Exercises and Cues to Improve Breathing

When we combine movement with deep breathing, we feel a sensation that Joseph Pilates called an "internal shower". Maybe you've noticed it in exercises like the Hundred. The whole body warms up and feels energized. This is one of the many reasons we feel so great after class.

Deep breathing...

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How to Lift Your Arms (Using Scapulohumeral Rhythm)

 

Should you keep your shoulders down when raising the arms overhead?

Careful, this might be a trick question.

Your initial respone might have been. Yeah, duh! Of course! Shoulders should never by up by your ears.

Weeeeeellllllll........

Overhead arm movement might be a bit more complicated than...

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Lengthen, Strengthen, and Stretch

Words are subjective. I’m sure you’ve tried to name a color, only to hear your friend say, “That’s not purple, it’s blue.” We associate different meaning to different words.

A “good workout” for one person means sweating, huffing and puffing until...

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Turn the Volume Up and Down

Note: The exercise links within the text will lead to Youtube. For links directly inside the Encyclopedia, scroll down to the end of the post.

First, a short recap about concentric and eccentric muscle work. (I’ve stopped calling it contraction because I associate a shortening with the word...

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Why C-Curve Is Okay Even For Someone With A Round Back

In someone with Hyperkyphosis (an overly rounded thoracic spine) the area that’s too round is the upper thoracic area. In a C-Curve exercise, such as Teaser on the Floor (Chair) the focus of the rounding should be in the middle thoracic area around T7-9 which is opposite the xiphoid process...

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Posture Versus Core

There is a huge focus on abdominal strength in Pilates. Old news, I know. But Pilates is also known for its positive effect on posture.

“Draw your ribs down and together” or “keep your suspenders on” are two of the most used cues for core connection.

“Spread your...

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How to Cue Neutral Spine in Reformer Footwork

In previous posts, I discussed the breathing pattern in Footwork, and I explained how your breath moves the spine.

Today we’ll discuss the best way to get you(r student) to maintain a neutral lumbar curve and stable lumbo-pelvic region during the bending and straightening of the legs.

First...

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How Layering Works to Progress Students Safely

Pilates has so much to offer. If you’re ready to go deeper and explore each exercise in more and more depth, you can keep an exercise interesting for years.

I’ll explain how I layer one detail onto another, to progressively challenge my students while keeping them safe. I’ll use...

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Why Navel To Spine is a Bad Cue (When Working in a Neutral Spine Position)

Pulling your navel in will encourage your lumbar spine to flex and your pelvis to tilt posteriorly (tuck). This means if you want to challenge the transversus abdominis, which works in a neutral spine position, but not a flexed spine, then “navel to spine” is not an appropriate cue.

...
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Which Way Are You Breathing In Footwork On The Reformer?

"I breathe in when I push out and I exhale on the way in."

Great. This breathing pattern will help you control the carriage on the way in, and by cueing to inhale into the back ribs you can melt your rib cage onto the carriage, hence helping keep the front ribs together and the abdominals engaged...

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