The Balancing Act of Weight Bearing

Maintaining pelvic and shoulder stability during weight bearing exercises such as plank is incredibly important, particularly as we layer movement onto an already challenging pose.  Consider a simple exercise like Quadruped – on all fours, shoulders in line with wrists, hips in line with knees.  Pretty simple because each of the limbs work together to provide a broad base of support. What happens, though, as we take away one of those limbs and reduce the base of support?  The newly unsupported hip and/or shoulder tends to drop as the balance and weight bearing becomes more of a challenge.

In order for our clients to benefit from these simple exercises, their focus throughout needs to be keeping hips and shoulders level.  Maintaining hip and shoulder height challenges the core, especially the oblique slings, the shoulder girdle and the client’s the sense of balance.


Here’s a cue to give them motivation to do just that.  Have them imagine they are balancing a tray of champagne between the hips on the back of the sacrum, and another just between the shoulder blades!  See if that doesn’t provide some added incentive to stay level!  And if it happens to be a Monday morning when you use this cue, try a couple of mugs of coffee in the balance instead of the bubbles!


Copyright © 2017, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

It’s a Cinch! – Engaging the Transverse Abdominals

The transverse abdominal muscles are hard to describe to someone who doesn’t already know about them, but we use them all the time without realizing it.  They are so integral, not only to our Pilates practice, but also to our every day lives.  The TA are responsible for organizing our spine so that the muscles in our extremities are able to efficiently work.  Let’s say that a different way – in order for our extremities to properly engage during an exercise, our transverse abdominal muscles must be appropriately contracted.  They are vital to our clients’ success in Pilates (and in life, but let’s not get carried away).

Because the work of the transverse abdominals is “behind the scenes,” it is often difficult to ask a client to call on them specifically. Our best bet is to have them mimic one of those every day tasks that subconsciously employs the muscle group.

Try this: have your client imagine cinching their waist in an effort to button a tight, high-waisted pair of jeans that has just been through the wash.  My TA kicks in at the thought!


Copyright © 2017, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.