March MATness Day 10: Corkscrew

It’s Day 10 of March MATness and I couldn’t resist the temptation of upping the ante a bit.  Today’s exercise is the Corkscrew and I decided to try it out on the foam roller (check out my attempt on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio).  Here’s what I found – It’s doable.  It’s really challenging.  And it is all about staying centered.

Photo by Dani Ramos on Unsplash

Our cue for today is “walk the line.”  Being successful with this challenge is all about the centerline: taking your time to set up exacly on the centerline, establishing balance on the centerline once the feet have been released from the floor, hugging the legs to the centerline as they move up and overhead, pulling the shoulder blades to the centerline as the arms and lats and serratus engage to provide added stability, maintaining hips over the centerline as the feet shift over one shoulder and finding that centerline again as the spine drips its way back onto the roller bit by bit, and so on.  If you lose touch with your center, you slip off the foam roller.  (Luckily it’s not far to fall!)

I definitely recommend trying this out before putting it to clients.  It was really tough, but felt so great to accomplish.  Clients who are advanced could certainly give this a go, but have them practice the Rollover on the foam roller quite a bit first.  It helps establish the centerline more firmly.

A note about range, you’ll notice if you check out the video of me do this that there is greatly reduced range on both the swivel from shoulder to shoulder and the circling the feet away and back up at the bottom of the movement.  I would suggest this reduced range for your first attempts.  I’ll keep working at it and hopefully get my own range to broaden a bit!

Find yours truly attempting this feat on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) and taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.

Pilates Reference Cues – Using Bridging to Perfect More Challenging Exercises

One of the most pertinent reference points for Pilates students is Pilates itself.  So many of the exercises build on each other and it is a great tool to be able to refer back to some of the movements achieved in an exercise the client knows well, in order to set the stage for a new or more challenging sequence.

Let’s start the discussion today with a gimme.  Bridging.  It’s one of the first exercises we learn and a staple in class planning.  I’ve mentioned the escalator cue for bridging in an earlier article, so let’s build on that.  As a client becomes more familiar with the segmental spine movement inherent to bridging, it is an easy one to refer back to when we introduce a new exercise or help the client improve upon an exercise that they find more challenging.

Any time we want the client to move bone by bone through the spine, we can always refer back to bridging.  The examples are diverse and plentiful.  To start with, this referral cue translates for Roll Down and Roll Up.  It’s great for seated exercises such as Spine Stretch, Saw.  It’s great for exercises that require movement from seated to lying down: Assisted Roll Up, Teaser. It’s even key to getting the most out of the descent of inversion exercises: Roll Over, Corkscrew, Jack Knife.

I could probably go on and list most exercises in the whole of the Pilates repertoire, but you get the point.  Use the Bridge.


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