March MATness Day 30: Control Balance

Yesterday, we urged clients to Hang On! and let the legs do the work.  Today, the legs are still doing the work, but we want them to try to Break Free.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The Control Balance exercise is all about creating a stable balance point for the body and maintaining it throughout the movement.  In order to make this a more successful endeavor for our clients, we want to cue them to focus on the grasped leg.

The upward force into the hands created by the grasped leg (trying to “Break Free” of the grasp) acts as a counter balance to the leg moving away from the body’s center of gravity, helping the client stay balanced in the inverted position.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.  And sign up for our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!

Copyright © 2018, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

March MATness Day 28: Seal & Crab

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

Less than five days to go in March MATness!  Today we have two exercises, and two really challenging ones at that.  Seal and Crab require flexibility, incredible abdominal strength and coordination, among other things.  One thing that these exercises also have in common is the breath.  With so much going on in this exercise, cueing the breath can be a really effective way to ground clients and give them a sense of calm going into it, instead of being bogged down by the details.

For BOTH movements, per Pilates’ original text, as you roll back off your tailbone, take an inhale and as you initiate the return, exhale.  Cueing the inhale specifically for the roll back sets the client up use the exhale on the challenging return – helping to engage the abdominals and stay focused and in tune with the body.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.  And sign up for our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!

Copyright © 2018, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

March MATness Day 17: Shoulder Bridge

More than halfway through March MATness!

Source: giphy.com

Today’s cue is all about getting into position to start the movement.  Now, if you’ve read the Shoulder Bridge instructions in Return to Life through Contrology by Joe Pilates and tried to wriggle into position the way he prescribes, you’ll know it’s a like trying to get into a pair of really tight jeans.  If it looks like your client is missing the boat on the setup, or is getting frustrated by the discomfort of it all, try a different approach.

Encourage your client to come into a traditional Pilates bridge first.  From there, come onto the tippy toes and walk the heels towards the sit bones.  This will cause the hips to raise and create space for the arms to find their place underneath the hips.  Once the hands are secured and comfortable, ask the client to begin to walk the feet away slightly.  Then comes the challenge – ask the client to put the heels back down on the floor without dropping the hips.

Even if this isn’t entirely attainable, the mental and muscular exercise of just having the intention of doing so, will help maintain muscular activation that will keep the client from “falling back” into the hands and dropping their weight entirely onto the hands.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.  And sign upfor our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!

Copyright © 2018, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

March MATness Day 16: Scissors AND Bicycle

Today March MATness brings us not one, but TWO exercises.  I’m going to tackle Bicycle, since I haven’t before – but if you’re hankering for a Scissors cue, check out my post from January.

As for Bicycle, let’s ignore, for a moment, the fact that the movement of this exercise is all about the legs, and let’s talk about the ribs and hips.

It’s a simple message for clients: keep the distance between the ribs and the hips constant.  While the hands are at the back of the hips to support the body to some extent, the abdominals need to put in a significant effort to maintain stability as the legs begin to move away from the body’s center of gravity.  Giving clients a concrete goal – holding constant the connection between the ribs and the hips – helps them focus on this important stability and as a result, the leg movement also becomes more controlled and purposeful.

See below for two examples of poor rib-hip connections and the instability that results.

Source: giphy.com

 

Source: giphy.com

 

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.  And sign up for our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!

Copyright © 2018, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

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.