March MATness Day 24: The Leg Pulls

Leg Pull and Leg Pull Front are great, total body exercises that require a lot of strength before clients can master them in their original form.  For this reason, there have been many, many variations, modifications, and regressions thought up and practiced across the Pilates landscape over the years.

If your clients are ready to go for the original movement in all its glory, here’s one cue for them that will help with both versions: remember the pelvis.  A slight posterior tilt and a mindfulness of wrapping the sit bones towards one another creates a stability and levity to the body that helps to shift the focus of exercise from the sheer difficulty of holding one’s body in a plank, to the intention of creating length from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes.

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.

Pilates Reference Cues – Using Hundreds to Cue the Pilates Repertoire

Earlier this week, we talked about how Pilates exercises themselves are sometimes the best cues for more difficult or complicated movements in the repertoire.  Bridging came to mind first, but there’s another that is imbedded in SO many exercises.  The Hundred.

Source: giphy.com

The Hundred teaches us a ton about how to organize our whole bodies, including the breath.  Many clients think about this as an intense, nearly impossible ab workout, but what’s really going on is a lot more central to Pilates and the overarching benefits we preach about.

The Hundred is all about organization of the body and recruiting the total body, including the breath to perform an incredibly difficult task.  The Hundred cannot be performed without the body engaging toward the midline from the toes all the way to the neck.  Try it.  Attempt Hundreds without hugging the legs together, without lifting through the pelvic floor and lower abdominals and without using the oblique slings to pull it all together.  Now try it without organizing your head neck and shoulders.  Now try breathing into your abdomen instead of into the sides of your ribcage.  It’s near impossible.  Your legs won’t lift, your lower back arches, your head seems to weigh 100 pounds and it all falls apart even further when you try to inhale.

Mastering body organization and breath is imperative for the success of Hundreds, but it is also necessary in order to gain the most from other exercises as well.  Referring back to the body organization and muscle recruitment that made clients successful with Hundreds, can help them understand the proper organization and alignment that many other exercises require.

These exercises run the gamut from the obvious – other supine abdominal exercises (Chest Lift, Assisted Roll Up and Roll Up, Single Leg Stretch, Single Straight Leg Stretch, Double Straight Leg Stretch, Criss Cross, Neck Pull) to full body (Teaser and Leg Pull; you can even make an argument for Leg Pull Front, Push Up, Plank) and inversion (Jack Knife, Controlled Balance, etc.) exercises.

It all comes back to Hundreds.

Copyright © 2017, Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.

 

Adding Choreography to Staple Exercises – Let’s Paint this Town Red

One way to make a basic exercise a little more interesting and to give it additional benefits is to add in a little choreography.  One of the most common examples of this is pointing and flexing the foot during exercises where the client is asked to isolate the movement of a straight leg in the hip joint – bridging variations, sidekick series, leg pull and others.

The key with pointing and flexing is timing the choreography to get extra length from the hamstrings and calf muscles.  This means pointing as the leg moves towards the body and flexing as it moves back to its starting position.  With this timing, the client is flexing the ankle when the hamstring is at its longest, most stretched position – creating a little more length and a little more stretch.

A way to give clients a visual cue for this choreography is to imagine the foot is a paintbrush.  As the brush moves up the wall, the bristles of the brush are pointed down.  As the brush moves back down the wall, the bristles are flexed up.

Get extra length out of the hip joint by encouraging clients to reeeach for the wall with their paintbrushes.

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