March MATness Day 31: Pushup

For our very last day of March MATness, the very bottom of Pilates’ list of original exercises, I give you a cue from the very bottom of our bodies.  Think TOES.

When your client has found his or her perfect plank position, remembering the pelvic tilt and glute wrap from our previous post, draw the attention to the toes.  Cue the client to use the toes to initiate a slight forward movement so that the body shifts forward an inch or two.  Then initiate the pushup with a suggestion that the client try to touch the elbows to the hip bones.  The slight forward shift of the body makes this elbow-hip connection plausible in the client’s mind and the attempt to create the connection ensures that the client is using the proper “elbows back” technique for the Pilates Pushup.

Phew!  We made it!  Are you as exhausted as I am?  Turns out, Joe’s original mat work is just as awesome as we’ve always known it to be. Why else would there be so much interest and study around his work?  I hope everyone has enjoyed the daily cues this month.  I have loved getting back to the root of it all and understanding a bit more about the movements and exercises that have inspired so so many since the mid-20th century.  Not surprisingly, I need a little break – as I’m sure you do too! – so hang tight and keep an eye out for the next cue in a week or two!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day and on our usual hunt for hardcore Pilates and awesome views.  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.

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.


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.