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.


Like Honey

One of my biggest pet peeves is when clients move their extremities through an exercise as if they are floating on a cloud, weightless. When you ask them to beat their arms and they just sort of flap them. Or when you ask them to move their legs up and down, they look around wondering if they’re doing it right because it’s so easy. Well, the truth is, they’re not…doing it right.

In our training, we’re taught to move through an exercise with intention, but what does that really mean? Remember all of that theory about muscles stiffening to prepare for a load? Joseph Pilates’ mantra was “as much as necessary, as little as possible,” but, what if there isn’t any load – like when we’re moving our arms through arm arcs or pointing and flexing our foot as we move our straight leg through space?

Try giving the client an imaginary load to think about. Have the client imagine that he or she is moving those arms and legs through the thickest honey. So sticky and viscous that they really have to work to get the body to move through it. See if that doesn’t fire up some extra effort!

Another thing to note here: this is a great time to throw in some guided resistance tactile cues!


Copyright ©2017 Cueing Theory, All rights reserved.