Do some of your beginner students have trouble moving smoothly and segmentally up and down through the Pilates Bridge? I find that many clients want to lift their whole torso into the bridge and then put it back down in one swift, flat movement. By doing so, they lose all the spinal mobility benefits that can be gained from this staple exercise. Here’s an imagery cue that can help them understand both what you want from them, as well as how the spine is constructed. Knowledge is awareness is key!!
Picture an escalator. It moves smoothly, step by step; each piece fits into the one that precedes it and if one stops, the entire unit stops. Now imagine the boney segments of your spine as you move up and down through your Pilates Bridge. Each vertebrae must follow the one before it. From the top of your bridge, as you lay the thoracic vertebra back on the mat, beginning with T6 or T7 (usually the last one lifted off when at the top of the bridge) the next one follows in its path and lines up to be the next one to impress into the mat…all the way through the spine until your tailbone releases onto the mat. In the reverse, as the tailbone lifts to begin the movement, each lumbar vertebrae must follow in order before the thoracic vertebra have their turn.
Try the escalator cue next time you’re going through the bridging sequence with your client. See if you don’t get smoother, more segmental movement!
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