Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Back to Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Hi there!

I recently wrote a post on the importance of revisiting our basic exercises.

As an advanced Pilates practitioner, skills earned over time shine brightly in our most fundamental and straightforward exercises. Any difficulty with our beginning exercises will show up later in our favorite Pilates circus tricks.

Am I right?

Elephant, anyone?

The body – it is a-changin'

We are currently in the midst of a Pilates renaissance.

Curiosity abounds as the traditional exercises we get from Joe Pilates beckon to countless instructors of varied training backgrounds. Apparatus designed to support the original system gains new fans every day.

In the past I would hear questions like:

  • “Don't you get tired teaching the same exercises all day long?”
  • “Having an order you use for everyone sounds like lazy teaching.”

Or something to this effect…

My understanding of the system at the time was that fundamental exercises, once mastered, would open up more exercises and variations for the devoted client.

Also each day our bodies are different – how will we do today? Our group of exercises will tell us the story: where we excel and where we fall short.

But wait – there's MORE

I'm sure you are familiar with one of Joe Pilates most famous marketing slogans:

In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body…

What about that ellipses?

Less familiar is the end of this sentence: or your money back.

The results mentioned in this quote are predicated on Pilates done 3 times a week with Joe Pilates – a man we all understand to be sufficiently confident (and then some!) in his life's work to make such a claim.

A whole new body might take a bit more time if you're attending 1 weekly Mat class.

Or in my case, the new body showed up 5 years post The Work – just as Jay Grimes predicted…

That guy is always right.

New Skills, New Body, Same Old Exercises

Last week I spoke about ‘meat and potatoes' exercises done on the Reformer and Mat.

I was also thrilled to discover a post from Brooke Siler which included a shot of my Reformer Poster. Brooke is a celebrated Pilates teacher/practitioner and the author of the very first Pilates book I owned, The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening and Toning Your Body- Without Machines.

Oh it's a goody.

I saw this post immediately following my lesson with the lovely Karen Frischmann.

Having scaled my own workout back for the moment I looked at “the big picture” on my Reformer poster with new eyes.

I got excited to return to the more complex exercises – Headstands, Backbend, High Frog, Star – with my new skills – with my new body!

My thoughts on doing the same exercises over and over instantly had a new clarity of purpose:

  • The exercises don't change.
  • Over time the body changes…
  • The exercises become at once familiar, new, exciting and challenging.

Those same old exercises are going to be such a new experience – some will be even more awesome and others will be a wild ride.

YouTube Collaboration with Lesley Logan

Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Join me this week for my 2nd YouTube collaboration with my Los Angeles colleague Lesley Logan. Lesley is the owner of Profitable Pilates and she's a gem.

This week we will begin at the beginning with an exercise tutorial on the Hundred.

Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Check out my video. If you'd like to see us collaborate on other exercises, leave a comment below and we will add it to the list!

Check out Lesley's video on the Hundred here.

If you're a YouTuber with a Pilates channel and want to join our collaboration please email me at and I will give you all the deets.

And here's where you can find me in 2018.

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  1. Alessandra Niccolai says

    There is nothing basic about basic.. ????… new skills, new body = starting over???????? but what a pleasure it is! ???? ..’The exercises …become new, exciting and challenging…’ After today’s lesson I read this latest blog post! Hurrah! Love the 100 hack… Since using my new reformer I struggled to fathom why, despite using heavier springs than I’m used to, the exercise actually feels better!! ???? ‘We use heavier springs to give us more support to open up our back!! ‘..…,Aha!! ???????? brilliant! Now I understand… #OMG so much to learn… #rockon Andrea ❤️ #wewantmore ????????????????????????????

    • Yay!! Thanks for this comment – and 3 cheers for opening up the back! It’s gotta be a good thing right? Now when you try the Hundred with a lighter spring you can feel how the help is not there – good job Alessandra – keep up the good work and #rockon!

  2. Hi I will love to see you collaborate in other excercises . Thank you .

  3. Nice! I felt like this Hundred toot was perfect for me! I was like oh, right! lengthen in the Hundred so Overhead isn’t as…shocking…then I thought, oh yes, I should *pretend* I’m doing the Teaser on the SB to start the Hundred (cuz you know I’m a curler starter) wham, yup. reach from below…Dialing in the most basic of exercises is like Alessandra said, not basic at all! See, your bloggin’ gives us such inspiration and motivation to dial in the most basic of basic 🙂 #loveit #rockonmuskateers

    • Alessandra Niccolai says

      Just practiced (and taught!) 100 on reformer with the legs down on the bar… #holymoly????… no cheating using the hip flexor to help the curl! You have to use your upper stomach… well worth a try????.. #koolaid100????????????????????????

    • Awww… you are such amazing Pilates peeps!! It is always those “basic” moments that can fly by us unexplored but can really elevate our experience of the exercises. Well done! Can’t believe I will have you in the studio in just a few weeks – yay! xox

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