Pilates in the Year 2020 and Beyond… what I’ll be up to in 2021

The Path to Mastery 2020

Hey there!

Who else can't believe it's October?

It's good news, somewhat. It's my favorite month! It's got my birthday right smack in the middle of it on The Ides of October and it's got Halloween. So that's a plus.

On the other hand, 2020 pretty much feels like the year that will never end.

At least there's oodles of time to commit to your Pilates practice.

Who else is really excited about things you can control?

I've been thinking about you and your Pilates workout.

Maybe you've come across this book?

Amazon.com: Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy eBook: Steel, John Howard: Kindle Store

In Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy, author John Howard Steel shares his experience and friendship with Joe and Clara Pilates. He also gives us youngsters a window into what it was like to work out in the Pilates' gym.

Yes, gym.

Everyone was responsible for his/her own workout: working, moving, sweating, and getting in “the zone.” This is the laser focus of the Pilates workout. This is ownership of your workout. Your hour of learning about YOU.

Moving. Focusing. Letting the exercises do their magic. Over time. Even if you don't think you're particularly good at them. Trust. They are working.

Movement heals.

Movement heals if you actually MOVE.

You make moving it along a priority.

Steady as she goes…

You know me, I'm a reformed slow-poke (ha ha pun not intended!). I'd like nothing better than to micromanage my body and get it all to work together perfectly.

Maybe you wish you could do that too.

Wishing doesn't make it so.

Think for a moment what that movement gives to your mind as well as your body.

Pilates is positive. It's up and forward. It is the internal housekeeping of your body. You are massaging your very guts for an hour. It's the gift you give yourself so you can run, walk, play and indulge in your life, your life's work, your pleasures.

A Pilates workout by yourself or with an instructor should leave you feeling empowered, emboldened and ready to take on the world. Maybe sometimes you'll be amazed by what you do!

That's my favorite part.

That moment when you accomplish even one moment that surprises you.

I remember the last one of those very vividly: 5 brisk Teasers on the Guillotine. At the end of my lesson. Of the Mat. Yeah, totally didn't see that coming…

Meanwhile…

A big thank you to everyone who participated in my September workshop, The Wunda Chair Project. It's been a fantastic month of learning and examining the lion's share of our Wunda Chair exercises. The Wunda is truly inexhaustible. It's amazing what can be accomplished and addressed on this petite but mighty apparatus.

As you might have guessed, I'm a big fan of the Pilates Project.

There's a ton of Pilates Projects on the blog. Read a few more of them here, here and here.

(Pilatesology subscribers, check out this Pilates Project on the Control Balance Step Off on the Reformer.)

The Pilates Method is ripe for this kind of exploration. As one workshop participant put it so perfectly, “My whole life is a Pilates Project!”

I feel you.

That moment when you've got one wobbly side of the Mountain Climb and it suddenly dons on you:

This is not the Pilates Olympics. The goal is not a flawless Mountain Climb. The goal is to walk tall and with confidence as you go about your day being your very best self.

That feeling – that confidence – is priceless.

Good news:

A Pilates Project for the Cadillac!

The Cadillac

The Cadillac is where the magic happens, right?

It serves everyone you could possibly conjure up: from the frailest individual to the circus performer to everyone in between.

From Leg Springs and Arm Springs to the Standing Arm Spring Series and the Flying Squirrel, there's an opportunity to improve all our Pilates exercises in the studio.

I had a reluctance I could never place with regard to working on the Cadillac.

Oh, I'm always on board for hanging upside down, but historically I'd rather shoot myself than do the Leg Springs series. And why do so many people LOVE those lying down Arm Springs? They are ridiculous!!

But the first step is admitting you have a problem.

What luck! I've got several ūüėŹ

Having recently “conquered” the Wild Wild Wunda, I hope to build a more proficient relationship with the Cadillac… with some hanging upside down fun included at the end for my reward, of course.

Remember everyone's favorite Pilates problem, imbalance side-to-side?

Well here's what I've come up with on the Cadillac for exactly that:

  • The Hundred (however you like it. Just get it done. Springs or no springs)
  • The One Leg Spring (crossover style or spring on the same side as the leg, pick your poison)
  • The Leg Spring Series (light – arm – springs for me)
  • Arm Springs Lying Down (Just go to your happy place on the Ped-o-Pul)
  • Rolling Back (everyone's favorite Roll Up)
  • Rolling Back One-Arm Side Stretch (Good Times)
  • Side Leg Springs¬†(front/back and circles for now)
  • Airplane (Using the Airplane Board for now)
  • Flying Eagle (I have high hopes for this one)
  • Push Through Bar Series¬†Tower, Monkey, Teaser, Reverse Push Thru, Mermaid, Swan, Shoulder Roll Down, Push Thru Front¬†(actually enjoying this series more lately)
  • Rolling Back Bar Series – Chest Expansion, Thigh Stretch, Rolling In + Out, Rolling Stomach Massage, Long Back Arms¬†(still a challenge, this series, but some nice rolling to sneak in)
  • Traditional Ending – Breathing, Spread Eagle, Pull Ups, Hanging Pull Ups + Twist, Hang! (Bonus video on this one!)
  • Standing Arm Springs – Butterfly, Squats, One Leg Squats (of course)
  • (Another video with more Cadillac “favorites.” I filmed this a while ago, so I may be lying) ūüėā

2021 Monthly Online Workshops

Study up on your Cadillac exercises and join me in 2021 to nerd out again, Pilates Project Style!

January: The Cadillac Project

In a total of 8 workshop hours, we'll look at the fundamental forces from our Wunda Chair exploration and take them to the Cadillac. It's a win-win for sure, by the sheer size and support of our Cadillac apparatus.

The Cadillac Project will meet 4 Thursdays in January: January 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2021.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Cadillac or Tower Unit
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love the Cadillac!

 

February: The Complex Reformer Project

Thanks so much for this request, Laurel.

Build a strong Pilates foundation and the complex Reformer Exercises will come.

You probably know them by name or reputation: Overhead, Snake/Twist, Star, Backbend, Balance Control Off, Headstands, High Frog and Russian Splits.

These exercises are some of the most challenging exercises in the traditional Reformer repertoire.

If you do these exercises already or you're looking for the skills (for yourself or your clients) to work toward these bad boys in the future, this workshop is for you.

Using our Pilates Project POV, you'll find skills in the fundamental Reformer exercises to combine and transform into your very “favorite” complex exercises. In a total of 8 workshop hours you'll look deep within the traditional Pilates exercises.

  • Where do we begin to build our Snake/Twist skill set?
  • How and where do we find the components for a successful Star on the Reformer?
  • How can I start to learn the High Bridge?
  • Do I push the Reformer out with my head?
  • What exactly is closing the carriage??

The answers to these questions lie in the exercises you learn in your very first Pilates lessons.

The Complex Reformer Project will meet 4 Thursdays in February: February 4, 11, 18, and 25.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Reformer, classical apparatus preferred
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love Complex Reformer Exercises!

 

March: Transitions on the Reformer

Hot off the heels of wrangling your complex Reformer exercises, you'll tackle all those elusive moments-in-between.

Proficiency in the traditional Pilates System creates one continuous chain of movement. This is your ultimate goal on the Reformer and on the Mat.

Often the transition from one exercise to the next is more challenging than the two exercises you're connecting. It's true.

Transitions. The moments in-between. This is where the stuff of life happens!

Picking up a bag of groceries. Reaching behind you. Getting in and out of the car.

Transitions are a part of everyday life. And that's when you really need your Pilates workout.

For the unexpected.

In a total of 8 workshop hours, you'll examine getting in and out of all your standard Reformer exercises. You'll set yourself up for success!

Transitions on the Reformer will meet 4 Thursdays in March: March 4, 11, 18, and 25.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Reformer, classical apparatus preferred
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love Transitions on the Reformer!

 

Thanks for your consideration. And for your willingness to jump into Pilates Playtime.

Until we meet again I hope you'll work out with me on the Reformer:

 

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

For Isabel

photo courtesy of Jack Coble and Pilatesology

Hello and welcome to this week's Pilates Project!

I'm in love with all-things-hanging-upside-down on the Cadillac.

So I can't believe I haven't already featured this exercise, the Hanging Pull Ups, in a previous post. Nor have I mentioned the iconic finishing sequence in which it appears – the Traditional Ending.

The Traditional Ending on the Cadillac

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Working steadily on your Cadillac exercises, over time you will learn a challenging little series of exercises as a finish for your workout.

The Traditional Ending is comprised of 5 exercises:

  • Breathing
  • Spread Eagle (above in photo)
  • Pull Ups
  • Hanging Pull Ups
  • Half Hang/Full Hang

You also have the option for an embellishment in the midst of your Hanging Pull Ups, the Twist Pull Ups. Of course! More on this thrilling variation in the video at the end of this post.

The Traditional Ending is a wonderful opportunity to play, cavort and challenge ourselves within the spacious canopy of the apparatus.

While we're having fun we'll also perfect a fundamental skill in the Pilates system: the connection of the arms and upper body into the larger muscles of the back.

Connecting the Upper Body into the Back

If you're ready to tackle the Hanging Pull Ups and the Traditional Ending you're no stranger to using your back muscles to support and power the movement of the upper body.

By now you've used this skill successfully in exercises like the Hundred, Arm Springs Lying Down and Chest Expansion on the Cadillac and Arm Circles and the Rowing series done on the Arm Chair to name just a few.

The major difference between the above exercises I mention and the Hanging Pull Ups is now you must support your entire body hanging in space.

Which means (1) this is not merely an arm exercise, and (2) oh gosh, we must use our lower body too.

Hello full body exercise!

What's to be done?

Step 1: The Order of the Universe

Work on all your other exercises… of course.

Step 2: I ‚ô• Pilates Projects

Let's look at some helper exercises for our Hanging Pull Ups. Later we'll examine the entire Traditional Ending series for more challenge assistance.

I've chosen 5 exercises which speak to me. Give them a try and see what you think.

If you find additional exercises which serve you – great! Please share your successes here in a comment and let me know what exercises work their magic.

1. Arm Springs Lying Down

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

This exercise is the very first ‘arm springs' exercise we learn.

Our entire body is supported and we can feel our back muscles on the mat behind us. The spring is sufficient to coax our entire body into doing the exercise.

This is not your ordinary arm exercise.

Using the position shown in the photo above, press the feet into the mat to enliven the lower body. It's usually the part of the body that is just lying there which must do all the heavy work.

Consider the Arm Springs Lying Down from a different POV:

When we push on a spring in Pilates we must lift our center in the opposite direction. Consider this exercise to be more of a back exercise than an arm/shoulder exercise.

If you were standing up, the Arm Springs Lying Down would become Chest Expansion.

2. Teaser (part 1) on the Cadillac

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

The very first moments of this exercise are chock full of connective goodness!

Again you have the feedback of the mat behind you. Plus you now have the unwieldy Push Thru bar which must be controlled.

A-ha! The plot thickens…

Learning to move and control the Push Thru bar here will reward you majorly in all your other exercises.

  • Use the heel of the hand to connect and resist the bar as it comes toward you.
  • Control the bar as it begins to change direction.
  • When the arms reach upward connect to the back muscles to move the bar with the center instead of the shoulders.
  • Repeat up to 3x. And then of course, Teaser!

Now you're ready to connect your upper body into the back without being on the mat.

Brilliant!

3. The Rowing Series on the Arm Chair

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Here on the Arm Chair you'll have the exact same feedback from the apparatus, this time sitting up instead of lying down. See how you do.

If you've not experienced the four Rowing exercises here you're in for a real treat.

Rowing exercises on the Arm Chair:

  • Rowing 3 – From the Chest
  • Rowing 4 – From the Hip (above in photo)
  • Rowing 5 – Shave
  • Rowing 6 – Hug

The Arm Chair provides valuable information to take with you for your Reformer Rowing series. You'll find the connection and feedback from the chair to reinforce your tall back position wherever you are tall and away from the support of the apparatus.

4. Rolling Back (with eyes on the prize…)

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Occasionally there's an exercise with mass appeal.

I find Rolling Back on the Cadillac to be just such an exercise. No matter what the quality of the students' rolling up skills, everyone benefits from and enjoys this exercise.

It's often a nice segue from outside the studio into the workout.

Here we can begin to work on the lower body component of our Hanging Pull Ups.

  • Reach your lower body and heels against the upright poles of the Cadillac. Use your willpower. Really make it happen.
  • With all of your body supported by the apparatus, hone your focus to find your back, stomach and seat.

Think of this support as a help to our next lower body exercise, the Short Box Series.

5. The Short Box Series

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Practicing this meat-and-potatoes exercise can have a focus which will support our Pilates Project.

Forget about all the beautiful choreography happening in the upper body.

Just for a moment.

  • Commit to finding the lower body in this series to root the body and power your amazing Short Box skills.
  • Work the strap reaching the heels underneath and keeping it oppressively tight around the ankles.

You no longer have the luxury of pressing your heels into the apparatus.

Remember our other helper exercise, Rolling Back. Imagine the support and information you received and focus today on the lower body work in our Short Box Series.

See what happens. You might even surprise yourself.

The Traditional Ending on the Cadillac

Pilates Projects: Hanging Pull Ups on the Cadillac

Let's take a look here at one of my favorite components of the Pilates Method: the Order of the Universe.

Even our order of exercises is a help for our Hanging Pull Ups!

Our first exercise is Breathing, also an effective helper exercise and a great start to support all of our body weight in space.

  • Keep everything in a strong line.
  • Reaching the lower body long toward your big toes.
  • Find your skills from your Arm Springs Lying Down: move the bar toward you and connect into the back.
  • Work this exercise well and enjoy this invigorating finishing sequence!

Thanks for watching!

What are your favorite exercises to work on the Hanging Pull Ups? 

Share your success in a comment below.

And here's where to find me in 2018.

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

In last week's post I threw down the gauntlet.

I've given myself a 30-day posture intervention on the Small Barrel.

Today makes 7 days in.

23 more to go…

What I've been doing…

Today's video workout features my 30-day Small Barrel workout. I do my exercises at least 2x each day. I like to do 1 time in the early morning before I start my day and another time later in the evening after work.

I've done my exercises as late as directly before bed.

That's nice too.

What I've noticed so far…

  • I now feel back muscles that run up and down the center of my back. It feels like I've convinced them to work to hold me up better.
  • My back feels fantastic.
  • I've become hyper-aware of how I hold myself in daily activities: when I look into the mirror to apply makeup I have particularly bad head-forward-crunchy-neck-posture…how NOT beautiful.
  • I curl my body up when I sleep. These exercises done first thing in the morning feel amazingly invigorating: such wonderful wake-up exercises!
  • In this video my shoulders are more¬†flexible overhead than I have ever seen in photos of myself. Interested to see how this develops over the next 23 days.

Observations from others…

Body awareness during everyday tasks has been a big eye opener for other Small Barrel Project participants.

How we use our bodies during our daily lives is a big part of our day, right?

And generally we do these slumpy things to ourselves. How nice to have our round apparatus to help us stay upright. Thanks Joe!

Exercises in this video…

Circles (with 1lb. weights)

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Up/Down

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Hug

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Breathing (with bar)

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Change position on Barrel

Circles

The Small Barrel Project: One Week in!

Scissors

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Bicycle

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Hip Twist

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Helicopter

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Rolling/Rest

The Small Barrel Project: One week in!The Small Barrel Project: One week in!

Enjoy this short workout. 

Join me for 30 days and let's see what happens¬†ūüôā

Wanna experience the blog live and in person? 

Here's where to find me in 2017

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

For Jacqueline

Hello and welcome to a short video tutorial on my former nemesis exercise: Snake/Twist.

Snake/Twist is truly a Pilates love story complete with drama, false steps, misunderstandings and hot makeup sex.

Three years ago I visited the Snake/Twist as a Pilates Project in one of my most popular posts. Clearly there are many of us who struggle with this bear of an exercise.

So if there's an exercise you just can't stomach right now, persevere!

What's going on here anyhow?

The Snake/Twist is a complex exercise. Joe Pilates threw a little bit of everything into this challenging exercise:

  • It's one-sided.
  • Your orientation on the Reformer is not straightforward. You'll need to find a diagonal line as you approach the carriage.
  • The¬†basic iteration will move through 3 body shapes: Round, Arched and Twist. Later we'll add the one arm version and include a Side Bend as well. OMG, something for everyone.
  • Oh and it's a breathing exercise…

When Joe Pilates was making all the other exercises, he had a few things left over and thought, “Why not?”

In 10 Smart Tools to Master the Snake¬†I mention the order of the Reformer exercises and how I use Corkscrew, the subsequent exercise, as a “Snake recovery system.”

I now realize in my execution of the Snake/Twist I couldn't really keep myself together. Body parts were falling out all over the place. Enter the Corkscrew to fix me all up again.

And that's fine.

I wasn't hurting myself. I just needed to put in my 10,000 hours of Snake/Twist.

Now 3+ years later I am learning how to keep myself together. And what do you know? I need the Snake/Twist so desperately.

Reunited at last!

I'm a bit twisted myself. No worries. Every Twist exercise I despise is just looking out for my best interests. Thanks, Joe.

What Smart Tools Do I Use Today?

Ultimately the best preparation for the Snake/Twist lies in all of your other exercises. Find what speaks to you that you do well and with confidence and you can't go wrong.

Remember your mantra:

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

My favorite Snake/Twist helper exercises:

Up Stretch Combo

The Universal Reformer

This one is a must. Perhaps the most similar to the Snake yet done in a straightforward manner.

Woo hoo!

Make sure to include this one in your workout if you're planning to add the Snake/Twist.

Elephant

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

If you want to return the carriage you'll need our trusty old friend to help. If you're adding the One-Leg Elephant as well, even better.

Swan

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

I find the Swan helpful as I move into the arched position of Snake. It's easy to forget about connecting your feet into the center as you move away from them, opening the carriage.

Sigh…

Swan helps me find length instead of dumping into the low back.

Scissors on the Small Barrel

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

This just in folks: you can open your body from the center instead of riding out too far with the carriage. What?? More on this skill in the video below.

Connection Prep

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

Take support from the apparatus to connect all the limbs into your center. Use all 4 springs to hold the carriage in. Now you'll have time to perfect the crucial starting and ending position.

This is great prep. It's safe and effective and could really supplement the exercise for a while.

Step 1

The Universal Reformer: Snake/Twist 2.0

Getting up into the starting position without moving the carriage is an exercise itself. Part Pull Up on the Wunda Chair and part Elephant, you'll need this skill before you begin the full exercise.

More Snake/Twist, please!

If you're a Pilatesology member, view my Pilates Project on the Snake/Twist here.

If you'd like to become a Pilatesology member I hope you'll use my affiliate link to join. Just click on the Pilatesology banner in the sidebar on the right. Full transparency: please know I do receive a small commission if you sign up via my link.

Check out a free preview of the post via YouTube.

Enjoy this short video tutorial.

Thanks for watching! 

Wanna experience the blog live and in person?

Join me this fall!

Upcoming Fall Workshops

Sunday November 27, 2016 Studio B Pilates+Barre, Tyler TX

You‚Äôll love this¬†jam-packed day of Pilates Continuing Education: I‚Äôll be offering private lessons, a Mat class plus 2 workshops: A Cadillac Refresher ‚Äď the Unsung Heroes(3 PMA CECs) and Strategies and Exercises on the Wunda Chair (3 PMA CECs).¬†Register today

Thursday-Saturday December 1-3, 2016 Excel Pilates, Washington, DC

Join me for my post popular posts Live! and in person: On the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises (4 PMA CECs) and On the Order of the Pilates Mat Exercises (2 PMA CECs). I’ll be teaching my favorite Cadillac workshop: The Unsung Heroes and Progressions to Standing Arm Springs (3 PMA CECs) as well as a Mat class, private and semi-private lessons. Register today

Saturday December 17, 2016 LauraBPilates Studio, Raleigh, NC

In Raleigh we’ll have a full day of Pilates Continuing Education: private lessons and my favorite Cadillac workshop: The Unsung Heroes and progressions to Standing Arm Springs (3 PMA CECs). Register today

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

This Pilates Project has been a loooong time coming.

I believe the Star has been on my list since I began writing this blog over 3 years ago. And I've been working on the exercise itself for over a decade.

It's one of THOSE exercises. These things take time.

So, here we are.

I'm excited to unearth this project for a couple of reasons:

  • (1) it's a super challenging, one-sided exercise I'm just beginning to wrangle properly, and
  • (2) a colleague of mine, Kati Pylkk√§nen of Core Sport Pilates Studio,¬†has made the Star on the Reformer one of her workout goals for the new year.

Thanks for enlisting my help, Kati. I shall do my best!

Before digging into our helper exercises, here's a few guidelines I use:

A Star is Born

To be a Star you must radiate outward in all directions.

No prob.

To extend your reach out from the center in all directions, let's think of a more fundamental exercise: the Twist in Stomach Massage Series:

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

All parts of the body are reaching in their respective directions.

Now, you must commit to this idea tenfold when working on the Star. Otherwise, since you are no longer seated, you will sink and fall down.

Awww…frownie face…

To be a Star you must become a master of each side of the body doing its respective workload.

Imbalances may make the Star quite a battle. Persevere, it's good for you!

Your standing leg must work fiercely despite that distracting leg waving around in the air. You must find the support the carriage can provide you and use it to your best advantage.

You must have boatloads of lift!

Remember it is your lift that brings the carriage home.

Especially for the leg-circling-flourish final moment of this exercise (just my fancy name) you must use your lift to keep the carriage closed and to get the most out of your reaching legs.

Relax, Joe Pilates has us well prepared.

Now that we've laid the groundwork, enjoy these helpful exercises.

Become proficient in all of these and your Star is on the rise!

1.  Long Stretch

Pilates Projects: The Star on the ReformerWell before learning the Star you've done the Long Stretch on the Reformer. The 2-sided version of the Star if you will.

Remember the Long Stretch and the Star are both Lower Body Exercises. They are not about your arms and shoulders. Stand on your feet firmly here and use your stomach, seat and reach to move the carriage.

2.  The Order of the Universe

Within the order of the Reformer exercises you already have a few exercises to strengthen and stretch the sides of the body and prepare you for the Star:

  • Side Bend on the Short Box which is our first taste of getting the sides to move and work.

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

  • Snake/Twist, a challenging mix of strength + stretch of the sides of the body and here you start to get used to just being on hands and a foot…

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

  • Mermaid is a key exercise to add when working on the Star. It gets everything up and moving in the sides – and perhaps more luxurious than the Star? Enjoy it while you can.

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

3+4.  Two Favorites

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

For me success in the Star is all about the Side Kicks Series on the Mat. And it's super fun cousin the Side Kicks Kneeling.

Pilates Projects: The Star on the Reformer

These 2 one-sided exercises present similar scenarios as the Star:

  • each side of the body working independently with one “standing” leg and one working leg
  • the skill of connecting the legs into the center to make this a full body exercise not a leg exercise
  • the movement patterns of front/back, up/down and circles

The challenge of the Side Kick Series is to keep the trunk working. Lying on your side, the back shape is long and lifted, just as though you were sitting upright.

I know, it's easy to fall in to the “loungey” trap in this side-lying position.

“No sexy on the beach!” Romana demanded¬†as we lolled about on our sides.

You can cultivate the lift in the trunk by using your opposition (2-way stretch) away from your long reaching leg.

See, that leg's good for something after all.

You can use other upright exercises, Pumping on the High Chair is a good one with amazing feedback, to find the tall lifted back position with the seat working to elongate the low back.

Same shape, different exercise. I'm sure you've got some favorites of your own as well.

Whatever exercise speaks to you will serve you well. I just mention a few of my favorites.

Which brings me to that old chestnut, the Side Kicks Kneeling.

Joe's upped the ante now. See if all the connections you found in the Side Sicks can work now in your one-sided kneeling position.

Sheesh.

Now we are less connected to the Mat.

Side Kicks Kneeling gives us more of what we'll find in the Star: up on one hand now kneeling, which is closer to our standing side-plank position.

Side Kicks Kneeling challenges our lift. It's easy to get stuck in the hip of the standing (kneeling) leg. Increase your lift in this exercise and it will prepare you for the required lift to close the carriage on the Reformer for Star.

Enjoy some Star inspo at :42.

Shine brightly, my friends! 

Share your successes in a comment below.

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