Foot Department of Corrections: 28-Day Challenge!

Heels on the Foot Corrector

Jay Grimes is a treasure.

He’s given me numerous corrections over the years, which I often “understand” at the moment only to realize years later their full ramifications system-and-body-wide.

Like the ones about my feet.

I do use the Foot Corrector and the 2×4 regularly.

But not every-damn-day regularly.

And I always manage to slack off right about the time I show up in front of Jay.

“Have you been doing your foot exercises?” he says before hello.

Translation: “I see you’ve NOT been doing your foot exercises.”

Yup. Every time.

In my defense, I know they’re good for me. And I “know” what they do for the rest of my body.

Well, I thought I did.

Like everything in Pilates, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Until you do.

#footprobs

See, I don’t really have any arches. Well, I kinda have one, but it’s not much to write home about.

And that Foot Corrector is perfectly named. Use it regularly and you’ll suddenly stop mid-stride, shocked to feel an arch! Right there in your foot where there never was one! It's brilliant.

Oh yeah, it’s that good.

Turns out arches are supportive (insert shrug emoji).

While you're at it, next time you find yourself on the balls of your feet, check to see if you are actually on the balls of each of your toes (especially the tiny ones!) or just on that in-between nowheresville which is neither toe nor ball.

Also turns out you need balls to have arches.

No doubt.

Upon finally discovering my arches, imagine my surprise to feel a whole bunch of other shit I don’t have control of light up like a fucking Christmas tree.

Arches are powerful stuff, man.

Foot Fetish February

In the spirit of harnessing the power of what a pair of arches can do for your Pilates workout, I’m dedicating the month of February (and beyond hopefully) to a daily foot fetish ritual workout.

I hope you’ll join me.

It takes mere minutes to do the Foot Corrector basics and a couple of extra goodies on the 2×4.

If you don’t have a proper corrector you can substitute an appropriately sized firm ball like a tennis ball.

2×4 exercises can also be done on the floor.

No excuses.

The Plan

Foot corrector:

Ball

There are many standing positions for these exercises at the Foot Corrector. I prefer a lunge stance for this first one so I can stand evenly on both sides. I have tight calves so if I stand with my feet side by side as I do in most of these exercises I kinda fall over…

You’ve got a few options with regard to the standing position and what to do with your arms LOL

Ball on the Foot Corrector

Heel

I find this exercise to be super satisfying. The pedal spring is considerable and I love how it fosters so much lift in the whole body.

Heel on the Foot Corrector

The Massage

Enjoy! Keep trying to lift up and away from the pedal as you hold it steady during this serious massage of the whole foot. Hard to do, but well worth the effort. I add socks or a towel for The Massage for more slideability (I'm sure that's a word…).

The Massage on the Foot CorrectorThe Massage on the Foot CorrectorThe Massage on the Foot Corrector

Arches 🙂

Lift your arch up away from the pedal and see what else in your body comes alive.

Arches on the Foot Corrector

On Top

I find it super challenging to isolate the ball of the foot on top of the Corrector. When I do find it, the pedal often bangs around noisily. Coincidence?

On Top on the Foot Corrector

2×4

Tendon stretch

Keep your lift on the inside even as you descend in space. Try not to get shorter!

Tendon Stretch on the Pilates 2x4

(And for you overachievers, don't forget to do the One Foot Tendon Stretch)

Combo

I should do this one hands-free.  You can see my poor arm trying to do the whole exercise… well I've got a month to work on that.

See this one in action in this video.

Foot Exercises on the Pilates 2x4

If you’re one-foot-challenged like I am use a pole to help you balance so you don't fall to your death.

Throw in a few Toe Corrector exercises if you’re on a roll.

Further Foot Fine Points from YT and the Blog:

Read: 

Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

Fix Your Feet, Fix Your Powerhouse: The Pilates 2×4 Exercises

Watch:

A Short Tutorial on the Pilates Foot Corrector.

Treat your Feet: A Pilates Toe Corrector and 2×4 Workout

Last Chance, Fancy Pants!

The Complex Reformer Project is set to begin in mere days.

If you've enjoyed working your Pilates Project POV in my most recent workshops, the Complex Reformer Project will land us smack dab in the middle of the Baby, You're a Star! kind of exploration.

How do your years of toiling in fundamental exercises on the Reformer all culminate in Joe Pilates' show-off exercises: Snake/Twist, Horseback, Control Balance Stepping Off, and (of course) the Star?

Reserve your spot today. The fun begins on February 4.

Added bonus: Jump on board for this Foot Corrector challenge and I bet you'll find out how much a supple and lifted pair of arches will help all your Reformer exercises.

I ❤️ Jay Grimes. That guy is always right.

Protected: Welcome to the Cadillac Project 2021!

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The Pilates System: The Cadillac Environment

Shoulder Roll Down on the Cadillac

Hello all you Pilates cats and kittens!

Welcome to one of my very favorite weeks of the year, that mellow, holiday-between-holidays, last. week. of the year.

2021, I've got my eyes (and hopes) on you.

Post-feasting is when I need my Pilates exercises the most. They are just the best twisty-turny things to work out the gut. Even foods that can mightily tax your digestive system are no match for a Reformer workout.

Meanwhile, Back at the Cadillac…

Continuing from last week's post I've been taking a good hard look at Joe Pilates' Cadillac apparatus.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Joe Pilates giveth and Joe Pilates taketh away.

One Solid Bar vs 2 Wambly Springs

On the Cadillac apparatus, we've got lots of Joe's goodies to work with: there are individual springs, a wooden pole attached with 2 short springs, a solid wooden push-thru bar, the firm surface of the mat, a hanging trapeze with stout springs, 2 fuzzy loops, and the steel poles of the canopy.

Some places to work are very solid and supportive:

  • a solid wooden push-thru bar
  • the firm surface of the mat
  • the steel poles of the canopy

Other places to work may literally leave you hanging in the breeze:

  • individual springs
  • a hanging trapeze with stout springs
  • 2 fuzzy loops

Lots of choices to be made.

Scroll up for another look at the image of the Shoulder Roll Down.

Now take a look at another exercise where you are in the same position in an entirely different scenario:

Leg Springs in the Air on the Cadillac

Here in the Leg Springs in the Air, there's not as much to stand on, right?

You'll find all kinds of Joe Pilates' tricks like this throughout the Cadillac repertoire. Probably not a coincidence…

The Spring Remains the Same…or does it?

The Cadillac apparatus is equipped with 4 different sets of interchangeable springs.

Sure they have specific names: arm springs, leg springs, roll back bar springs and push thru springs.

But depending on who you are, what you are looking for, and your proficiency, you may decide on a specific spring to assist you on your Pilates Path.

For example, on my Gratz Cadillac I find more success using the lighter arm springs for the Leg Spring Series.

Joe's original name for his method was Contrology, or the study of control.

That's really what we're after, right?

Control.

Whichever spring elicits the help you need to be in control is the one you want.

And then there's also the option of no spring at all.

More on that in January…

Only 3 spots remaining in The Cadillac Project.

Got questions? Leave a comment below and I'm happy to help.

Reserve your spot today.

The Cadillac of Apparatus

Swan on the Cadillac

Welcome new subscribers!

Thanks for joining me on the wonderful journey that is the Pilates Method of Exercise.

The reinvigorating of my personal Pilates workout – fewer distractions and more time for daily workouts – has been a true silver lining of this year at home.

And my new plant friends.

The green healing color, as well as learning about their care and feeding, has helped me to stay calm and roll on…while I Roll Up and Roll Over.

Our current stay-at-home orders in California also give me plenty of time to commune with my Cadillac.

And it's just a couple of weeks before the start of my January workshop: The Cadillac Project!!

There are just a couple of spots left (Don't worry you can still snag your spot here).

And if you thought The Wunda Chair Project was fun…

Oh, the places we'll go!

I've been sprucing up my outline and reviewing the myriad of exercises Joe created for one of his most impressive apparatus, the Cadillac.

What a sh** ton of exercises!!

Also lots of moments when I think hmmm… that is interesting. It's made me look at the apparatus itself with new eyes.

Over the next 2-ish weeks I'll be sharing a few tidbits to tide you over until January.

Exercise Relationships

By now you've surely heard someone (or me) say “Pilates is a system” or even “Trust the Work.”

And your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to apply the Pilates System – the body of work that is the Pilates Method – to yourself and/or the body in front of you.

No prob.

It's so easy to say, right?

For this reason, it's helpful to notice and seek out the relationships between exercises.

We've only got one exercise and countless variations. Often you find yourself in a familiar place or position only to “suddenly” discover that you've been here before…

Pilates Confession #296

Shoulder Roll Down on the Cadillac

For the last few years, I've been working diligently to rid myself of a bad movement habit.

My habit really shows up in a particular group of exercises that requires the same skill despite having a different level of support, a different relationship to gravity, and/or a different apparatus.

Here's my exercise relationship du jour:

  • Reformer: Long Back Stretch, Short Spine Massage, Semi Circle, High Frog
  • Mat: High Scissors and High Bicycle
  • Cadillac: Airplane, Leg Springs in the Air, Tower, Shoulder Roll Down (Sari)

And I'll probably find a whole lot more of them.

Lifting up the entire back of the body with integrity is one label we could use for this skill.

I also think sometimes it's hard as humans to imagine that the lower body begins somewhere higher up than our hips and legs…

What other similarities do you see in my list?

Pop a comment down below and add to my list, I'd love to know.

Up on the YouTube!

Thank you so much for your kind words and great feedback on my YouTube channel.

I've just surpassed 6K subscribers and I can't thank you enough for watching!

More videos will be coming your way soon. Please let me know if you've got Pilates topics or Pilates exercise requests. I love them!

Recently, I thank you for bringing to my attention all the mid-roll ads you ran into while trying to work out with my videos. I've since taken care of the problem. You should no longer be pelted with ads in the middle of my videos – you will still see advertisements at the beginning and the end of the videos.

Thanks for your patience – and thanks for subscribing 🙂

Recent videos you may have missed:

  • If you're a twisted sister too, check out my “Scissors workouts” here, and here for a ton of 1-sided fun.
  • And here's a fun Wunda Workout where I try to never get off the Wunda Chair until the end!
  • Also check out this Cadillac workout for a preview of my January Workshop: The Cadillac Project.

Join me in January for The Cadillac Project.

Reserve your spot today.

Happy Holidays!

The Cadillac: Simply the Best

The CadillacOne of my favorite elements of the Pilates System is that nothing is arbitrary.

“There IS a reason,” says Joe Pilates, for all of our protocols and exercises and apparatuses.

Each apparatus in the studio has a special purpose or it wouldn't be there, right?

All the apparatuses exist to assist and support your efforts. And of course, they mingle their help with challenge, like everything else in this brilliant method.

Joe Pilates' First Invention

What niche does the Cadillac fill in the Pilates studio?

Like so many things in the Pilates Method – the Teaser, the Hundred – the Cadillac has a reputation.

She's the favorite “feel-good” and “stretchy” workout your clients demand. Who cares about the oppressive Reformer, that unforgiving Mat or those impossible Chairs?

And it’s always the Cadillac who welcomes you when you “just want to wake the f*** up…”

The Best of its Kind

It's rumored that Joe Pilates called his invention the Cadillac after a mid-20th-century advertisement proclaiming General Motors' Cadillac automobile to be the best of its kind.

A couple of years ago I investigated this story.

And does anyone complain about having to use the Cadillac? I've only heard glowing reviews from clients – the Cadillac is decidedly more popular than the Reformer… or the Mat… or anything else in the studio really…

Cadillac as Laboratory

The repertoire of Cadillac exercises is vast.

And there's something for everyone.

On the Cadillac, you'll find…

  • …an easy place to lie down if you can't get down on the floor.
  • …a mat that offers full-body support and is a template for your tall standing position (lying down).
  • …a place to get assistance to learn how to roll your body up and down on the Mat.
  • …a boatload of exercises which can be straightforward places to learn not-so-straightforward exercises on the Reformer and Mat.
  • …a place to advance your standing exercises with assistance from a spring.
  • …a nice place to hold on while you balance on one leg.
  • …a great place to invert the lower body for beginners.
  • …a fun place to invert the entire body for advanced practitioners.

Oh gosh there's so much to do here! So many possibilities within the canopy of the Cadillac

Pilates Confession Time

I've never liked the Leg Spring Series on the Cadillac.

Nope. Not one bit.

It's not that I don't do them… I've been doing them for years. They're not great, but little by little they get better.

Curiously, I love love LOVE the Frog and Circles on the Reformer.

What makes the same exercises done on different apparatus so…different?

And by ‘different' I mean vexing.

See what you think:

 

The Cadillac version

Frog in Leg Springs on Cadillac

 

The Reformer version

Frog on the Reformer

Looks kinda the same, right?

But looks can be deceiving.

What's the same?

  • The position of most of the body is the same. In both exercises, you have each foot in its own strap.
  • The choreography is the same.
  • The support you receive from the apparatus is similar.

What's different?

  • The Cadillac is not a moving platform.
  • On the Cadillac, each foot is directly attached to the spring. The Reformer connects you to the spring system which resides underneath the carriage. On the Cadillac, this direct attachment to the spring makes control more difficult.
  • The position of the upper body and the arms is different. On the Cadillac, the arm position is advantageous to help lift and engage the entire trunk of the body. It's also the most solid support you get in the exercise here.
  • And look at the position of my ribcage. Never underestimate the power of the headpiece on the Reformer.

Think about the Footwork series we do (everywhere) on the Reformer.

It's very reminiscent of the Frog, yes?

That footbar is so solid and supportive. Yet fleeting.

Joseph Pilates giveth and Joseph Pilates taketh away…

Over time, you'll ween yourself from Footwork done with the stout footbar to the less supportive long black straps for the Frog to the foot-directly-connected-to-spring instability on the Cadillac for the Leg Spring Series.

“These things take time,” Jay Grimes tells me.

Where are we going?

Think of the Cadillac as a stepping stone from the compressive support of the Reformer and Wunda Chair on your way to going it alone on the Mat.

Some support you'll receive from the Cadillac will be considerable: All that stuff with the Push Through Bar. It's probably not an accident the push-thru springs are the heaviest springs in the studio.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Cadillac: the Roll Down Bar…I smell unstable support here!

The Cadillac Project

You know how much I love a good Pilates Project. In September my workshop focused on the Wunda Chair.

Join me in January 2021 for a deep dive into the vast repertoire of the Cadillac. On the Cadillac, there are so many ways to enhance and challenge our Pilates workout all around the studio.

Go full-on remedial to reinforce fundamentals, or channel your inner circus performer with gravity-defying exercises hanging from the canopy.

I love to work the system via the lens of a good ol' Pilates Project.

Currently, I've got 2 projects in the works for my body – I'll bet you can guess LOL

My Cadillac Project #1: Building Symmetry

  • Leg Springs Series
  • Leg Springs Series – One Leg
  • Airplane (with the Airplane board)
  • Roll Back with One Arm
  • Tower
  • Tower – One Leg
  • Monkey
  • Monkey – One Leg
  • Shoulder Roll Down (the Sari)
  • Push Thru
  • Push Thru One Arm
  • Standing Stretches in the fuzzies
  • Standing Boxing
  • Standing Lunges
  • Squats
  • One Leg Squats

Wheee!

This one's a wild ride that takes me from lying down to the one leg squats.

All is possible on the magnificent Cadillac!

My Cadillac Project #2: Creating the Round Back Shape

What makes a round shape? It can be a struggle for me. Notice some exercises even make both of my projects!

  • Leg Springs – One Leg
  • Airplane
  • Roll Back
  • Tower
  • Push Through
  • Reverse Push Through
  • Seated Tower
  • Half Hang

What kind of Pilates Project will you create on the Cadillac?

In a total of 8 workshop hours, you'll explore the fundamental forces of 2-way stretch as you experieince as many of our meat-and-potatoes Cadillac exercises as time will allow.

You'll build a Pilates Project of your own along the way.

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

Class time is 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Cadillac or Tower Unit
  2. Pilates experience

Just a few spots remaining.

Use this link to join in the fun:

Yes! I love the Cadillac!

Get a glimpse of The Cadillac Project in this week's video.

Thanks for watching!

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