Be Your Best Client: How To Do Your Own Workout

Roll Like a Ball

Hello!

Thanks so much for joining me today as you continue your journey on the Pilates Path.

If you're a new subscriber, welcome 🙂

Today I'm gonna treat myself just like my very favorite client(s). I love to be mercenary with my exercises.

It's the best way to squeeze all the juice out of the Pilates Method.

My Life at Vintage Pilates, Los Angeles

UPDATE: Pilates Home Practice Project: Fran, 60

Every Monday, all those years ago, I worked alongside my amazing colleagues at Vintage Pilates.

It was at Vintage that I took my very first self-guided group workout. All participants were doing their own workouts under the watchful eyes of their favorite instructor.

Working independently puts the emphasis on moving.

That's the magic.

Moving briskly requires control and as you well know, control quite literally IS the name of the game. You're putting in your time repeating your exercises, stimulating your body and mind as you move through your workout.

You'll enjoy a correction or two, a push or pull, or a hearty word of encouragement from your teacher.

It's really the moving that jazzes us up, right?

As you experience your Pilates exercises, your body takes over, your breathing deepens as the demand of the exercises increases. I love that moment in class when banter falls away only to be replaced by the sound of springs, apparatus, and deep, full breathing.

That's the moment when you're IN IT.

“This is for you.”

The Silver Lining of Injury: Frog+Leg Circles Edition

In your self-guided group workout, you'll spend the bulk of your time moving and getting warm.

Maybe you'll visit some of your most challenging exercises since you have the luxury of supervision.

Or maybe you'll stay with your meat and potatoes exercises (the land of intermediate in Pilates speak) as you refine old habits and encourage new ones.

The latter part of the class is really the best part. Now that you're warm and invested, you'll choose a few exercises that showcase a key ingredient you need in all your exercises.

“This is for you” takes one thing and exploits it into about 10 minutes of exercises that probably aren't your favorites, but that your body will thank you for later.

Cap it all off with your favorite ending sequence and you'll be sailing out of the studio on a cloud of your own making. You've moved and sweated for an hour or so and, D-A-M-N, where did all this energy come from?

And that post-Pilates glow? It's the best high 🙂

How will I know what to do?

Pilates Projects: 5 Exercises to Perfect your Open Leg Rocker

If you're a Pilates teacher, you're already making all these wonderful choices for your clients.

Treat yourself like your very favorite client:

  • You want them to get a great workout.
  • They'll do exercises they love, as well as ones they need to do that maybe they don't like so much.
  • Sometimes they need tough love too.

You'll treat yourself the same way:

  • You'll move through your workout and notice how your body feels in the exercises today.
  • You'll add some exercises to help with your specific body needs
  • You'll find an invigorating and fun way to end your workout.

You have the power!

If you're a Pilates enthusiast, learning to plan your own workout makes the most of your investment. You've spent time, sweat, and money on Pilates classes and now you're ready to up your game.

The more you apply yourself to your exercises and your learning, the more the Pilates exercises will benefit you and teach you even more about your body, the apparatus, and your exercises.

Not able to make it to class? No worries at all.

You have all the power, the practice, and the knowledge to do your own workout whenever you want.

Congratulations! You put the ‘control' in Contrology.

My Plan for Today's Workout

Today, as I plan my workout, I'll take you along.

You'll be privy to my thought process, the exercises I do, the ones I really need and the fun ending that pleases me. Join me for one day in the life of a long-term Pilates practitioner, imbalances and all.

1.Consider your apparatus.

Neck Pull on the Mat

One of the first considerations is which apparatus will start off my workout.

Today is Monday. On Saturday I did a full hour-long Reformer workout. As much as I would love to do it all again, there are so many apparatus to visit.

Later today I'll be filming the Side Bend on the Mat for my website. And since I'm not the poster child for any side bending exercises, I'm gonna need all my Mat exercises to get ready.

My first apparatus will be the Mat.

All the exercises in Return to Life should take me about 25-30 minutes to complete.

2. Where do I go from there?

Exercise Expose: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

Hmmm…the Barrels are a natural progression from the Mat exercises, so I'll add the Spine Corrector exercises next.

The last few days I haven't visited my Foot Corrector and 2×4, so I will put them in there too.

3. This is for YOU?

Teaser on the Cadillac

In editing this post, I forgot this section entirely and was super focused on the fun ending I want to do.

Frownie Face…

Lately I'm working to hold my center together as you roll up and down on the apparatus.

I know, that's like all the exercises…

There are a few exercises on the Cadillac I don't look forward to but I need.

There's another one on the Wunda Chair I find to be helpful.

Okay 3 exercises for me.

4. Finally a Finish!

The Pilates System: A Day in the Life

For my ending, I'm torn between a little Pilates Project I've been working on the Cadillac, and the Ped-o-Pul.

But I did briefly use the Ped-o-Pul yesterday. Ok, Pilates Project it is.

Often I pick the first apparatus and begin my workout. The subsequent apparatus, exercises, ending, etc… happen organically. But sometimes I plan like today.

One of the best things to happen in a group class is that your plan goes out the window.

Oh, dear… Someone else has claimed the apparatus you want.

*Gasp!*

Now you have to use an apparatus you didn't choose…

When that happens, it's choosing YOU!

Andrea's Monday Workout

March MATness Day 13: The One Leg Kick

Foot Corrector/2×4:

Ball, Heel, Massage, Arch, Tendon Stretch, Tendon Stretch One Leg, Combo

Mat (full list here)

Spine Corrector:

Arm Circles, Up/Down, Hug, Breathing

Leg Circles, Walks, Beats, Scissors, Bicycle, Shoulder Bridge, Helicopter, Leg Circles onto the Head

High Bridge, Swan Dive

This is for you:

Wunda Chair:

The Table

Cadillac:

Teaser, Shoulder Roll Down (Sari), Standing one-leg springs

My Thrilling Ending Exercise:

Cadillac:

Hanging Leg Circles

Wish Me Luck!

Okay, writing this post psyched me up for this workout.

Join me if you like and lemme know how it goes 🙂

Curious about joining a group workout?

Read more in this post or grab your spot today.

The Pilates System: The Push Down and the Push Up

Push Down on the Wunda Chair

Life is full of moments of up and down.

Ever notice how often you have to bend over and pick something up?

You may not notice until it's not possible for some reason.

The Pilates exercises are exaggerated versions of everyday movements. Your Pilates practice allows you to repeat and refine your exercises and encourage them to infiltrate into your daily life.

You have many exercises that teach you how to properly bend forward.

But I bet they're not your favorites.

The Roll Up

All roads lead back to the Roll Up, don't they?

The Roll Up is a foundational exercise that teaches us how to bend forward and how to sit up from a lying-down position. That doesn't mean it's easy to do. Luckily, the Pilates method gives us an entire system of Roll-Ups-in-disguise to work on the skills of bending over and sitting up.

Today I've chosen 5 exercises:

  • Push Down on the Wunda Chair
  • Push Ups on the Mat
  • Push Up #3 on the Wunda Chair
  • Rolling Back on the Cadillac
  • Reverse Push Through on the Cadillac

In my Pilates practice, I find it helpful to work on the bending over skill to better my sitting up skill. They are a great help to one another. The vertical position helps me find the lift necessary for a successful Roll Up experience all around the Pilates Studio.

Enjoy this short workout. Afterward, return to your Roll Up on the Mat and watch the magic happen!

How'd you do?

Share your successes in a comment below.

Protected: Welcome to the The Wunda Chair Project 2020

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Revisiting the Basics: Frog

Frog on the Reformer

Hi there!

I have great affection for all things Frog. I just love it. I talk about it all the time.

It's SO damn useful.

And prolific.

You can't take 2 steps away from the Reformer without tripping over 500+ versions of the Frog all around the Pilates studio.

Am I right?

Take a look at more Frogs here and here.

Frog on the Reformer

I'll bet you first visited the Frog on the Reformer when you were a very new student.

Maybe even in your first lesson.

Wambly wambly Frog with those long-ass straps can be quite the shocker. Later with your strong center you'll whip through your Frog and Circles without thinking about it.

Footwork 2.0

Frog on the Reformer echoes the Footwork series which precedes it.

It's the less-supported sibling of our trusty first Footwork exercise.

Footwork on the Reformer (Divana)

It's taken me years to warm up to Footwork, but I've always loved Frog.

It feels like a plan.

A plan to reach and support the lower body as it travels far away from the center of your body.

It's such a good plan it shows up in many other complex exercises like Teaser on the Cadillac:

Teaser on the Cadillac

Frog presents a challenge in the midst of your favorite upside-down piece of workout candy, Short Spine Massage.

High Frog anyone?

High Frog on the Reformer

Frog's got some love for everyone.

Disappearing Act

If you've completed a classical Pilates training program maybe you've moved from “Intermediate” into the “Advanced” work on the Reformer and your Frog disappeared when you added in the Long Spine Massage.

I hate when that happens.

You owe it to yourself and your commitment to your Pilates Path to visit your Frog(s) regularly even as an “advanced practitioner.”

You can achieve the Frog without being proficient – but I urge you to apply your proficiency to all of your fundamental exercises, including your Frog friend.

So after your Long Spine Massage, visit your Frog and Circles as a ‘be nice to your back' moment before you lose those long straps.

Double Leg Stretch

Meanwhile on the Mat, the Frog is the best part of the Double Leg Pull – aka Double Leg Stretch.

Double Leg Pull on the Mat

In the past I've described Double Leg Pull as ‘wind-relieving.'

Which is true.

But that's not why I'm smiling…

Joe Pilates wasn't concerned with giving you abs of steel; he created a total health system for your body.

If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.

The strength and suppleness of your back are all over Joe's manifesto, Return to Life through Contrology.

And they're all over his method.

I consider the Double Leg Pull, my favorite example of the 2-way stretch, to be the best back stretch ever created.

A Squat Lying on its Side

As a human, you're always conscious of what happens in the front of the body. You can see it.

Your legs, shoulders, arms, and stomach are in your field of vision and like to run the show.

I often find it helpful to imagine the exercise happening on the back of me. I work to create an opening and elongation of the back instead of the distracting folding-up Frog in front of me.

If you can find an opening in the back and preserve the openness of the hips despite the folded-up-frog choreography there's cause for celebration.

It sounds crazy, doesn't it?

It's the best Frog plan of all!

It feels amazing, although I also find it to be super hard to do.

On the Mat.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pilates studio, you've been doing it all along:

Leg Springs on the Cadillac

Springs+Repetition+Memory

I love Romana Kyzanowska's definition of how you use your mind in your Pilates workout:

Pilates is INTELLIGENCE guided by the WILL using MEMORY and IMAGINATION assisted by INTUITION.

Memory makes you remember choreography and where your arms and legs go, right?

Yes.

But using springs creates a memory in our muscles as well.

Also damn useful.

Think about the first moments of your Reformer order:

  • FootworkFrog is inherent
  • Hundred – You can use your Frog to reach into the position. No springs here, just a memory of them.
  • Frog + Circles – The springs must be resisted so your legs don't flop back into your chest.
  • Coordination – same Frog action, plus a little extra, and now the memory of the springs will keep the back of the body enlivened without the springs' help. They are good teachers.

Coordination and Double Leg Pull share the same spring memory which liberates your Frog skill and takes it all over the studio and into life.

Yup. It's AH-maze-ing.

Frog goes Vertical

Pumping on the High Chair

But maybe that lying down Frog is not sending you the message…

I find taking the Frog vertical can make a huge difference.

As luck would have it, you've got many options for exploring your Frog straight up.

I love what the Pumping on the High Chair (above) can teach you about your bottom and your back.

Other places you'll experience vertical Frog are in the Stomach Massage Series – the recap of your Footwork exercises in the middle of your Reformer workout.

Stomach Massage Reach on the Reformer

Need a solid Frog ending?

Check out the Skiing exercise on the Wall:

Skiing on the Wall

Crazy Like a Frog

See how many Frogs you can find in your next workout.

Think about it all happening on the back of you and see what you think.

Lemme know how you do in a comment below 🙂

Enjoy this small Frog gift from my YouTube channel

The Pilates Apparatuses: What’s in a Name?

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

Lately I've been spending considerable time with my Foot Corrector.

Although there are countless exercises one can do with this lovely device, I've been focusing on the basics: the foot positions we also use for Footwork on the Reformer.

  • Toes
  • Arch
  • Heel
  • Tendon Stretch – Which on the Foot Corrector I call The Massage. How nice.

For more details about these 4 exercises check out this recent post.

It's working!

I am amazed at the power of this little device to correct my feet.

I've known for years that my left foot has a fallen arch and poor alignment with the joints of my leg. In my training program I was encouraged to lift up the arches of my feet when standing.

Well you know, these things take time.

To coerce the arch of my foot to lift (or move at all) or what muscles would even be in charge of said action was a big ol' mystery.

Enter the Foot Corrector.

Repeated use of this humble device is teaching me how to pull up my arch into my center. Oh yes, it's all connected…

Literally correcting my foot.

Did you just hear that sound?

It was my mind. Blown.

I love when that happens.

So get out those Foot Correctors and experience the magic.

I have been working just the 4 exercises I mention at least once every day. If I have a long day of standing, I might do them a few times throughout the day.

See what you think 🙂

Wait! We have other Correctors…

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

If you've been reading here for a while you'll remember my love for Joe's other device, the Spine Corrector.

I have a great respect for Joe's apparatuses which happen to include the word ‘corrector' in the title.

Clearly he wasn't kidding.

Joe Pilates' brilliant Spine Corrector is an anti-gravity machine worthy of a daily habit.

Check it out in these related posts:

The Toes Knows

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

Oh the cute tiny apparatus. Pocket-size, travel ready and with a spring!

Also called the Toe Tensometer, Joe's Toe Corrector lives up to its name: both of them.

Tensometer

(from Wikipedia)

It is usually a universal testing machine loaded with a sample between two grips that are either adjusted manually or automatically to apply force to the specimen.

3 exercises I enjoy on the Toe Corrector:

(oh dear, the whole name thing…)

  • Single Toe Pull
  • The Bunion Eradicator – a classic.
  • Seated Single Leg Pullcan you long the back?!

Single Toe Pull

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

  • Sit up tall with legs long out in front of you.
  • Hold one side of the TC with an index finger. Put the other end over each toe one at a time. I like to start with my left pinky toe and work left to right until all toes have had their turn.
  • Pull each toe forward 5x with the goal that only the working toe moves and the others are still. This probably will not be what you see happening.
  • Persevere.
  • Work to locate the muscles of the center that move each of the toes. This should keep you busy for some time.

The Bunion Eradicator

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

Classic Toe Corrector magic, this one.

It can be done as above, legs long out in front of you. I enjoy the seated version.

  • Sit tall on the edge of a chair or Reformer with feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Press all the toes firmly into the floor.
  • Place the TC on your big toes either above or below the joint. I like above.
  • Keep all toes on the floor and pull the big toes evenly away from each other 5x.
  • Hold one bog toe in place and move the other away from center 5x.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Seated Single Leg Pull?

The Pilates Apparatuses: What's in a Name?

I love a daily dose of Pilates déjà vu…hmmm haven't we been here before?

  • Keep the TC in the same place as for the previous exercise.
  • Hold one toe down on the floor and bring the other knee up toward your chest.
  • (Your big toe will pull upward on the TC)
  • Hey look Single Leg Pull!
  • Lift your waist up out of the hips and work to find length in the back in this exercise. Not easy…

See what you think 🙂

Enjoy this short video tutorial on a related subject: Footwork on the Reformer!

Stay tuned for further tutorials on the  Footwork series.

Got a question you want covered in the discussion?

Lay it on me in a comment below.

Hey Southern California…

Saturday January 21, 2017 California Pilates Center, Oceanside, CA

Join me for a day of guest teaching in Michele Tandy's beautiful studio. Just a couple spots available for private lessons, contact Michele to book. Register for the 10am Mat class here.

Wanna experience the blog live and in person?

Here’s a bit of what’s cooking for 2017:

Thursday – Sunday May 11-14, 2017 Equinox, London UK

Contact Jayne O’Brien for more info and to register.

Friday – Sunday September 22-24, 2017 Pilates Mödling, Mödling Austria 

Join me in Mödling, Austria just 20 minutes from the capital city of Vienna. This is an event not to be missed! I’ll be offering lessons, mat classes and workshops. Workshops include: The Teaser: The Truth will PrevailOn the Order of the Pilates Mat Exercises and 3 Chairs + 3 Barrels = 2-way Stretch and more.

Contact Andrea Seipel for more info and to register.

Saturday + Sunday October 7-8 2017 Everybody Pilates, Portsmouth UK

Contact Amy Kellow for more information.

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