Pilates and the Moments In-Between: Transitions on the Reformer

Into the Short Spine Massage on the Reformer

Hey there!

It's a beautiful Valentine's Day here in San Diego! I hope you had an amazing weekend in your part of the world.

Thanks for taking the time to join me for another day on the Pilates Path.

Department of Foot Corrections Recap

Ball of the Foot on Foot Corrector

Two weeks ago I proposed a challenge I fully expected to fail.

Good news! I'm halfway through this monthly challenge, I've managed to do my exercises at some point every day and I've nearly got a brand new pair of feet.

Well, they look the same but they're definitely more talented!

I thank you for playing along.

TBH there were a couple of nights I was lying abed about to fall asleep and I bolted upright, realizing I'd neglected to do my exercises. Yikes!

Good save.

Day 9 connected my stomach to my feet for perhaps the very first time. I kinda get stuck gripping in the hips and buttocks. By Day 10 I lifted out of that stuck place and my back tells me I'm on the right track.

Thanks, Foot Corrector!

And on Day 11, I placed a whole new pair of feet onto the footbar to start my Reformer workout.

Wow. I did not expect that.

Or did I?

All the little balls were lined up like they knew exactly where to go.

And we're only halfway through the month.

Imagine if I were to adopt this habit daily. Or for the foreseeable future…

Thank you, thank you, powerful Pilates method.

How is it going for your feet? Drop me a comment below and share your progress. Feet are exciting!

Transitions on the Reformer

Out of Swan into Pull Straps on the Reformer

Adding transitional moments to your Reformer workout is not easy to do. This requires mental and physical control.

You must first be proficient in the 2 exercises you are connecting.

Next, you must know where you're going and get there.

The above transition out of Swan on the Long Box and into Pulling Straps/T-Straps removes one spring and adds a moment of counter stretch. Win win!

Also in life, it's the moments of transition that potentially pose a true challenge.

These in-between moments steal your focus from the tasks at hand.

You're thinking about where you've come from or where you'll be moments from now. It's hard to stay in the moment, in these often awkward moments of transitioning from one space to another.

Enter the Pilates Method

Arches into Heels on the Reformer

Transitions are a brilliant feature of the Pilates System. Early on in my Pilates practice, I enjoyed the specificity of the instruction of how I was to move from one exercise to the next.

You know me, I love a good plan.

Although mainly taught on the Reformer, transitions add an extra layer of proficiency to every piece of Pilates apparatus.

What's the point?

Backstroke into Teaser on the Reformer

The iconic Reformer transitions (think Backstroke into Teaser) can be more difficult than the exercises they connect. You can advance your workout without needing to add any new exercises. Woo hoo!

Benefits of connecting the exercises together into one continuous chain of movement include:

  • new challenges to coordination and balance
  • increased stamina and endurance because you're not stopping
  • increased brain function to think faster and anticipate the next exercise in the order
  • Pilates skill infiltrating into pedestrian elements of the workout (reaching for springs, picking up the box, etc…)
  • time available to eventually add more exercises!

Is the goal of transitions to do fancy spring changes while you balance on top of the box?

Not quite.

As you move through your exercises, it's easy to anticipate the end, drop your energy and connection to your body, only to have to scrape it all up off the floor again to rally for the next exercise.

Who wants to do that? That not only sounds hard to do but is also inefficient.

All your precious connections into your center, graciously given to you from your Reformer will stay intact and ready to serve you when you've achieved an efficient transition.

Transitions ultimately can:

  • efficiently take you from one exercise to the next without unnecessary movements
  • feed your progress into the next exercise rather than hamper it
  • please you as you utilize a hard-won skill
  • challenge your focus and concentration
  • surprise and delight you with new capabilities: look what I can do!

My Favorite Transitions

Out of the Hundred and into Overhead on the Reformer

There are several categories of Transitions in your workout.

My favorites are what I like to call ‘personal transitions.' They are not prescribed and often reinforce skills that you've achieved over time. It's a moment of proficiency in your workout – a new skill that now takes you from one exercise to the next.

Examples include:

  • rolling up into a Teaser without using your hands after the Hundred to drop 2 springs for the Overhead
  • placing each foot exactly where it goes (without fidgeting!) when mounting the Reformer for Side Splits
  • stepping up for the Tendon Stretch exactly on the edge of the carriage without sitting on the footbar
  • any precision challenge you give yourself as you arrive at the beginning or end of an exercise

I've been enjoying personal transitions on the Foot Corrector as well. Placing my left foot on top of the Foot Corrector is a challenge to my balance. It's amazing how much that foot is disconnected from the rest of me – meaning my stomach. Losing my balance brought my awareness to this lack of center.

Now I know that I am not in control of this transition. Look! A “new exercise!”

Control and precision can be your friend for life.

Transitions on the Reformer: An Online Workshop

Into the Rowing Series on the Reformer

It's a pleasure to teach my February workshop dissecting the Complex Reformer exercises. Next month my online workshop will tackle all those elusive moments-in-between. On the Reformer and elsewhere, time permitting.

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, 2021.

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

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.

More Transitions! Transitions!

Into the Backstroke on the Reformer

A few years ago I created a series of posts and videos all about these beloved in-between moments.

Check them out on the blog:

Or watch the playlist on my YouTube channel.

Until next week: Stay efficient, my friends!

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Comments

  1. COLIN HENRY says

    Greetings Andrea:

    Every good wishes to your Father for a full recovery and good health.
    Colin

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