Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 9

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 9

Welcome to Episode 9 of Transitions on the Mat!

In this episode we'll pick up with Rocking – the 3rd and final time you'll transition to your stomach in the workout.

Post Rolling Extravaganza and into Rocking

Perfecting the transition to Rocking is another obsession project of mine.

Often we reach for our feet – especially if the Rocking position is a big stretch – by shifting side to side, grabbing one foot and then the other.

It can be a challenge to keep the initial set up as symmetrical as possible.

To that end, I begin on my stomach with my legs long on the mat and my arms long by my side, palms up. Now I can use all the length and reach in my body to my best advantage.

Once I have reached my toes long behind me I will start to bend my legs. Next I'll lift my chest and reach both arms back with the intent of placing both feet into my hands AT THE SAME TIME.

Give it a try.

You'll get some good intel on your body whether you're successful or not. It took me a while to be able to take both feet together. For a while I stayed symmetrical as long as possible and then wiggled a bit to get hold of my feet.

These things take time.

  • Finish your Crab.
  • In one swift maneuver turn onto your stomach, arms and legs long on the mat.
  • Reach and lift into your Rocking position and begin!

Post Rocking and into Control Balance

A word about arriving into position for Control Balance

My preference is to keep the arms down by the sides and lift the lower body overhead as you do in the Jackknife.

Once you are balanced in this position reach your arms out to the sides and then overhead. At the same time you'll bring one leg down to hold your ankle.

Focus on the lifting leg in this exercise. Try not to park your lower foot on the floor.

Balance, yes?

Worst case scenario, you'll roll down onto the mat.

Boy, this exercise really earns its name!

  • Finish your Rocking.
  • Sit back into our beloved counter stretch. Really milk it after this one:)
  • Efficiently turn onto your back for the Control Balance.
  • Lift yourself into the Control Balance and go!
  • Finish and roll down onto the mat and up to a standing position.

Options for Standing Up

I enjoy playing with different options for getting up and down to the mat.

1. Traditionally you'll stand with one foot crossed over the other. You can cross over either way, and of course we like to encourage you to choose whichever is most challenging. Your heels can be lifted which will test your balance further. You can also keep the heels down increasing the lift you'll need in your back to descend to the mat.

2. You can stand with both feet together for a deep aboriginal squat to the mat (my favorite).

3. If you've got a stronger/weaker side and you're up for a challenge you can descend in a 1 leg pistol squat and rise up on your other leg (also my favorite). It becomes a good test of your memory to remember which leg you used way back at the beginning of your workout.

4. Also, if your knees bother you – you may leave it out. It's still a great workout if you begin lying down.

Take care of yourselves. Don't be a hero… 🙂

Enjoy this short vlog!

Missed an episode? No prob.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 7

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 7

Welcome to Episode 7 of Transitions on the Mat!

In this episode we'll pick up with our second flip onto the stomach for Swimming.

Post Hip Circles and into Swimming.

Isn't it grand that we get to bend the other way now?

  • Roll over onto your stomach.
  • Begin your Swimming.

Yay! Another counter stretch moment. Make it glorious!

  • Sit back into your counter stretch position.
  • Bring yourself forward and into position for the Leg Pull.

Leg Pull and Leg Pull Front

Now we've got a series of exercises done on one side and then the other.

From Leg Pull and Leg Pull Front, we're on a one-side-then-the-other-side-journey.

Let's continue alternating sides all the way through to Side Bend.

Bottoms up!

Another of the infamous – and fancy – transitions gets you from Leg Pull (the one facing down like a plank) to the Leg Pull Front (the one facing up).

As you move from one exercise to the next try to be as efficient as possible.

No futzing around…

Please know that there may be a bit of wiggling in even the most proficient of practitioners. We're trying…


(pun intended)


We do have one golden rule for this transition:

Your bottom must NOT hit the mat.

I repeat:

Wiggle if you must, but keep that butt in the air all the way to Leg Pull Front.

  • Finish your Leg Pull.

I'll use the right side as an example but you can do it with the left side as well.

  • Bring your right hand over to the left.
  • Cross your right foot over your left (if you look at your feet).
  • Lift your left arm up and out and turn your body to face the sky.
  • Keep your bottom in the air as you place your left hand on the mat and situate your feet.
  • Begin your Leg Pull Front.

Side Kicks Kneeling

This transition I happen to enjoy, although it is quite the butt-spazzer…

Know where you'll need to have your knees on the mat for the Side Kicks Kneeling. As you are working this transition try to bring yourself into this position as directly as possible.

Again I'll use the right side as an example but you can do either side.

  • Finish your Leg Pull Front.
  • Bend your right leg and place your knee close to the edge and center of the right side of the mat.
  • Get your right hand into position in line with your knee.
  • Reach your left leg out to the side and into your starting position.
  • Begin your Side Kicks Keeling on the first side.
  • To change to the other side, lift yourself up to kneel on both knees, hands behind the head.
  • Use control and place the left hand on the mat.
  • Reach your right leg out to the right into the starting position.
  • Begin the second side of Side Kicks Kneeling.
  • Bend the right leg and lift yourself back to kneeling on 2 legs, hands behind the head, to finish.

The Side Bend

In our right side example we end up with the right side as our standing leg for the Side Kicks Kneeling.

Keep that going for the Side Bend as well.

  • Finish your Side Kicks Kneeling: return to the kneeling on both knees position.
  • Sit on your right hip and bring yourself into position.
  • Begin your Side Bend on the first side.
  • Stay facing the same direction and swing your legs in front of you.
  • You are now on your left hip.
  • Begin your Side Bend on the second side.

Enjoy this short vlog!

Missed an episode? No prob.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 6

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions on the Mat 6

Welcome to Episode 6 of Transitions on the Mat.

We're about halfway through the Pilates Mat exercises.

Happy March MATness 2016! 

On the 23rd Day of Match MATness Joe Pilates gave to me...

Post Spine Twist into Jackknife

  • Lie back along the mat.
  • Use the handles on the mat if you have them (if not, arms are long at your sides).
  • Begin your Jackknife.

The Side Kick Series

If you are able, lower your legs all the way down to the mat to complete your Jackknife.

My preference is to start the Side Kicks Series with my right leg, so I will lie on my left side first.

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Line up your elbow, shoulder and hip along the edge of your mat.
  • Bring your feet onto the satellite box (or just beyond the front edge of your mat).
  • Begin your Side Kicks Series.
  • Roll onto your stomach to transition to the other side.
  • Repeat on your right side.


  • Finish your Side Kicks Series.
  • Lie onto your back.
  • Center yourself top to bottom and side to side.
  • You are in the same position as the beginning of the workout pre – Hundred.
  • Begin your Teaser!

Hip Circles

A challenging variation of the Teaser, try not to get too bunched up about this one.

  • Come up for your final Teaser.
  • Bring your arms into position for the Hip Circles.
  • Complete your Hip Circles.
  • Return to your Teaser position and roll down to the mat to finish.

Enjoy this short vlog!

Missed an episode? No prob.

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