How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

What you don't like,

                 you do twice!

  • Romana Kryzanowska quoting Joe Pilates

Tackling the exercises we hate to do can be a tough challenge.

Thanks Lesley Logan, for suggesting this topic. Grrr…

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

My Los Angeles colleague Lesley and I are currently collaborating on a YouTube series. Lesley is the owner of Profitable Pilates.

So far we've covered topics ranging from how to care for yourself during your busy workday, to a tutorial on everyone's favorite exercise (?) the Hundred.

Check out Lesley's videos on her channel.

Here's the latest collab on my channel – you guessed it! – all about how to love the exercises you currently HATE.

Oh for sure, there's lots of reasons to be a hater:

  • The Hundred
  • The Teaser
  • Mountain Climb on the Wunda Chair (Ew…)

Just to name a few of our usual suspects…

What's to be done?

I've included a handful of strategies which I've found to be helpful on our Pilates path.

If you've got sure-fire methods of your own to tackle our particularly horrible little exercises, I hope you'll leave me a comment below and share with us here.

You won't be surprised by my first suggestion I'm sure.

1. Do all of your OTHER exercises. 

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

Every exercise currently in your workout will make even the most HATED exercises much much better. When one exercise gets better they all get better.

How nice.

Keep consistent with your own workouts, and take weekly lessons. First of all make sure you have fun doing the exercises you enjoy!

2. My self-imposed 30-Day challenges

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

Finding new and creative ways to visit forgotten exercises/apparatus has been amazingly beneficial to my workout and my teaching.

Here on the blog you may remember my 30-Day challenges. The first one was my Small Barrel Project in which I imposed a posture intervention on myself.

The Small Barrel exercises were never amongst my HATED exercises, but clearly I had underestimated their power and place in the method for years…

A Wunda Chair Challenge was my next 30-Day task… sadly even I failed to complete this challenge. Soon I must give it another go…

I did find a few exercises to HATE on the Wunda Chair.

Giving yourself a time frame for consistency as well as a finite number of exercises can reward you tenfold.

Spending quality time on unfamiliar exercises – or exercises you never do – can transform your body and your experience of the exercises. You'll view them through new eyes and understand them even more deeply in your body.

3. The Power of the Private Lesson

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

I dearly love my weekly lessons with Karen Frischmann. However I'm such a creature of habit I love to work on the Reformer in every lesson. I LOVE the Reformer, it's no secret.

I love the Mat too and sometimes we'll do the Mat in my lessons.

But surely I should visit some of the apparatus which are not my go-to or my favorite.

So lately I've changed it up a bit. I have been working on the Cadillac exercises.

#gasp

And the High Chair.

And I've found some new ways to be a hater!

Here's my list of 5 exercises now on top of the HATE list:

  • One Arm Swan on the Wunda Chair
  • Leg Springs in the Air on the Cadillac
  • Side Sit Ups anywhere in the studio
  • Standing One Leg Springs on the Cadillac
  • Seated Mermaid on the Cadillac

Hmmm… I see a little theme here… one-sided exercises and back extension exercises reign supreme atop my HATE list at the moment.

And that's the beautiful thing: Once-hated exercises become our most beloved.

These things take time.

4. Thank You for Being a Friend

How to LOVE the Pilates Exercises you HATE

Years before I took my first Pilates class I longed for a workout buddy to stay accountable. Sadly, working out was not a big priority amongst my friends at the time.

No takers. Frownie Face…

Now it's easy to find friends all over the world who speak the same language.

#ThePilatesMethod

Grab a Pilates friend and get on the Reformer! Your colleagues surely won't HATE the same exercises you do so you won't be able to skip them.

Brilliant!

If you must do an exercise that everyone HATES I hear misery loves company…

Get your HATE on!

How do you work on the exercises you HATE?

Share with us in a comment below. Thanks for reading!

And here's where to find me in 2018!

Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Back to Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Hi there!

I recently wrote a post on the importance of revisiting our basic exercises.

As an advanced Pilates practitioner, skills earned over time shine brightly in our most fundamental and straightforward exercises. Any difficulty with our beginning exercises will show up later in our favorite Pilates circus tricks.

Am I right?

Elephant, anyone?

The body – it is a-changin'

We are currently in the midst of a Pilates renaissance.

Curiosity abounds as the traditional exercises we get from Joe Pilates beckon to countless instructors of varied training backgrounds. Apparatus designed to support the original system gains new fans every day.

In the past I would hear questions like:

  • “Don't you get tired teaching the same exercises all day long?”
  • “Having an order you use for everyone sounds like lazy teaching.”

Or something to this effect…

My understanding of the system at the time was that fundamental exercises, once mastered, would open up more exercises and variations for the devoted client.

Also each day our bodies are different – how will we do today? Our group of exercises will tell us the story: where we excel and where we fall short.

But wait – there's MORE

I'm sure you are familiar with one of Joe Pilates most famous marketing slogans:

In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body…

What about that ellipses?

Less familiar is the end of this sentence: or your money back.

The results mentioned in this quote are predicated on Pilates done 3 times a week with Joe Pilates – a man we all understand to be sufficiently confident (and then some!) in his life's work to make such a claim.

A whole new body might take a bit more time if you're attending 1 weekly Mat class.

Or in my case, the new body showed up 5 years post The Work – just as Jay Grimes predicted…

That guy is always right.

New Skills, New Body, Same Old Exercises

Last week I spoke about ‘meat and potatoes' exercises done on the Reformer and Mat.

I was also thrilled to discover a post from Brooke Siler which included a shot of my Reformer Poster. Brooke is a celebrated Pilates teacher/practitioner and the author of the very first Pilates book I owned, The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening and Toning Your Body- Without Machines.

Oh it's a goody.

I saw this post immediately following my lesson with the lovely Karen Frischmann.

Having scaled my own workout back for the moment I looked at “the big picture” on my Reformer poster with new eyes.

I got excited to return to the more complex exercises – Headstands, Backbend, High Frog, Star – with my new skills – with my new body!

My thoughts on doing the same exercises over and over instantly had a new clarity of purpose:

  • The exercises don't change.
  • Over time the body changes…
  • The exercises become at once familiar, new, exciting and challenging.

Those same old exercises are going to be such a new experience – some will be even more awesome and others will be a wild ride.

YouTube Collaboration with Lesley Logan

Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Join me this week for my 2nd YouTube collaboration with my Los Angeles colleague Lesley Logan. Lesley is the owner of Profitable Pilates and she's a gem.

This week we will begin at the beginning with an exercise tutorial on the Hundred.

Back to the Basics: Everything Old is New Again

Check out my video. If you'd like to see us collaborate on other exercises, leave a comment below and we will add it to the list!

Check out Lesley's video on the Hundred here.

If you're a YouTuber with a Pilates channel and want to join our collaboration please email me at andrea@pilatesandrea.com and I will give you all the deets.

And here's where you can find me in 2018.

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

Hello dear readers! Gosh it's been a looooooong time.

If you're a new subscriber, Welcome! Thanks for exploring my archive of posts and signing on for the long haul. I hope to share even more of my experience of the Pilates Method in my own body as we finish out the year.

It's been a wild ride lately.

A big thank you to those who expressed concern at the lack of new posts in their inbox each week. Your sweet messages warmed my heart.

As for my disappearance, the short answer is I have been traveling and guest teaching since September.

How the Bicycle On the Small Barrel Fixed my Back

Cake-filled Vienna was lovely. Thanks to Andrea Seipel at Pilates Modling for a fantastic event!

I landed after at my usual haunt, Everybody Pilates in Portsmouth UK with the lovely Amy Kellow (where evidently I was all workity-workity and took no photos…boo…).

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

Seoul fused the ultra-modern with beautiful tradition. Thanks so so much to Nan Young  and your lovely teachers at The Control.

Oh and so delicious as well… too many food photos to show here but indulge me a bit…

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

And if Los Angeles and the French Riviera had a baby it would be Busan.

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

Where of course there was more food (and Pilates at Studio Define – Thank you Kyung Hye!).

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

The longer, more-involved and truthful answer for my absence is twofold:

  1. I indulged in a very satisfying closet/wardrobe renovation. Organizing and nesting pleases me greatly and I did nerd out HARD in this process.
  2. I discovered a little Pilates mystery going on in my body that I wasn't quite able to figure out. Honestly it was making me lose a bit of my Pilates mojo. I was cranky and Pilates wasn't helping.

#wtf?

Oh Small Barrel, are you my only friend?

Let's Recap

Lately I've been sharing my personal workout with you. I'm sure you all remember my Small Barrel Project – woo hoo – I had a big successful run on this 30-day challenge.

I couldn't get enough of it – I was invincible!!

Yeah! Bring on another one – how about a 30-day Wunda Chair Challenge!

Sadly, on the Chair I didn't fair as well. No matter how many times I mounted my Wunda I couldn't make the exercises feel as delicious as on the Small Barrel.

And as I like to say when confronted by a new Pilates mystery in my body:

Hmmmm…

Where's the juicy-feel-good-post-workout feeling I crave?

How/Why have I become so stiff? What gives?

Small Barrel 2.0

How the Bicycle On the Small Barrel Fixed my Back

Yes.

I must return to the scene of the crime to make my body feel like a real person again.

2-3x per day I practiced all of my Small Barrel exercises hoping for a miracle.

If you've been reading for a while you know I am very reluctant to blame the Pilates exercises for any discrepancies in how my body feels.

#dontblametheexercise

It's not you, it's me.

Perhaps the Small Barrel had more to teach me.

The plan:

I began each workout with my #usualsuspects: Foot Corrector and Small Barrel. After a couple days I added just a bit of meat and potatoes exercises on either the Reformer or the Mat.

As much as it pains me not to do every exercise I do on the Reformer (cause if you skip them they don't get better) I must revisit the basics for a new(ish) reason:

I am cultivating a new skill and I want to visit it in as many straightforward uncomplicated exercises as I can – because they'll be easier to wrangle than all the snakes and backbends right now.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Please imagine me talking sternly to myself about this.

At first my Reformer workout looked like this:

  • Footwork
  • 100
  • Frogs and circles
  • Overhead (because I just can't stop myself)
  • Coordination
  • Stomach Massage Series
  • Short Box Series
  • Elephant 
  • Knee Stretch Series
  • Running 
  • Pelvic Lift

At first.

After about a month I added in Long Box 1: Pull Straps, T and the Backstroke.

Now a few months in I have added in nearly all my Reformer exercises – nothing super duper yet- no Backbends, no Headstands – but everything else is coming along nicely.

I may even figure out how to keep length in my back during extension exercises – holy cow that would be awesome!

Baby steps.

Repetitio est Mater Studiorum

Using the gift – GIFT I tell you! – of repetition I diligently work through my Small Barrel exercises. Slowly the more straightforward ones – Circles, Walks and Beats – help me to find length in my back.

Long the Back! Right? OMG what's that amazing sensation of ease in my hips and legs?? Excellent…

Each day doing my exercises hones my Long the Back! skills into the Scissors and – eventually and miraculously – into the Bicycle.

It's truly an amazing progression in this Small Barrel series. Each exercise building on the next, each subsequent exercise just that much more complex to challenge my new skill. Or at this point should I say “skill?”

Armed with my willpower and my Pilates Mantra I forge ahead!

I work to make each subsequent exercise feel exactly like the easier ones which precede it. 

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

And one day it comes to pass that I have an epiphany in the Bicycle

A word about the Bicycle

The Bicycle – done anywhere in the studio really – falls into the category of exercises I find to be problematic. Lots of flashy leg moves right in front of your eyes which distract you from your main goal of length in the back and connection in the center.

Choreography be damned! Who cares if I know what a Bicycle is supposed to look like? ONLY. CARE. ABOUT. THE. CENTER.

My discovery is, on the surface, so lackluster. However, this move is a crucial component of nearly every exercise.

With the Bicycle I learned I could bring my leg closer to my body by opening up my back. Not by overusing my hip and leg, but by a forlorn and neglected region of my powerhouse.

And you know what that means?

Bicycle on the Small Barrel and How it Fixed my Back

Back to the Elephant.

AGAIN.

Time for some sad trombone

Cast your impatience aside for it does not serve you…

I now have a tiny window into just how much repetition it takes to create change.

A f*ck ton.

Every. Day.

The Elephant is our very first quintessential Pilates exercise meant to open the back of the body with every close of the carriage. So simple right?

Uhm, clearly chock full of Pilates goodness this one…

Have a basic exercise you return to time after time?

Share your Pilates strategy in a comment below.

And thanks for reading!

Stay tuned here for my workshop schedule for 2018…

Get a Fantastic Workout on your Busiest Day

Get a Fantastic Workout on your Busiest Day

I dearly love my Pilates workout. Last week I was on a family vacation and I got in an invigorating Pilates Mat workout each morning in the lovely hotel fitness center.

I've got ample time for my Pilates workout when I am away from my studio. Sure I miss the Reformer, but daily Pilates is luxurious.

How can I aspire to a daily workout at the top of a busy workday? This is my conundrum.

“I can't do anything in less than an hour!”

Yes. I can. And you can too.

My beef for years was how to get in the full-on hour workout – a big Reformer workout – during a super-packed busy day. My morale runs high in the morning, dips around lunch time and at the end of my day I've really got my sights on dinner and not the Hundred.

Boo…

My Go-To Pilates Workout for Busy Days

Today I'd like to share with you my new plan to workout little by little throughout your day.

And you'll still feel fabulous!

At the end of my day I'm also more inclined to want closure for the workout I started earlier. Usually it feels too daunting to begin my workout at 7pm.

And I'm hungry.

3 Cheers for the Small Apparatus!

In today's video I share the apparatus and exercises I use daily. I will change up the major apparatus, whether I'll be doing Mat, Reformer, Cadillac or Chair. But the small apparatus ritual at the top of my workout remains the same.

For now.

If I've got more time I will do all of my small apparatus exercises, and if I am running late in my morning it only takes about 5 minutes to do a pared down version.

A couple scenarios…

No time to workout? There's an exercise for that.

Busy Day #1

6:55am

Small Barrel: Arm Series (Circles, Up/Down, Hug, Breathing) and Leg Series (Circles, Walks, Beats, Scissors, Bicycle, Hip Twist).

You'll finish in about 4 minutes.

1:30pm

Foot Corrector: all the exercises included in the video

Mat: Hundred, Roll Up, Roll Over, One Leg Circle, Roll Like a Ball, Single Leg Pull, Double Leg Pull, Scissors, Lower Lift, Criss Cross, Spine Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, CorkScrew, Saw, Swan, Single Leg Kick, Double Leg Kick, Thigh Stretch, Neck Pull

In about 20 minutes you've done all your Foot Corrector and jumpstarted your Mat exercises.

7pm

Mat: High Scissors, High Bicycle, Shoulder Bridge, Spine Twist, JackKnife, Side Kick Series, Teaser, Seal

Yes, you could finish up all your Mat exercises at this point at the end of the day, but dinner is often a real concern…

Or maybe you'll workout on the Reformer:

Busy Day #2

7:30am

Foot Corrector – all the exercises included in the video

Small Barrel: Arm Series (Circles, Up/Down, Hug, Breathing) and Leg Series (Circles, Walks, Beats, Scissors, Bicycle, Hip Twist).

Reformer: Footwork, Hundred, Overhead, Coordination

In just 15 minutes you've visited 2 small apparatus. You've also gotten the ball rolling with your Reformer.

1:30pm

Reformer: Long Box (Pull Straps, T, Backstroke, Teaser), Long Stretch, Down Stretch, Up Stretch, Elephant, Long Back Stretch, Stomach Massage Series

In about 20 minutes post-lunch you can complete Long Box 1 Series, Long Stretch Series and the Stomach Massage Series. Maybe you can get it done in 15?

Not too shabby.

6pm

Reformer: Short Box Series, Short Spine Massage, SemiCircle, Knee Stretch Series, Running, Pelvic Lift, Side Splits, Front Splits

Mat: Roll Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker, Seal

At the end of the day you'll finish off the major exercises in what you may know as an Intermediate Reformer workout followed by an invigorating rolling ending.

Well done!

Give it a try and see how you do. Share your tips and successes in a comment below 🙂

I hope you'll enjoy this workout as much as I do.

Thanks for watching! 

Oh and about this video…

My body generally avoids the Shoulder Bridge on the Small Barrel. It's always my intent to include this exercise after the Bicycle but alas, as I edit this post I realize my body has gotten the best of me AGAIN and I “forgot” to include Shoulder Bridge in the video.

Bad Pilates Teacher!

You should still do it (and so should I).

Let's help each other…

Classes, Private Lessons and Much Much MORE!

October 5-8, 2017 I'll be in Portsmouth UK at Everybody Pilates. Private lessons are filling up! Reserve your spot by using the link below:

Everybody Pilates Mind Body Online

I look forward to seeing you there.

And here's where to find me this Fall.

Teacher Classes, Blog Awards and the Swan – Oh My!

Teacher Classes, Blog Awards and the Swan - Oh My!
Hello there!

Let me express a HUGE thank you to all my lovely subscribers. Thank you for all your support, kind words and Pilates success stories over the past 5 years. It's an inspiration to have all of you with me on my Pilates path.

I'd like to thank my Reformer… and my Small Barrel…

The Top 75 Pilates Blogs by feedspot.com has included my blog amongst some of the big kahunas in the Pilates industry including Pilatesology (5), Balanced Body (3), Blogilates (2) and Pilates Anytime (1).

Wowza! I am truly honored.

Even more amazingly I cracked the top 10, settling in at NUMBER 9 on this list.

View the full list here.

OMG and welcome NEW subscribers!

Take a look around and stay tuned for more exercise tutorials, workouts and classes to come.

Be sure to check out my most-viewed post On the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

If you've got a topic, concept or exercise you'd like to see featured in a post or video, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear about it.

NEW! Classes for Teachers

I'm offering a new class in my Solana Beach, CA studio.

It's a 2-hour workout/workshop I'm calling The Teacher Lab. In the 1st hour you'll workout independently in the studio. We'll decide on a discussion/workshop topic to explore in Hour 2. The cost for The Teacher Lab is $100.

I'm currently offering 1 each month for the remainder of 2017. If they fill up fast I'll add some more. You'll find a class on September 15, October 20, November 10 and December 8.

Classes are limited to 6 students. Non-Teacher Nerdy Enthusiasts are also welcome.

Pick a class and jump in it! Purchase your classes here.

New Tutorial!

Teacher Classes, Blog Awards and the Swan - Oh My!

Today's video is on one of our most angst-producing exercises, the Swan. That's the bad news. The good news is we're looking at 2 versions of Swan done on the Cadillac.

Swan on the Cadillac is a wonderful companion for the Teaser on the Cadillac. View my recent exercise tutorial below.

Tummy Time

The Mat behind us is our teacher too.

Learning to control the Push Thru Bar (PTB) for Teaser will require all the muscles of our trunk and back. The Mat provides feedback and support for our entire body while we perfect this skill.

Now let's get ready for the next challenge: repeating the very same task while lying on our bellies.

What fun!

Enjoy this short tutorial. Thank you for watching!

Access my YouTube library of workouts, exercise tutorials and the occasional Pilates shopping haul here. Thanks to you I have surpassed 1200 subscribers!

Save the Date San Diego!

My lovely colleague Lesley Logan, author and owner of Profitable Pilates will be heading to San Diego for her signature Pilatini® Night.

Save the date for Friday November 10, 2017.

We'll be gathering at Pacifica in Del Mar around 5pm in time for a bit of Happy Hour.

Pilatini® NIghts include Pilates instructors, laughter, networking and a chance to connect outside the Pilates studio. Lesley Logan's Pilatini® Nights are all about Pilates Instructors ditching their Pilates pants for their favorite outfit and hanging out with other Pilates professionals. Grab your Pilates instructor friends, shed the luon and join us for a date night for Pilates Pros only!

And here's where to find me for the rest of 2017