Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

Hello Pilates friends!

This week on the blog I'm sharing some Foot Corrector love from across the globe.

Thank you so much for your lovely emails and comments telling me how much you are loving and reaping the benefits of the sweet, sweet Foot Corrector.

Special Subscriber Announcement: My apologies if you received emails containing decidedly off-topic posts which appeared to be from my blog. I believe it was a WordPress glitch of misdirected, but not malicious content. I have since remedied the problem. Please be assured you will only receive Nerd-tastic Pilates content from me. Boo, WordPress…

Welcome new subscribers!

If you're new to the blog, check out an earlier video on my morning workout including the Foot Corrector here. And thanks for signing on for the long haul/love affair that is our beloved Pilates Method.

A Rose by any other Name would Smell as Sweet?

Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

We mustn't underestimate the specific names of the apparatus. First and foremost Joe gives us our principle piece of Pilates apparatus to reform our movement.

You guessed it – the Reformer.

What a name, right? Kinda says it all.

Two of Joe Pilates' smaller apparatus include the word ‘corrector' in the name:

  • Spine Corrector
  • Foot Corrector

We must take Joe at his word. He was not kidding!

These apparatus – used with frequency – will change our backs and our feet, respectively.

Need an arch in your foot?

Step up regularly to the Corrector and watch the magic happen.

Fix your Feet and Save your Shoes

Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

Recently I wore a pair of shoes which had been languishing in my closet for years. I had convinced myself I either found them to be unattractive or uncomfortable (or both) and there they were in a tumble on the floor.

Upon further investigation I discovered they were 1) cute and 2) only uncomfortable on my left foot. The right shoe felt fine.

Hmmm…

A little secret about my left foot: it has a saggy arch and only the big toe half of it likes to work…awww… frownie face…

The moment I applied a bit of the Foot Corrector magic I've been steadily infiltrating into my workout body the left foot felt amazingly better in my shoe.

Can't blame the shoe when half your foot doesn't work I always say…

Dizzy, high marks on the Nerd-o-meter I know. Thanks for playing 🙂

Foot Corrector Basics

In this week's video tutorial, we look at a few basic exercises. These will well serve you (and your feet) with regular practice.

These 5 exercises follow the same foot positions as our trusty Footwork series done on the Reformer.

Woo hoo!

#itsgoodtohaveasystem

  • Ball of Foot on Pedal
  • Heel on Pedal
  • The Massage…
  • Arches
  • On top of Pedal with Heel Lifted

Repeat each of your 5 Foot Corrector exercises 3-5 times.

Familiarity is key with the Foot Corrector. Regular practice will illuminate how you'll control the spring here just like you control all the other springs in the studio.

The Foot Corrector gives great feedback on working both sides of the foot evenly. Maybe the big toe side does all the work?

My main interest currently is how the Foot Corrector teaches us to connect the lower body into our center, our powerhouse. This is one of my favorite bits of Pilates Magic.

My Foot Corrector is made by Gratz. The spring is strong by design. Those new to the Gratz apparatus in general will agree the spring tension on the Reformer and Cadillac, for example, is considerable.

The spring tension offers sufficient support and assistance help us to defy gravity. Quite a noble endeavor and so hard to do on our own.

And by ‘on our own' I mean the Mat.

GASP!

It's nearly my favorite time of the year (no not my birthday).

The 1st of March my fancy turns to thoughts of Joe Pilates 34 original Mat exercises!

March MATness is coming.

Tangent over. I know it's still f**king Foot Corrector February.

Foot Corrector Praise from Around the Globe

Hey that thing really works! A Foot Corrector Love Story

From London

My right and left sides of my body are totally different!

When I place my foot on the bar my right low back immediately tightens and I really have to scoop up my waistline and l-e-n-g-t-h-e-n my tailbone down to decompress my back. For someone with a tight low back this really feels gooood! This gives a massive clue as to what I should be feeling in exercises like footwork and frogs and circles…hmmm

from South Africa

I cannot believe how effective the Foot Corrector is. I used it as a “warm up” today before my Footwork. It is very effective in connecting the “feet to the seat and the centre.” I have a weakness on my right lateral chain. It felt so much better after I did my right foot.

From Montana

The part I struggle with, is keeping the hips square and level and totally stable and THEN pushing down. I will cheat so bad on this, hike one hip up or roll back in the hip, etc…and then not get the work out of it….but only because my glutes are WEAK.  Doing it in a mirror helps a lot!

You always tell me, the distance the Spring moves does not matter 🙂

 

My 30-Day Challenge So Far…

In last week's post I threw down the gauntlet for myself and whoever would like to join me.

Today brings me to Day 9 of my 30-Day Standing-One-Leg-Spring-at-the-Cadillac challenge.

What have I learned so far?

On Day 2 I wrestled a spring from my Arm Chair to use the lightest spring in the studio. I had been using the springs from the Roll Down bar on the Cadillac, but it was overpowering the exercise and causing me to grip my standing leg fiercely.

I don't need any help in that department.

Oh, Control, where have you been all my life?

Slowly I am discovering new supportive muscles in my weaker leg that would rather lock its little knee and give up.

I've also found an excellent exercise pairing: using Going Up Front and Going Up Side on the High Chair as a prelude to the Standing One Leg Springs.

Especially Going Up Side for the standing leg support in the One Leg Springs.

It's such a new way of looking at the meat-and-potatoes High Chair exercises. They're my pre-Pilates. I love when everything old becomes new again.

Welcome to the Pilates Method!

This Week's COLLAB with Lesley Logan

The Pilates System: A Day in the Life

Welcome to our Pilates version of Shark Week.

Sort of.

This week we begin our Swan Month.

See? Just as scary!

Today's video collab with the Lovely Lesley Logan of Profitable Pilates will be on one of our “nicest” Swans, done on the Mat.

No diving yet, just our basic (ish) Swan.

Stay tuned for all our Swans in the studio over the month of March.

Thanks for watching!

Hello Hong Kong!

Hong Kong, you are getting ever closer! Maybe I should pack…

I'll be teaching many of my favorite workshops as well as lessons and classes. You know how much I adore the Reformer

I hope you'll join me at Flex Studio in March 9-12. Teachers and clients are all welcome!

Workshops will include a Reformer workshop based on my most-viewed posts On the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises and Transitions! Transitions!, a Mat workshop based on the posts On the Order of the Pilates Mat Exercises and Transitions on the Mat plus 7 Spot-On Quotes to Keep you Honest and The 3 pilates Barrels.

Register here.

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

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 3

The Pilates System: Rowing on the Reformer, Part 3

Thanks again to the lovely Lesley Logan for collaborating with me on this YouTube video series.

We've taken a closer look at the 6 exercises which make up the Rowing Series on the Reformer.

If you've missed the previous 2 posts in this series, you can view them here and here.

The 6 Rowing Series exercises as they appear in the order of the Pilates Reformer exercises are:

  • Rowing 1: Into the Sternum
  • Rowing 2: 90° 
  • Rowing 3: From the Chest
  • Rowing 4: From the Hip
  • Rowing 5: Shave
  • Rowing 6: Hug

So for this week's video collab we'll look at the first 2 exercises in our Rowing Series.

Woo hoo! #finalinstallment

Rowing 1: Into the Sternum

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 3

As a Pilates practitioner, I find once you learn the 6 Rowing exercises you never want to leave them out. They are not easy by any means, but nevertheless, beloved.

Often we get sidetracked in these two exercises when it comes to the last moment of returning the carriage. Check yourself the next time you workout:

Does the carriage bang home as you finish each repetition?

At any point?

If so, report to your stomach immediately.

So many different moments in these 1st two Rowing exercises. Aren't you glad we learn them last?

Here's the breakdown:

  • Sit up tall just like when you sit on the Short Box. The carriage is closed. The straps are tight when arms are in the starting position.
  • Lift and scoop in to arrive at a Round position.
  • Hold your shape as you reach arms out to the sides.
  • Scoop more to reach the head toward the knees and the hands behind you at the TAILBONE!
  • I cannot say it enough. take the arms straight and low to the TAILBONE.
  • Lift your back and arms and close the carriage as you reach toward your toes.
  • Sit up tall again at the finish.
  • Repeat 3x

Wow. That's a sh*t ton of bullet points…

And here's a hot tip:

If your Reformer has wooden handles, you can use them to your advantage.

Moi ha ha haaaa… (evil laughter)

Connect the heel of your hand to press into the wooden handles at all times during the exercise. It will help to use the center more and the arms and shoulders less.

You may notice moments of connection. Also notice moments of disconnection (when your hand does not easily connect into the handle).

Just notice…

Rowing 2: 90 Degrees

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 3

For our second Rowing exercise you can forget all the set up rules for our first exercise Into the Sternum

You'll need to find your back position and the upper body 90° position first. Most likely the carriage will not be completely closed at the start of the exercise.

And that's just fine.

Here we go:

  • Lift up your back and push upward on the handle (Forget that the exercise choreography dictates you go backward and down – on the inside lift up and forward.
  • Lift yourself to tip back as much as you can return.
  • Reach up on a high diagonal as the carriage closes. Scoop like mad to not bang the carriage.
  • Flip handles and reach down along the frame of the Reformer with straight arms.
  • I cannot say it enough. take the arms straight and low to the TAILBONE.
  • Lift your back and arms and close the carriage as you reach toward your toes.
  • Sit up tall again at the finish.
  • Repeat 3x

Enjoy this short tutorial collaboration.

Thanks for watching!

Got a favorite Rowing exercise? Or one that vexes you?

Lemme hear it in a comment below!

And here's where to find me in 2018

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 2

The Pilates System: Rowing on the Reformer, Part 2

Thanks again to the lovely Lesley Logan for collaborating with me on this YouTube video series.

If you missed last week's post – the first installation of this series – you can view it here.

Over the course of 3 posts we'll take a closer look at the 6 exercises which make up the Rowing Series on the Reformer:

The 6 Rowing Series exercises as they appear in the order of the Pilates Reformer exercises:

  • Rowing 1: Into the Sternum
  • Rowing 2: 90° 
  • Rowing 3: From the Chest
  • Rowing 4: From the Hip
  • Rowing 5: Shave
  • Rowing 6: Hug

So for this week's video collab we'll look at the middle 2 exercises in our Rowing Series.

Rowing 3: From the Chest

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 2

I find this Rowing exercise – From the Chest – to be a choice nugget of Pilates goodness.

It's just so perfect.

The support you receive from the straps helps to lift your tall back up and forward. And next there's a brilliant moment where the support of the straps goes away and yet you must maintain your lift!

Twice. Twice this moment happens!

Our first moments of (albeit supported) Reach!

Let's unpack it:

  • Sit tall.
  • Reach arms straight out to eye level. Imagine the lower back lifts and follows the trajectory of your fingertips.
  • Keep the lift and reach into the handles toward the carriage, forward and down.
  • Lift the lower back and reach forward continuing arms all the way up overhead.
  • Pause.
  • Lift your chest and gaze. Lift your whole-self. This is the raison d'être of this exercise!
  • Keep the lift of the back and reach fingertips side to side in your periphery with control.
  • Repeat 3x.

Rowing 4: From the Hip

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 2

Rowing 3+4 just may be my favorites of the Rowing Series. Keep a long lifted body as you reach first toward your heels and then forward and all the way up to the same finish as Rowing 3.

Challenge yourself further by holding the carriage still on your journey to the upright position.

Enjoy!

  • Sit tall with hands on the mat beside you.
  • Lift and round over the lower body as you reach your fingertips along the mat and forward.
  • Reach below your heels if possible.
  • And now for a wonderful moment of foreshadowing. Use your reach a là Swan on the Barrel and bring the entire torso upright with arms overhead.
  • Pause. Keep the lift and S-L-O-W-L-Y reach fingertips side-to-side in your periphery. Don't rush this moment!
  • Repeat 3x.

Enjoy this short tutorial collaboration.

Thanks for watching!

Wanna see more video collabs like this one?

Suggest your favorite exercises in a comment below!

And here's where to find me in 2018

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 1

Thanks again to the lovely Lesley Logan for collaborating with me on this YouTube video series.

Over the course of 3 posts we'll take a closer look at the 6 exercises which make up the Rowing Series on the Reformer:

The 6 Rowing Series exercises as they appear in the order of the Pilates Reformer exercises:

  • Rowing 1: Into the Sternum
  • Rowing 2: 90° 
  • Rowing 3: From the Chest
  • Rowing 4: From the Hip
  • Rowing 5: Shave
  • Rowing 6: Hug

Generally we learn our Rowing exercises in the reverse order, sometimes in pairs. You might learn only Rowing 5+6 at first.

Or maybe you'll learn Rowing 3-6 and do them for a while before adding Rowing 1+2.

Looking at the demands and complexities of the Rowing exercises, Rowing 5+6 – while not a walk in the park – are the most straightforward of the 6 exercises: the back shape remains the same throughout the entire exercise and you have only one movement pattern to learn.

In Rowing 3+4 there are multiple moves per repetition and Rowing 4 includes both a Round back and a Tall back.

Rowing 1+2 have more complex choreography, more than one back shape and more coordination is required to close the carriage with control.

So for this week's video collab we'll look at the last 2 exercises in our Rowing Series.

Rowing 5: Shave

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 1

The Shave is perhaps my least favorite of the Rowing exercises. Keeping a long and lifted back shape is a challenge for those of us with tight upper backs and shoulders. Here's a few tips to help us love our Shave exercises:

Get a jump on it in the Transition!

  • Keep arms long and flip your handles.
  • Reach arms down and forward with the palms up. As the arms get overhead turn palms to face downward and bring the thumbs together and the forefingers together.
  • Bring arms straight overhead and bend into the starting position.

Now for the exercise!

  • Place hands at the base of the skull if possible with the palms facing back of head.
  • Find your scoop and your seat and reach arms straight upward on a slight diagonal.
  • Bring fingertips together. Press them firmly against each other.
  • Resist the spring as the hands return to the starting position, elbows reach out to the side.
  • Repeat.

Bonne chance!

Rowing 6: Hug

The Pilates System: Rowing Series on the Reformer, Part 1

Recently the Hug has become one of the most challenging exercises. It's not easy being tall and lifted! Again you'll get a jump on your Tall back with an efficient transition.

  • In the midst of your last repetition – with arms overhead – open arms into the Hug position keeping your back tall.
  • Pull your stomach in to move the carriage.
  • Sit up super tall and S-L-O-W-L-Y reach the arms open.
  • The handles should be vertical. Notice if your pinky finger doesn't want to touch the handle. Insist that it does!
  • Repeat.

Enjoy this short tutorial collaboration.

Thanks for watching!

Wanna see more video collabs like this one?

Suggest your favorite exercises in a comment below!

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.