Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 11?!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 11?!

Welcome to the 11th and final installation of Transitions! Transitions!

(Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of this post for a special announcement…)

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

Whew!

Post Everything and into the Splits

After Pelvic Lift you'll step off and prepare your Reformer for the Side Splits exercise.

  • Add a pad to the frame.
  • If necessary, add a pad in front of the shoulder block directly opposite the pad on the frame. You'll want to be in a straight line, yes?
  • Carefully step up onto the carriage between the 2 pads and come to standing.
  • Place one foot on the pad on the frame.
  • Swivel your other foot (heel, toe, heel, toe) out to the opposite pad in front of the shoulder block.

To change sides you will turn around toward the springs.

This is a “rule” I have heard everywhere.

I like to amuse myself by imagining that if you don't turn toward the springs, perhaps a Pilates evil-doer lurks nearby, ready and willing to remove your spring if you look away for a moment.

It is this fantasy and this alone that keeps a smile on my face as I do the Side Splits.

Post Side Splits and into the Front Splits

  • Step off after the Side Splits.
  • Remove the pads and place one of them onto the headpiece in anticipation of the Russian Splits we will do in a moment.

(If necessary you can have a pad in front of each shoulder block for the Front Splits for security.)

  • Step up into your position for the Front Splits and begin.

Post Front Splits and into the Russian Splits

  • Step off the Reformer.
  • Place a hand onto each shoulder block and step onto the Reformer facing away from the footbar.
  • Place your back foot onto the footbar first.
  • Use your hands on the shoulder blocks to support yourself and lift the other foot into place on the headpiece.
  • Come into your squat and begin.
  • To change sides and to finish you will step the front foot onto the carriage first and then bring the back one down.
  • When you've finished both sides, step off and feel fantastic!

A word about an optional ending that I love

After a full-on Reformer workout I love to do a few rolling exercises on the Mat.

Your body is all jazzed, warm and empowered and I love the new experience of rolling while in this state. It's amazing how smooth you can be.

And if rolling exercises are your nemesis, now is the time, my friend.

I usually do 3-5 Roll Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker and Seal. Choose a small and finite number and work to make each one more perfect than the last.

If you enjoy the Boomerang or the Crab, feel free to add them in as well…

Roll up to standing after the Seal and you are golden.

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post as well and move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series into shape in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.
  • The hits just keep on coming in post 7…yum, the Short Spine Massage!
  • Transitions 8! keeps us moving from Chest Expansion to the strap set up for Long Spine Massage.
  • Post 9 will get you from Corkscrew all the way to Long Spine Massage in style!
  • Installment #10 introduced us to the Beginning of the End: The Knee Stretches!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 10!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 10!

Welcome to the 10th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

You've come a long way, baby!

The Beginning of the End

I have affectionately named the Knee Stretch Series ‘the beginning of the end.'

It's a last push of vigor, stamina and coordination.

One more time to get your blood up before the cool down of Running.

Running is an exercise that is beloved by clients.

Perhaps as it signals the end is near?

Post Long Spine Massage and into the Knee Stretch Series

Having disposed of the straps after Long Spine Massage you'll step off the Reformer.

The 3 exercises in the Knee Stretch Series function as one long, brisk chain of movement. Try to minimize the time between Round, Arched and Knees Off.

If you find yourself futzing around a lot here, focus on just the 3 body positions without the repetitions at first.

  • Find the Round position and hold.
  • Change your back position to the Arched. Hips stay still!
  • Go back to Position 1, Round again.
  • Lift the knees up off the mat and hover a moment.

Get the positions in your body first.

Done correctly, this is an exercise in itself. When you add the repetitions again you'll be surprised at how solid you have become in the exercises.

A word about lifting the knees up off the mat

The position of the Knees Off stipulates that the carriage is in and does not move initially when you lift off the Mat. Here's where your scoop really pays off to hold that carriage in.

By the time you get to the Knees Off, Joe Pilates has taught you how to close the carriage 20 times. Use that knowledge now to keep the carriage closed as you lift up for the Knees Off.

It's also a good time to call upon your Pull Up on the Wunda Chair skills.

Post Knee Stretches and into Running and Pelvic Lift

  • Step off after you complete your Knee Stretch Series.
  • Add 1 spring so you will have a total of 3.
  • For an extra challenge, stay with 2 springs. Be sure to press out gently…
  • Lie down for Running and Pelvic Lift.

By this point in your workout you've been up, down and all around the Reformer.

Use Running and Pelvic Lift to return to your center (a la Footwork from the top of the workout), to cool down and to collect yourself after the rush of the Knee Stretches.

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post as well and move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series into shape in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.
  • The hits just keep on coming in post 7…yum, the Short Spine Massage!
  • Transitions 8! keeps us moving from Chest Expansion to the strap set up for Long Spine Massage.
  • Post 9 will get you from Corkscrew all the way to Long Spine Massage in style!

Upcoming Workshop:

On the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 10!

I am super excited for my upcoming workshop on Sunday, November 29, 2015. I'll be teaching in Raleigh, NC for the first time at Laurabpilates Studio.

Find out more info and register here.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 9!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 9!

Welcome to the 9th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

Post Snake/Twist and into the Corkscrew

As we discussed in an earlier post, immediately preceding the Corkscrew you'll need to set up your straps for the Long Spine Massage, which you'll do a bit later on.

Before you head off to the straps, scan your Reformer starting at the footbar end:

  • Add 1 spring. You now have 2 springs for Corkscrew.
  • As you walk to the back of the Reformer, put the headpiece down. VERY important!

Now let's review the strap set-up for the Long Spine Massage:

  • Leather straps and handles go together.
  • The long black extension strap goes through both the leather loop and the handle.
  • Be sure not to twist the black straps when clipping it up. #nomobiusinpilates
  • The clips should be free from any other straps and will face outward toward the sides of the Reformer. This way they will not be able to get caught up and potentially un-clip themselves.
  • Once you've finished your set up, place the black straps onto the pegs. They'll be ready when you are.

I have actually seen a clip come undone, take care to set up the straps neatly and safely.

Awesome. 

Long Spine Straps?

Check!

Okay, now you're ready to lie down for the Corkscrew.

Roll down after your last Corkscrew and begin your Tic Toc.

Finish your Tic Toc and slide down the carriage into position for the Control Balance.

Enjoy!

Post Control Balance and into the Long Spine Massage

  • Slide yourself back onto the carriage and against the shoulder blocks.
  • Reach for your straps and put them onto your feet for the Long Spine Massage.
  • Remember to lift your feet up into the straps – the carriage should not move!

Post Long Spine Massage

You've just done an amazing Long Spine Massage. Now we'll discuss how best to extricate yourself from the straps.

Here you've got some options:

1. Stretchfest 2015

A lovely ending I learned from Romana gives a nice stretch for the inner thighs and hips. Make it extra delicious by elongating the tailbone onto the mat and using your *gasp!* seat.

#gamechanger

  • Let the legs open up and out to the side for the stretch. Your hands can hold onto the straps or your inner thighs to guide you. Try to let the legs be passive.
  • Now hold the straps in your hands and use them to bring the legs together and straight up to the ceiling. Keep the hips down and the tailbone long and on the mat.
  • Reach your heels to the ceiling and pull gently down on the straps for greater stretch of the back and back of legs.
  • Follow with either (2) Strap Disposal 2.0 or (3 ) My Personal Favorite.

2. Strap Disposal 2.0

If you didn't select this option earlier after Short Spine Massage, you can opt for it here.

  • Lift your lower body up and over a la Overhead.
  • When legs are parallel to the floor, reach the heels away (flexing your feet) and let the straps fall off. Voilà!
  • Roll back down with control and step off.

3. My Personal Favorite

Although I find the extra transition tidbits above to be enjoyable, I prefer to use my post-Long Spine-Massage-time to be extra nice to my back.

Here you can place the Frog and Circles.

  • You've already got the straps on.
  • Lift up the headpiece before you begin your Frog.
  • After the Circles, simply take one set of straps in each hand and take them off your feet.
  • Deposit straps into the well of the Reformer and step off.

I love to feel how deeply one can get into these 2 foundational exercises at this point in the workout. Do just a few Frog (3-5x) and the same amount of Circles.

A little nice-nice for your back and a moment of calm before the next vigorous bit, the Knee Stretch Series.

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post to move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.
  • The hits just keep on coming in post 7…yum, the Short Spine Massage!
  • Transitions 8! keeps us moving from Chest Expansion to the strap set up for Long Spine Massage.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 8!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 8!

Welcome to the 8th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

Post SemiCircle and into the Chest Expansion

This was THE most important transition for my workout.

I had gotten into the habit of just hanging out for a bit after the SemiCircle. Perhaps it began as a blip in my memory about what comes next.

Or perhaps I'd never been a big fan of the exercises to come: Chest Expansion, Thigh Stretch, Arm Circles, Snake/Twist

All of which brings me to my first piece of advice to get into Chest Expansion:

Get off the Reformer!!

I was amazed at how much time I could shave off my workout just by *ahem* not stopping.

What a concept.

Know where you're going and get there

From the moment you approach the Reformer, know where you will place yourself for the exercises.

Chest Expansion

  • Pick up your handles from the pegs. (Option 2: The Make-Your-Future-Self-Happy way transition will ensure your handles are exactly where you need them to be).
  • With one handle in each hand, place yourself into your kneeling position for the exercise. No hands, please!
  • And go!

Thigh Stretch

  • Place your handles into one hand.
  • Reach back to add 1 spring (you will now have 3 springs total)
  • Take one handle into each hand and kneel up against the shoulder blocks.
  • Go!

Arm Circles

Here, efficiency is very important.

Though it may be tempting to stay on the carriage and turn around, you'll save time (and your knees) if you step off for just a moment so you'll be able to return again into the precise position.

  • After Thigh Stretch take your handles into one hand.
  • Step off to the same side as your hand with the handles.
  • Use your free hand to remove 2 springs (you now have just 1 spring remaining).
  • Take one handle into each hand behind your back (similar to getting on for Backstroke).
  • Place each foot and knee into its proper position.
  • Begin!

Snake/Twist

  • Post Arm Circles, take your handles into one hand and step off.
  • Place the straps and handles into the well of the Reformer.
  • Take your position for Snake/Twist: One foot, grab the carriage in your hands, other foot.
  • Go baby!

Post Snake Twist and into the Corkscrew

Before you lie down for the Corkscrew you'll prepare the straps if you plan to do the Long Spine Massage.

Set up the straps now while you are up, even though there are several exercises before you'll be needing them.

With the straps ready for you, you'll not interrupt the flow of the exercises by getting off the Reformer in the midst of the next few lying down exercises (Corkscrew, Tic Toc, Control Balance).

Setting up the straps for Long Spine Massage

Use the long black straps to extend the length of the leather straps (= Long Spine Massage) and you'll include the handle in the black straps as well so it will not drop down and hit you.

Take care not to twist the black straps when you clip them. Place the black straps onto the pegs, so they'll be ready and waiting for you.

Hey! Good for you!

Excellent, you've gotten the Chest Expansion mini-series all whipped into efficiency. I think it helps to move along and not think too much about it. I've spent many years trying to make these exercises perfect and I find it more helpful to do your best and move on.

Otherwise you'll never get to my very most favorite exercises in the next installment of Transitions! Transitions!

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post as well and move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series into shape in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.
  • The hits just keep on coming in post 7…yum, the Short Spine Massage!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 7!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 7!

Welcome to the 7th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

We’ve been working our way through the Order of the Pilates Reformer Exercises.

Post Short Box and into the Short Spine Massage

Perhaps my very favorite transition!

Just as you were efficient in your set up into the Short Box, try to work with the same economy of movement to return the box, pole and pad to their respective spots.

  • Step off.
  • Place the pad where it lives.
  • Take box and pole back to their spot.
  • Done!

Remember way back to our Long Box transitions?

(Check out this video for a quick recap of how to be your own Pilates minion!)

If you've been following along, your straps will be already set up for the Short Spine Massage. All you need do is pick them up.

  • Place your straps in one hand.
  • Walk as much as you can to sit on the Reformer and lie back.
  • Lift your feet into the straps and enjoy!

A word about getting into the straps for Short Spine Massage

Notice I use the word ‘lift' to get your feet into the straps. I know, not a surprise…

In the spirit of a-little-exercise-before-the-exercise, work to lift yourself and therefore your feet to the straps without moving the carriage. 

Do not pull on the straps to move the carriage and straps to your feet. Remember you are about to do the Short Spine Massage. You should be able to lift yourself into position for this exercise.

Think of it as good Pilates etiquette.

Post Short Spine Massage and into the SemiCircle

You've got 2 options for extricating yourself from the straps post Short Spine Massage. I use them both depending on how much Reformer I will be doing in my workout.

1. The Fun Way

This one's a bit of “Look what I can do!” and is of course another exercise-after-the-exercise kind of transition.

  • Begin another repetition and pause when your hips are over your shoulders.
  • Use control and lower your legs to be approximately parallel to the floor.
  • Flex your feet to allow the straps to fall off your feet and into the well of the Reformer.
  • Roll down onto the carriage with control and continue to SemiCircle.

The Fun Way is the right transition to pick if you will be working more at an intermediate level and finishing up your Reformer with just a handful of additional exercises. The straps can be deposited into the well because you will not need them for the rest of your workout.

If you plan to proceed to Chest Expansion and beyond, I would choose option #2.

2. The Make-your-future-self-happy Way

You know you will need the straps (handles) again for Chest Expansion and beyond so you will place them exactly where you will need them next: where they live behind the shoulder rests.

  • Finish your Short Spine Massage.
  • Remove the straps/handles from your feet.
  • Undo them so the handles are free.
  • Replace the handles onto the pegs behind the shoulder blocks. Later you'll find them all set up for Chest Expansion.

With the straps all sorted out, you're ready to slide down the carriage to position yourself for the Semi Circle.

Enjoy this short video tutorial. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!

In case you’ve missed one…

  • Check out the first Transitions! post to learn the purpose of an efficient Pilates transition.
  • Catch up on the 2nd post as well and move smoothly through the Rowing Series.
  • The 3rd installment will enhance your scoop and take you successfully into the Backstroke.
  • We hashed out the Big Transition into the Long Stretch Series into shape in post 4.
  • Transitions! 5! took us deep into the rhythm of the Stomach Massage Series.
  • My favorite, the Short Box Series gets the royal treatment in post 6.