Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 5!

Welcome to the 5th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

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

In and Out of the Stomach Massage Series

The Stomach Massage Series presents us with yet another opportunity for efficient pace and tempo within an exercise series.

You'll strive to connect the exercises as though they were one continuous movement.

The body positions are slightly shifting and you are nearly in the same place on the apparatus.

But you've got some tasks to attend to (removing a spring) as you keep your steady pace.

Let's Move!

Stomach Massage Series #1: Round

Thanks Order of the Exercises: Transitions! 5!

First off you'll neatly sit into your first position. This one is ripe for futzing and fidgeting as you get into the “perfect” spot on the carriage.

No need to hang your butt off the edge of the carriage.

Sit where you'll find the most success to lift up out of your low back. I recommend a pad to sit on.

  • Sit with control and assume the position…
  • Notice the rhythm you'll create as you do your repetitions. You'll strive to keep pace with the rhythm you set up here as you remove the spring between exercises.
  • On the last repetition, get ready. You know which spring to remove and where you'll go to position yourself for the next exercise. This is part of your control. Know what you'll do and where you're going.
  • As you return the carriage, just as it closes remove 1 middle spring.
  • Keep your rhythm and begin #2: Hands Back as the carriage moves out again.
  • Relax, it's easy to get panicky, but you will calm yourself over time.

Stomach Massage Series #2: Hands Back

Thanks Order of the Exercises: Transitions! 5!

  • Keep your initial rhythm in place throughout the repetitions.
  • As the carriage returns on the last repetition, reach down and remove a second middle spring (you are now left with 2)
  • Move to #3: Reach as you move the carriage out.
  • Enjoy yourself!

Stomach Massage Series #3: Reach

Thanks Order of the Exercises: Transitions! 5!

  • Keep your initial rhythm in place throughout the repetitions.

Stomach Massage Series #4: Twist

Thanks Order of the Exercises: Transitions! 5!

  • Use your exhale to set the rhythm for this twisting exercise, which may slow your tempo a bit.
  • Finish the exercise and come up to standing.

A word about removing the springs

For the Stomach Massage Series, you'll begin with 3 or 4 springs.

Let's use the example of 4 springs.

After #1, use your right hand, reach through your legs to remove the middle-right spring (If you started with 3 springs, you'll get a pass on removing a spring at this point and continue on 3 springs for #2.).

After #2, use your left hand, reach through your legs to remove the middle-left spring.

Why?

I'm being very specific here and if my clients are working hard and sweating and moving along I probably wouldn't mention it.

However

For many people it's quite a stretch to reach all the way down to remove the springs from these compact seated positions.

Remember your arm is connected to your back. You can get a little extra back stretch – and practice reaching for things in your daily life even!! – on each side as you remove the 2 springs in the Stomach Massage Series.

I never miss an opportunity for a juicy back stretch…

Thanks, Joe.

Tendon Stretch Recap

Post Stomach Massage Series and into the Tendon Stretch

  • Slide the pad from Stomach Massage Series to the end of the carriage and hang it off the end a bit for security. I like to turn my pad longways at this point.

Otherwise, your Reformer is all set up for the Tendon Stretch – 2 springs and footbar up.

I know I could use a bit more practice on my transitioning into, during and out of the countless variations of the Tendon Stretch.

The Reformer is ready. Let's hope you are too.

Who's with me?

In and out of the Tendon Stretch 

  • I recommend a pad on the edge of the carriage.
  • Step up into position one hand, one foot, other hand, other foot.
  • Step off after the exercise one foot and then the other foot.

In and out of the Tendon Stretch one-leg variations

Here's a recent vlog on learning how to begin working on the Tendon Stretch one leg variations.

This week I have another clarification to add that I've found to be helpful.

  • We all have a tendency to be really heavy on our hands in the Tendon Stretch (and in many exercises where we get to hold onto that footbar).
  • In order to remove a hand while taking a leg to the side you cannot have all your weight on your arms.
  • Transfer your weight into the lower body.
  • With the carriage all the way in, work to really stand on your feet. 

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thanks 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.

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 4!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 4!

Welcome to the 4th installation of Transitions! Transitions!

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

The Big Transition

After Long Box 1 we'll move to the Long Stretch Series. This will be the first time you'll completely reset the Reformer: accessories, spring change, position change, new exercise series.

Post Long Box and into the Long Stretch Series

What are the components you'll need to adjust for the Long Stretch Series?

There's a bunch.

Scan the Reformer. I like to start at the footbar.

In this way you'll ensure that nothing gets forgotten.

(LIKE THE SPRING!!)

For maximum efficiency I suggest completing all changes before you remove the Long Box.

  1. Put the footbar up.
  2. Add 1 spring (for a total of 2).
  3. Add a pad to the headpiece (which is up).
  4. Finally, remove the Long Box.

Do these adjustments sequentially and you'll return to a Reformer that's all set up and ready for you to begin the Long Stretch.

In and Out of the Long Stretch Series

The Long Stretch Series will be our first opportunity for efficient pace and tempo within an exercise series.

You'll strive to connect the exercises as though they were one continuous movement.

The body positions are shifting but you are nearly in the same place on the apparatus for every exercise except the last one, the Long Back Stretch.

Give yourself an extra challenge by keeping a sharp eye on where the carriage is. As you move from Long Stretch to Down Stretch – from Down Stretch to Up Stretch – from Up Stretch to Elephant – use your stomach to keep the carriage closed between each of the exercises.

It's not easy.

The Long Stretch Series is a wonderful series to feel the individual rhythms of each exercise.

  • Long Stretch: pretty straightforward and even in tempo.
  • Down Stretch: you can really milk the exhale as you pull the carriage in forever. Lift!
  • Up Stretch: embrace the moment of undulation, followed by a steady solidness to close the spring and then reset.
  • Elephant: a small movement out and a controlled slower return of the carriage. Close it all the way if you can!

Deliberately move through this series giving each exercise its due.

Wait! The Long Back Stretch!

You've linked together all the exercises of the Long Stretch Series so far. Now, you'll be efficient as you step off and turn around to begin the Long Back Stretch.

Really the right side up version of everything that comes before it, the Long Back Stretch requires a precise way to get onto the Reformer.

  1. After Elephant step to the floor.
  2. Turn around to face the back of the Reformer.
  3. Get into position: Place one hand on the bar and the same side foot against the shoulder rest. Then the other side.
  4. Keep your lift and GO!

Efficiency Builds Stamina

Use these tips to save yourself precious steps and moments between exercises.

If only I could have learned to save steps for that hot minute when I was a waitress. Alas, it never made any sense without the Reformer…

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…

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 3!

Thanks Order of the Pilates Exercises: Transitions! 3!

Welcome to the 3rd installation of Transitions! Transitions!

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

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 Order of the Universe

Let's look briefly at a simple Transition! that you don't want to miss. It will take you deftly from the end of the Overhead and into Coordination without losing your connection.

#everybodyscoop

Post-Overhead and into Coordination

This Transition! is just a moment, but it's a nice Double-leg-pull-esque moment as you move from long limbs and the finish of the Overhead into your tiny curled up position for Coordination.

  1. Make sure you fully finish the last of your Overhead: legs down and arms reaching to return the carriage.
  2. Try not to relax too much – I know the Overhead is no easy feat – keep it together – it's just Coordination.
  3. Use your stomach to pull your legs and arms into position and lift your head up. Everything together into a tiny ball.

Post Pulling Straps (Pull and T) and into the Backstroke

For the Transition! after Pull and T Straps you have 3 options.

Remember the purpose of the transitions is to stay connected and moving in your workout. You'll be as efficient as possible.

If one transition allows you to move more efficiently and smoothly to the next exercise, then it may be the best one for you. See what you think.

My Pilates training taught me the first 2 options.

The 3rd one I have observed in the field. It's been used by many diverse clients. It works for them, it's simple and they sort of discover it naturally.

#useyourgut

Option 1: The Romana Special K

  1. After you finish the T, take your handles into 1 hand.
  2. If your handles are in the left hand, step off to your left.
  3. Use your free hand to add 1 spring (for a total of 2).
  4. Take one handle in each hand behind you and walk toward the front of the box.
  5. At a certain point the straps will be taut and you'll have to sneak your lower body forward and away from your handles to sit at the very edge of the box. The carriage should not move. It's hard to sit on a moving target.
  6. Use your stomach to lie back with control and assume your Backstroke position.

The Romana Special K may work better if you are taller (maybe I say that because I'm short) and you can get yourself easily centered on the box when you get there.

I do it, but then I'm often over-concerned: am I centered on the box? And there's a lot of wiggling that ensues.

Just because you're wiggling doesn't mean you're using your stomach.

Option 2: The Levitator

This is the Transition! I personally use.

  1. After you finish the T, take your handles into 1 hand.
  2. If your handles are in the left hand, step off to your left.
  3. Use your free hand to add 1 spring (for a total of 2).
  4. Take one handle in each hand behind you to begin.
  5. Stepping off to your left after T now puts you on the right side of the Reformer. Put your left hand on the box and left foot on either the footbar or the frame. Do not sit!
  6. Without sitting you'll put your right hand on the box and right foot on the footbar or frame. Keep your bottom up!
  7. Finally, sit on the front edge of the box.
  8. Lie back with control into the Backstroke.

Whew!

If that sounds crazy, please know that it's not. You may just want to watch the video and then say “Oh, yeah. I get it.”

Option 3: Autonomous Rex

I've seen clients successfully use this one. They know their order and they know where they're going.

Hey isn't that called #control?

  1. After you finish the T, take your handles into 1 hand.
  2. Sit up on the box and turn to the opposite side.
  3. Reach down with your free hand and add 1 spring (for a total of 2).
  4. Put one handle in each hand and turn to face the front of the Reformer.
  5. Sit on the front edge of the box and lie back with control for Backstroke.

I did not formally learn this Transition! but it seems to work well.

Efficiency Builds Stamina

Try these Transitions! options in your next workout.

As you shave off moments between exercises you'll open yourself to receive more riches and exercises from the Pilates Universe.

Your workout will always be about an hour, so challenge yourself to work as many exercises within in this timeframe as you are capable.

I know you're up to the task! Be brilliant!

Enjoy this short video tutorial.

Questions? Please leave them in a comment below.

Thank you so so much for watching!