Indirect Sequences

By: Carla Ricalis

(getting clients to do the workouts they’re here to do)

I teach Pilates. Or to be more specific, I teach movement through mat and equipment based Pilates exercises. If my client’s goal is to achieve more strength and greater mobility, my focus is to help them get there with Pilates because that’s what I know and do.

I’d rather offer up movement that eventually brings them back to the Pilates exercises instead of movement that shifts the focus away from it.

The more I can pull clients back to the Pilates exercises that are beneficial to them after moving through indirect sequences the better connected they are to the Pilates exercise.

I define an indirect sequence as one or more exercises outside of the Pilates repertoire that will develop strength smartly and promote efficient movement patterning to help clients access the targeted exercise.

It is often more functional. And it’s different from modifications or prep exercises because the client is usually moving in other planes, levels, range of motion and with an emphasis on recruiting muscles other than those used in the targeted Pilates exercise.

Take a classical mat exercise like the Double Leg Kick. Instead of breaking it down to the same movements done in several segments, let’s figure out what it’s about and see if we can create an indirect sequence in a different position, plane or range of motion to then bring them down to the floor and do the exercise and do it well.

Primarily, this exercise is about the posterior chain and coordination of the upper and lower body. So if this is my targeted exercise, what can I slip into the workout that might emphasize that same focus? Here’s a thought:

Not only am I getting my client into a different plane of movement, I’m challenging them to think about their back lines and moving into the space behind them. And programming wise , I have a functional exercise that I can introduce into my Pilates mat sequence to get them off the floor and challenge their stability and balance…