Pulling the Thread

By: Carla Ricalis

(one exercise, many possibilities)

Whether teaching in person, online or a combination of both most instructors have fairly full schedules; it’s not uncommon to have 5 plus hours per day on a regular basis. And this can make innovative programming a challenge to maintain.

One of the more focused ways to think about client programming is to start with a challenging exercise and work your way down; that is, find the distinct strength patterns that are needed to access the movement and pull from other Pilates
exercises to make it happen. You’ll find that the hour can move quickly and be focused and fun for your clients.

Take a look at how we’ve pulled the thread on Kneeling Leg Pull on the Reformer Long Box with some contemporary Pilates exercises to help develop the awareness and strength to introduce the exercise into a client’s session

The off-centred position of the arms with the legs is what makes this exercise so challenging. There’s always a tendency to lean too far to one side or into too much hip flexion on the kneeling leg side.

So what are some ways to bring awareness and strength to the workout so that the end result for your client is a better connection to what we all know is a damn hard exercise?

Strength Area #1: Wrist Strength

Not just for this exercise but for so much of the intermediate and advanced repertoire, wrist and forearm strength are needed but often neglected. Try to integrate some basic exercises into each workout to help your clients with the endurance they need to pull these exercises off!

Strength Area #2: Standing Leg Abduction & Shoulder Girdle Strength

Get your clients paying attention to the connections needed between shoulder girdle, leg abduction and oblique strength in a standing position.

This is a great option for so many of the Pilates exercises that take us into balancing positions.

Strength Area #3: Oblique Chain Strength

Like #2 this contemporary exercise is drawing on the balance of one leg but with the pull of tension staying in the same plane as movement. The challenge of continuous movement in the arm and legs is increased with changes in the standing leg.

Remember, add these key exercises in throughout the workout – layer in your own sequences between each one or progress them through a series of workouts.

But thinking about ways to pull from some of the harder Pilates exercises is not only a good client programming tool, it’s a great way for you to stay on top of the harder exercises that don’t get enough studio time because of their difficulty.

Have fun!

Interested in learning more about pulling the thread and getting great content from the more challenging Pilates exercises? Join our From the Top Down workshop on Sunday, April 18 and learn some great exercise progressions from Studio3 owner Carla Ricalis. Email us at info@studiopower3.ca for the details and to sign up.