Apogee Life

The 8 Most Impressive Pilates Exercises
Putting yourself in the most difficult positions you can and posting it on Instagram is a really popular yogi thing to do. But if we're being honest, we all love seeing folks achieve really super advanced feats. Here is a list of some of the most awesome Classical Pilates exercises you'll see any Pilates practitioner or teacher achieve. These exercises are not for everyone - even for those who pride themselves in being among the strongest and most bendy in their classes. So be warned, these are advanced Pilates exercises and should only be practiced under the guidance of a qualified and experienced Pilates instructor. How many of these do you think you can do?

Advanced Thigh Stretch on the Reformer

The most ubiquitous piece of Pilates equipment in studios all over the world is the Reformer. The Thigh Stretch can be done on several pieces of Pilates equipment. As the name indicates it's purpose is to stretch the inner thigh muscles and improve hip stability. In the advanced form shown here, our pratictioner, model and actress, @elyssajobrown, adds a back bend to the Reformer's foot bar, for added difficulty, beauty and cool factor.

Back Bend on the Ladder Barrel

The Pilates Ladder Barrel was invented to allow practitioners to bend forward and backwards, and to isolate the deep abdominal muscles. This exercise is one of the most intense backbends in the method. Balance, focus, control, strength and some sereious spine flexibility are needed to accomplish this one.

Control Balance Off The Reformer

Do you want to strengthen your hip extensors, improve your hip flexibility and strengthen your core all at the same time? This exercise demonstrates the most beautiful, and one of the most challenging, ways to dismount a Reformer into one of the most recognizable ballet positions, the Arabesque.

Candlestick on the Cadillac

The Candlestick is one of the most incredible exercises in the Pilates repertoire. It strengthens your sides and arm muscles, but requires extreme control, balance and concentration to hold the final upside-down spectacle for more than 15 seconds. Check out the extremely athletic, @lmcw, pull of the inverted split variation while defying gravity.

Thigh Stretch on the Cadillac

This version of the Thigh Stretch utilizes the breathing bar of the Pilates Cadillac. The Cadillac is the magnum opus of Joe Pilates' inventions, hence the old-school 1940s reference. Our Pilates choreographer for these videos, @jordana_herman, loves this exersise on the Cadillac because of it's gracefulness and really cool lines.

Advanced Mat Teaser w/ Boomerang

If you are familiar with Pilates, the you definitely know the Teaser. The teaser is long known as being synonymous with lean and toned bodies. Broadway Actress, @iamsharronlynn levels up on an already difficult Teaser by adding one of the most diffcult Pilates exercises, The Boomerang.

Star on the Wunda Chair

This interesting fitness contraption call the Wunda Chair was invented by Joe as the first functional home-gym apparatus. It is actually able to convert into a regular chair! The chair, like the other apparatus', boasts a variety of exercises that work the Four S's of Pilates: Strength, Stability, Stretch and Stamina! The Star requires superhero strength, coordination, focus and balance. Watch our Wunda Woman, @jenavanel achieve the impossible.

Handstand on the Wunda Chair

The Handstand, also known as the Downward-facing Tree Pose in yoga, is an standard gymnastic stunt. But this isn't yoga or gymanstics - advanced students of Pilates raise the bar of the exercise by transitioning to and from the pedal of the unstable Wunda Chair. This exercise is not for the faint of heart and if you do dare to try this please have a friend spot you. We will not be held responsible for any injuries. Good Luck :)

12 Common Pitfalls of Pilates Instruction

Let's face it, the Pilates method is far from just any ordinary workout. What is it? Is it like Yoga? Is it resistance training? Personal training? Is it stretching? Is it graceful and controlled like ballet? Is it physical therapy? Yes, yes and more yes. The focus however is on continual movement from the core. It is a mindful, whole body experience that balances every cell in your being! It cleanses your soul and revitalizes your body, mind, and spirit. The very mobilization of your spine and its continual movement unleashes built up toxins in the body like no other method. Its healing properties lie within the continual and controlled movements of the classical biomechanically sound method. As instructors, we know that the various personality types, intentions, and will of each of our students make this very humbling method a real challenge to teach.

In order to fully assess good, great, or even excellence in teaching it is important to first understand bad teaching. Below are some common pitfalls that create ineffective teaching:

1. Using the word "don't": I call this negative teaching. Aren't we supposed to guide and teach what to do? Instead of saying, "don't" it would be better to just tell your students what to do and teach them how to do it.

2. Using inappropriate words: "Stomach"- when cueing abdominals. The stomach is an organ not a muscle. "Down"- We need to resist and squeeze so hug would be a better replacement. What you say and how you say it is interpreted in a positive or negative way both mentally and physically. We must pay attention to how our words affect others.

3. Sitting down while teaching: This not only creates lackluster energy for the student, but also limits the eye of the instructor therefore placing the student in an unsafe and ineffective place. Remember that energy creates energy.

4. Demonstrating exercises: Students do not pay to watch us workout. Our words should be enough to guide their experience. If you find yourself having to demonstrate or use too many words, then think about whether or not you're teaching above the level that your student is ready for.

5. Looking for perfection in a student: Perfection does not exist. As Bob Liekens, a Pilates Master Instructor, has said on many occasions, "Perfection does not exist. The definition of perfection is simply someone doing his or her best. That is all you can ever ask for." I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. As Joseph Pilates said, if your student comes to their lesson with "body, mind and spirit" that's all you need. Without their "spirit" or intention on doing their best your hour will be a long one.

6. Placing unrealistic demands on students: A student will only be able to process and do what he/she is ready to hear, understand, and internalize in the body. Although our job is to guide and challenge, we also have to understand the present limits of the student. Over time, with continual practice, the student should be able to progress when ready

7. Re-acting: As instructors we have to realize that everyone comes to practice Pilates for different reasons. The place from which you teach always be felt.

8. Chatting about things other than the exercises while teaching: Many students like to chat and sometimes it is challenging to not get caught up in conversations about life outside of the studio, but as educators who only have 55 minutes to make an effective change on someone's body, we must try to limit the chatting. One way to handle this might be to spend the first 5 minutes chatting it all out. After that state that this is their time and that it's time to get to work.

9. A lack of focus on the student: If you are tired or burnt out, it is time to sub out. Your student's safety is in your hands. A lack of focus comes from your fatigue or boredom with what you are doing. Missed spring changes, headrests up when they should be down etc, are common errors when an instructor has checked out. In addition, if you are not focused, how will your student ever learn to focus?

10. Not wearing rubber soled supportive shoes when teaching: This is not only mandatory for the safety of your own feet but also important when spotting your students on the equipment or in a class.

11. Chewing gum or eating: Sorry, but this is just obvious!

12. Failure to clean equipment: Failure to make sure that your students clean their equipment up properly and set the springs up for the next student is a Pilates' etiquette no-no.

A good teacher must be patient, compassionate, yet firm and commanding; they must be in charge. "Contrology" (or as we call it today the "Pilates" method) is a challenging and even humbling practice to embark upon. To be good, you have to be able to read people; to sense their intentions, how they learn, and how far you can push them. You must teach with simplicity and clarity, yet still be able to move your students forward. Good teachers are relatable, strong, clear, and concise. This is the art of teaching Pilates - using your connection with your students to work the method into them.

Can Pilates Solve my Back Pain?
Back pain is a very complicated topic. Many people suffer daily from some degree of undefinied back pain while other people have specific issues such as herniated or ruptured discs, Scoliosis, Osteoporosis or Spinal Stenosis to name a few. Sometimes back pain can radiate from areas in the hips, for example Sciatica or can be a result of ITB band syndrome which is a tightening of specific muscles in the legs.

The type and amount of physcial activity you can engage in will depend upon what condition the spine is in and what your diagnosis is. If you have been suffering from ongoing back pain it is important to seek the help of a medical professional to determine the cause of the pain. Imagery such as an X-ray or MRI can be very helpful in these circumstances. Pilates teachers, even the most experienced ones are not Physical Therapists unless they hold an additional certification. If your doctor advised you to see a PT this will be an important part of your recovery and shouldn't be ignored.

Once the source of the pain has been identified it is possible that beginning a Pilates routine attending private session 1-2 times weekly for a period of months could be highly beneficial. It could aid in pain relief by strengthening all the muscles surrounding the compromised area. Increasing blood circulation will assist in healing and stimulating the affected area and the deep breathing exercises will help aleviate some of the restriction most people with acute or chronic back pain suffer from. As you begin classes it is important to communicate your pain levels and comfort level to the teacher as this will provide important information for both the client and teacher to modify the workout accordingly.

If you recently fell and have no prior issues with back pain all the recommendations above are advised. Once the acute phase of pain has passed you can return to or begin a modified Pilates routine. If you've been injured or have been suffering from back pain it's always recommended to start one on one with a teacher regularly for a few months.

Many teachers and clients love Pilates because it solved their back pain, helped them heal, strengthen and relieve their bodies of pain. Remember to be patient and give your body time to return to movement and heal as you go through this process.

Congrats, You're a Pilates Teacher! Now What?
You put in all the apprentice hours at the studio. You studied, worked out every day, and taught friends, family, and complete strangers for next to nothing. You were tested, evaluated, questioned, and tested again. Now, finally, you have your teaching certificate and your long journey is over. Or is it?

To keep yourself sane during this exciting transition to full-fledged teacher, here are some things to remember as you venture into the pilates world:

1.Keep the Manual Handy!

What? After lugging that huge manual around for months and perhaps years, you can't put it down yet? No. Absolutely not. Your real learning begins NOW, and now is when you will need that manual the most. Okay, maybe you don't have to carry it with you everywhere you go, but absolutely know where it is at all times, and more importantly - don't be afraid to use it! After all, there are hundreds of exercises in there, some of which (okay probably a lot) you might not teach that often, and your manual is going to help you stay on top of things. And if it's a really good manual, it also has anatomy charts, guidelines on teaching special populations, and breath, cueing, and touch recommendations for every client under the sun.

2. Find a Mentor.

If your studio hasn't already done so, look for a teacher with solid experience (5+ years). It could be the senior instructor you're taking lessons from, or another teacher that you admire and want to emulate. When issues arise with a certain client or class, it's helpful to have someone to check in with. Get a seasoned professional's unique point of view and learn different techniques that come with real-time experience.

3. You CAN Say,"I Don't Know".

Often, new teachers are given a lot of different clients and classes, with a wide array of people and varying physical issues and conditions. After all, you're trying to get as many teaching hours in as possible, right? You want to help them. You want to share this fabulous method with them. And like any good teacher, you want to be able to answer any and all questions thrown your way. But remember this: You don't have all the answers and you are not a medical professional. So when your favorite client starts complaining about aches and pains; be compassionate and sensitive, but never diagnose. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, but I will look into it and in the meantime, maybe you should check with your doctor." The least helpful thing you can do is to tell a client they have XYZ condition when you may only be guessing or speculating.

5. Educate Yourself.

I know, you've just spent the last year doing that very thing, but your learning should never end. Let me repeat: Your learning should never end! Maintain your current certification by taking continuing education credits with your certifying organization. While also venturing outside of your group and take from other renowned teachers. Many popular and prominent teachers travel around the world looking to teach people just like you. Go to conferences and conventions and continue to broaden your pilates horizons!

6. Have Fun!

Yes, fun. If you don't enjoy what you do, why are you doing it? Remember to never take things too personally. Understand that your clients have bad days (just like you), get stuck in traffic (just like you), have a poor night's sleep (just like you), and they can bring a lot of that into their sessions and classes. Stay focused, and try not to react. Be positive, encouraging, and uplifting. The place from which you come will be felt. Now go forth and share the pilates love!

Q & A with Cheryl Turnquist
What do you remember about the first time you tried Pilates?
It was in 1999 in the basement of someone's house where she had 2 reformers, one tower, and a chair. There were only 3 Pilates instructors at the time in Rhode Island, and it was hard to get sessions with any of them. It was a very strange experience for sure and we left asking each other... what was that? What is this all about? And when can we go back for more?

What is a misconception about Pilates you want to clarify?
That it is 'like yoga' ... When I tell people I am a Pilates instructor, I often hear.. 'oh, isn't that like Yoga?' NO!!! it's not like Yoga at all! And then I list why.

The best piece of advice you've received?
Never give up ... there were moments in the beginning when I was just starting out when I wondered how it was going to work and if I had done the right thing by going for this career change ...The mentor instructors I trained with believed in me and kept me on track ... I'm so glad I listened and didn't give up!

What advice would you give a Pilates teacher just starting out?
Never stop learning ... be patient... and understand that it is a process that requires hard work and time to build a clientele. That being said, it can be the greatest job you ever have.

What were your last 3 purchases?
Guinea Pig food (we have 2); Dunkin Donuts ice coffee (my favorite), a book on my Kindle - Wild - about a young woman who walked the Pacific Coast Trail alone.

When did you feel you made a difference as a Pilates teacher?
Hmmm... I think it happened early on when I had several clients with back issues continue to report that they felt so much better after they had done their Pilates workouts. And I have seen clients through pregnancies, loss of spouses, major illnesses and surgeries... and all of them have said that doing the Pilates helped them in some way through their issues and they so looked forward to coming to the studio

What is your greatest indulgence?
Chocolate! I love chocolate (except white chocolate) and find a way to get some into every day!

Do you have any funny client stories?
Aside from the guy who pulled his pants AND shorts off at the same time - (It was the change of seasons and he wanted shorts inside but threw jogging pants on over them... and then somehow grabbed both because he was distracted) GASP!!!

What do you do to unwind after a long day of teaching?
We love board games at my house. We play family board games like Yahtzee, Sequence, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Uno, you name it... we try it

When did you feel like a Pilates teacher?
Sometimes I still ponder that question! I think when I bridged into Power in 2006 I felt confident then that I really was doing things right and I was on the right path.

What is your personal motto?
'If you really want something bad enough you will figure out a way to do it'... I figured out how to get funding to start my business and I really wanted to make it work. When new instructors lament to me about having a hard time getting clients I tell them those words.. you have to figure it out and then you make it work. It may require changes to your current routine or lifestyle, etc... but... if you want it bad enough, you will figure out a way to make it work.

Cheryl Turnquist
Cheryl is a Power Pilates Teacher Trainer, Chair of the Power Pilates Curriculum Committee and owner of the Providence Pilates Center in Providence, RI. She has been teaching since 1999 originally certified by the Physicalmind Method of Pilates. She Bridged into Power Pilates in 2006 and is PMA certified. Along with Pilates she also holds certifications with AFAA group fitness, spinning, TRX suspension systems, Yogafit and more.

How to get Certified in Pilates?

So you've decided you want to become a Pilates teacher - that's great! Getting Certified to teach Pilates is a significant investment in terms of time and money, so it's worth taking your time to find the best program for you. Ask your favorite Pilates teachers where they got certified and what they liked and disliked about their education. You'll want to look for a program that includes Mat and Apparatus teacher training for Beginner to Advanced clients in your preferred style - Contemporary or Classical. Look over the curriculum and make sure it includes the tools you'll need to succeed, such as teaching strategies, adaptations for special cases, and anatomy. Good programs include lots of hands on time as an apprentice, where you'll get the opportunity to observe experienced teachers and practice teaching yourself.

A Comprehensive Apparatus certification may include 600 hours of weekend intensives, apprenticeship, required sessions, and more. Make sure you understand all the costs of the program, such as required semi-private sessions or reading material you need to purchase, before registering. Remember that this is an investment in your career. The cheapest option might be cheap for a reason. Most programs offer payment plans to help you distribute your payments more evenly. Once you've decided on a program, register well in advance of your start date so you can get to work on prerequisites such as required reading, Anatomy courses, and private or semi-private sessions.

What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Although Pilates and Yoga do have many similarities, their areas of focus and the way the methods achieve their results are very different. Yoga's main purpose is to utilize exercises, breathing and meditation to achieve calmness and peace. Yoga uses only a Mat to create a comfortable experience. Pilates focuses on achieving personal well-being by improving the body's range of motion, balance and overall strength. The method, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, utilizes a wide range of equipment to assist the body in achieving ideal form and function.

A Pilates Mat has extra padding which differes from a Yoga Mat. The padding protects the spine during rolling exercises, as well as hips, knees and other sensitive areas. While Yoga poses flow from one to the next in a sequence. Each Pilates exercise is repeated for a certain number of repetitions before flowing to the next exercise.

Yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India. Pilates was developed over Joseph Pilates lifetime with the first studio opening in 1927.

Most Pilates teachers trace there teaching method back to an Elder or student of Joseph Pilates. There have only been a handful of new styles of Pilates created. Some Pilates teachers are open to the styles while others think the name "Pilates" should be reserved for the classical method only.

Yoga, older then Pilates but with many new branches of Yoga being created regularly. The spiritual connection to the practice making the experience differ for each individual.

What is the Pilates Powerhouse?

The concept of the Pilates Powerhouse has been given multiple meanings. Some use it to refer to the abdominal part of the body. While others use imaginative cueing to explain how to connect to a particular muscle group. We think Romana Kryzanowska, Joseph Pilates' legendary student, meant for it to be a dynamic approach to life. The Powerhouse is a set of actions that produce correct posture. Correct posture leads to spinal health which is dependent on spinal flexibility and mobility. The Powerhouse isn't just the area that you work on to strengthening and stretching in a Pilates session, but also the actions that build on each other in all planes of movement, and include opposition and concentration. The actions are specific for working the area that each level is ready to engage.

What is the first Pilates Exercise?

The first Pilates exercise is called the Hundred. This is a great exercise to warm up the body and get your blood pumping. Begin by lying on the Mat. Bend your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms "pump" vigorously, lifting up and down no higher than hips. While pumping arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. Beginners may keep their legs bent as though they are lying down while sitting in a chair, or keep legs lying long on the Mat. Advanced students may extend their legs at a high diagonal or lower them keeping them as close to the Mat as possible without touching it.
The Hundred may be performed with a Magic Circle between legs or arms. It is also performed on the Reformer during a typical apparatus session.

In an apparatus sessions a teacher may split the Hundred teaching half the repetitions on the Mat and half on the Reformer. When performing the Hundred on the Reformer lie down on the carriage. A teacher will put the handles in the hands of a Beginner client while an Intermediate or Advanced client can take the handles themselves. The footbar is lowered again by the teacher fro Beginners or by the client for students at a higher level. Pressing the carriage out by reaching the arms long the exercise is performed in a similar way as it was done on the Mat. This time the tension from resisting the springs is felt in the body. Helping with alignment. Lighter springs or less springs may be used for clients that still need to build up their strength. In a typical classical session 4 springs are used unless the client is under 5 feet tall and then the Reformer is put in negative gear and 3 springs are used. If the client is straining their neck they can support it by utilizing the head rest.

How to do The Seal in Pilates?

The Seal is a Classical Pilates exercise near the end of the Mat order. The rhythmic rolling gives the spine a much needed massage. Begin by sitting on the Mat with your legs bent. Touch both heels together and dive your hands between your legs, holding on to the outside of each heel, lifting feet slightly off the Mat. Balancing on the sacrum, roll back on to the shoulders and clap feet three times using control, then roll up onto the sacrum and clap feet three times. Beginners can leave out the claps.

How to do the Swan in Pilates?

The Swan is a Classical Pilates exercise, similar to the yoga 'Cobra' pose. It is performed after The Saw in the Pilates Mat order. This is a great exercise for stretching your spine. Begin by lying flat on your stomach, facing down on the Mat. Your arms should be bent with your elbows close to your sides and palms facing down. Make sure your elbows are up and legs are together. Float your hands off the Mat, pressing your hip bones into the Mat. Slowly lift your chest off the Mat. Press your hands back down on the Mat and lift your upper body higher, floating your hands off the Mat as you begin to lower then place your hands back on Mat as you return to the starting position. The Swan can also be performed with a Magic Circle between the hands.

How to do the Saw in Pilates?

The Saw is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Saw is performed after The Corkscrew. This is a great exercise for stretching your spine and pelvic stability. The Saw is similar to the Spine Stretch Forward exercise with a twist. Begin by sitting up straight and stretching your arms out to the sides towards 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock at shoulder height with palms facing down. As you twist one hand to the opposite foot, sweep the back arm down behind the body while the other arm reaches forward. Twist as far as you can, but always keep your sit bones against the Mat. Return to the starting upright position to switch sides and repeat. Beginners can sit on a Moon Box and bend knees slightly. More Advanced clients can increase the momentum. The Saw can also be performed with a Magic Circle between your hands.

How to do the Pilates Scissors?

Scissors is a Classical Pilates exercise. It is the third exercise in the Ab Series of Five, following the Double Leg Stretch. It is a great hamstring stretch. Begin by lying on the Mat, hugging knees into the chest as you lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend legs up to a high diagonal, placing hands behind one calf as you pull towards you twice while extending the other leg out. Then change legs. Beginners may place hands behind the thigh. For an added challenge, reach hands behind your ankle and lower the other leg closer to the Mat. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle between hands.

How to do a Double Leg Stretch in Pilates?

The Double Leg Stretch is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Double Leg Stretch follows the Single Leg Stretch in the Ab Series of Five. Breathwork plays an important part in performing this exercise. This exercise stretches the hips while challenging stability. Begin by lying on the Mat. Exhale as you hug both knees into your chest with your head and shoulders off the Mat. Place your hands in the middle of your shins. Inhale while extending both legs higher than 45 degrees and arms overhead. From overhead, move arms to your sides as you hug both legs into your chest and repeat the exercise. Beginners may work on just the arms or just the legs. For an added challenge, lower your legs without touching the Mat. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle between ankles or hands.

How to do a Single Leg Stretch in Pilates?

The Single Leg Stretch is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Single Leg Stretch is the first exercise in the Ab Series of Five. Breathwork plays an important part in performing this exercise. This exercise stretches the hips while challenging stability. Begin by lying on the Mat, hugging your knees into your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the Mat, keeping one knee in as you extend the other leg out to 45 degrees. Place the inside hand on your knee and the outside hand on your ankle. Pull your leg into your chest while lengthening the other leg in opposition and then switch. Exhale as you pull your leg into your chest and inhale when changing legs. For an added challenge, lower the extended leg closer to Mat and inhale for one set, then exhale for one set. This exercise can also be performed with a Magic Circle in hands overhead.

How to perform Rolling like a Ball in Pilates?

Rolling like a Ball is a Classical Pilates exercise. Rolling Like a Ball follows One Leg Circles and precedes the Ab Series of Five. The rhythmic rolling gives the spine a much needed massage. Begin by sitting on the Mat, hugging your legs into the chest with hands on your shins. Open your knees to the width of your shoulders and dive your head between your knees. Balance with your feet off the Mat and roll back on to your shoulder blades and back up. Beginners can work with a more open shape, rolling with hands under knees or focus on just balancing. Advanced clients can roll further back than shoulder blades. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle in hands or between the ankles with hands behind the thighs. Inhale as you roll back and exhale on the roll up.

How to do One Leg Circles in Pilates?

One Leg Circles is a Classical Pilates exercise. One Leg Circles is performed before Rolling Like a Ball. It is a great hamstring stretch to warm up the hip joint and challenge pelvic stability. Begin by lying on your back with one leg extended up to the ceiling and the other leg stretched out long on the Mat. Circle your leg, using smaller circles for Beginners and larger circles for a challenge. Try not to move hips while circling your leg. This exercise can also be performed on the Tower with one foot under the strap or with a Magic Circle between hands.

How to do a Pilates Roll Up properly?

The Roll Up is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Roll Up is the second exercise in the Pilates Mat order. Breathwork plays is an important part in performing this exercise. Begin by lying on your back. Inhale while lifting your arms to the ceiling. Lift your head and exhale while rolling up and reaching forward. When your hands are parallel to your feet, inhale as you start rolling back. Exhale as you connect your spine vertebrae by vertebra, ending laying down on the Mat with arms overhead. This exercise can also be performed on the Cadillac or Tower with feet under the Footstrap and holding a weighted pole overhead.

How to do the Hundred in Pilates?

The Hundred is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Hundred is the first exercise in the Pilates Mat order followed by the Roll Up. This is the exercise everyone thinks about when hearing the word Pilates. This is a great exercise to warm up the body by stimulating circulation and heart pumping, while engaging in the mind-body connection. Begin by lying on the Mat. Bend your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms pump vigorously, lifting up and down no higher than the hips. While pumping arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. Beginners may keep legs bent as though they are lying down while sitting in a chair. Or keep legs lying long on the Mat. Advanced students may extend their legs at a high diagonal or lower them keeping them as close to the Mat as possible without touching it. The Hundred may be performed with a Magic Circle between legs or arms. It is also performed on the Reformer during a typical apparatus session.

In an apparatus sessions a teacher may split the Hundred teaching half the repetitions on the Mat and half on the Reformer. When performing the Hundred on the Reformer lie down on the carriage. A teacher will put the handles in the hands of a Beginner client while an Intermediate or Advanced client can take the handles themselves. The footbar is lowered again by the teacher fro Beginners or by the client for students at a higher level. Pressing the carriage out by reaching the arms long the exercise is performed in a similar way as it was done on the Mat. This time the tension from resisting the springs is felt in the body. Helping with alignment. Lighter springs or less springs may be used for clients that still need to build up their strength. In a typical classical session 4 springs are used unless the client is under 5 feet tall and then the Reformer is put in negative gear and 3 springs are used. If the client is straining their neck they can support it by utilizing the head rest.

How to do a Teaser in Pilates?

The Teaser is a Classical Pilates exercise. Similar to the calisthenic V-ups or "Frankies." The Teaser is performed after the Sidekick Series. This exercise challenges balance and core stability. Begin by lying on your back, knees bent into chest. Lift head and shoulders while extending legs to 45 degrees. Keeping the legs out, lift the arms to parallel the legs. Roll up like you're trying to sit, then roll back down and lower legs. This exercise can also be performed on the Reformer, Wunda Chair, Cadillac, Tower, or with a Magic Circle. Beginners can start with knees bent and feet on the Mat and work on extending one leg at a time. Advanced Clients can start with arms extended behind ears while lowering and lifting legs.

How to host Pilates Teacher Training in a studio?

Hosting a Pilates Teacher Training is a great way to bring in new clients and find new teachers for your studio. Your first decision is choosing an education program to apply to host. Programs vary widely in quality and content, so do some research online and ask trusted teachers for their recommendations. Once you have selected a program, submit your host application. The requirements to host a Mat Program are typically less stringent than for Apparatus Programs, where certain brands and pieces of apparatus may be required. Your host contract will specify your responsibilities and benefits. Host studios often receive a free seat in a training class after a certain number of registrations and may receive discounts on other programs and merchandise.

Hosting options vary:

- Franchise: Some require you make a specific investment of your own money to buy in to join a franchise.

- Partnership: Others share a percentage of the profits. In those cases you decide how much time and money you are comfortable investing. The more you put in the more you'll get out.

- Private Hosting: You pay up front for a private training held at your studio for your trainers

- Rental: A specific amount of money is agreed on by the studio and education provider. Less work and control by the studio and the money is limited.

How to prepare for your Pilates Mat Certification?

Congratulations on your decision to become a Pilates Teacher! Mat Certification, usually a Beginner Mat intensive, is the first step in your teaching education. Prerequisites vary by program but typically include taking a minimum number of Mat classes, some Anatomy study or required reading, and memorizing the order of exercises. The minimum number of Mat classes is just that - a minimum. The more classes you can take, the better you will know the exercises and order in your own body and be ready to teach. If you're an advanced Mat student, consider taking a few intro or Beginner classes so that you can focus on the Beginner order and modified versions of the exercises. Start studying your anatomy materials and order of exercises well in advance of your program start date. You need to be able to focus on learning to teach the exercises during your intensive, not what they are or the order they go in. A little preparation will go a long way towards making your certification experience a fun and productive one.

What is the difference between Classical and Contemporary Pilates?

Pilates is Pilates is Pilates - Right? Well, not exactly. The Pilates method was created in the early 20th century by its namesake, Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates never trademarked his method, so there is quite a variety of classes taught as Pilates - some quite close to the original method and some so far removed that they really shouldn't be called Pilates.

The original students of Joseph Pilates or "elders" passed on what they had learned. The elders each had their own experience with the method as well as their own interpretation of how and what to teach. Taking what they learned and trying to improve upon it. Some changed it more then others. They each had students or "2nd generation". Some of them started their own schools as well, again making slight changes.

There are two modern schools of Pilates: Classical and Contemporary. Classical programs, such as Power Pilates, focus on preserving the exercises as Joseph Pilates taught them and in the order he taught them. There are slight variations between Classical schools as to the real version and order, but the overall method is largely the same. The sequence of the exercises beings with the client lying down where gravity can assist in gaining the connection to the core. They progress to sitting or standing during the session.

Contemporary programs vary more widely and may incorporate new exercises and variations or pull from other modalities, such as physical therapy, yoga, boxing, golf, horse back riding, and surfing.

What is a Pilates Tower?

Most of the exercises performed on the Cadillac can be performed on the Tower. Many take advantage of the padded raised mat to teach Mat classes. The foot strap is helpful for Beginners to stabilize their hips. Moon boxes can line up the feet for exercises like
Saw. They can also be used to sit on raising the hips for individuals with tight hamstrings. Many modern Pilates apparatus combine Reformer and Tower units. Some use TRX straps with their Towers.

The Wall Units, (Tower) is actually the Cadillac, minus the surrounding frame and trapeze, with all the springs and components placed at one end connected to a wall.

The Wall Unit was designed to save space and allow for multiple units. The design originated at the dance department at SUNY Purchase, and was combined with Mr. Pilates design for a “door frame gym” at home.

A Guillotine Tower attaches to the ceiling the mat lies centered between the unit and springs and fuzzy straps hang form a pole.

A Spring Wall, a wall attachment with straps and springs incorporates some of the exercises of the Tower unit without the padded Mat, or Push Through bar.

A Tower class should follow the horizontal to vertical progression. Typically beginning with a Mat warm-up, then introduce the apparatus pieces and springs, working “tower or Cadillac” exercises from horizontal to vertical to finish class.

A Tower class is appropriate for a strong beginner to intermediate client, with a connection to the primary powerhouse and ready to work on secondary powerhouse. They should also be somewhat familiar with the Cadillac/Tower exercises.

What is a Pilates Neck Stretcher?

Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method and inventor of all Pilates apparatus, originally designed the Neck Stretcher to lengthen and strengthen the neck muscles. Joe Pilates was a boxer and gymnast and felt it was important to strengthen the neck muscles. This apparatus also strengthens the facial muscles and promotes spinal stability against force from the head. The springs used are very strong, so great care should be taken when using the Neck Stretcher. Initiation must come from a strong Powerhouse.

What is a Ladder Barrel?

Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was a beer drinker. Beer was delivered to him in barrels. Once empty, Joe saw an opportunity to play with the beer barrels and its metal rings. He used them to invent a new piece of exercise equipment. The Barrels, Ladder, Spine Corrector and Small Barrel are used in the practice of Pilates to support the flexion and extension of the spine with gravity.

What is the Pilates Cadillac?

The Pilates Cadillac is a piece of equipment that most closely represents that of a bed with a frame. It takes our classic Mat and adds the springs for support and challenge. The trapeze table was developed in the mid 50's or early 60's. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, made all of his creations in the basement of his building. When he brought it up into the studio, one client saw the table and said "Hey Joe, is that your new Cadillac?" and the name stuck. Joe possibly got the idea of this table after working with Eve Gentry, one of his clients, in the hospital after her mastectomy. Another theory is that the trapeze came from his father's days as an amateur gymnast or his original gymnastic clientele. Exercises on the Cadillac help to develop gorgeous lean muscles and improve blood flow and circulation.

What is a Reformer?

The Pilates "Medico-Mechanical System" or the "Universal Reformer," was created in the mid 1920s in Hamburg, Germany and originally designed without legs, has the same shape as the mat. It has a smaller mat or "carriage" that moves on wheels within the frame of the reformer. The frame was originally attached to weights and pulleys with resistance ranging from 20-1000 pounds. It was not until Joe Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was in America that he adapted springs to his apparatus. The movement done on the Reformer is to both push against resistance as well as to resist the weights as the carriage moves back to the gear bar. This was the second apparatus that Joe created. He wanted to create a machine that would push and pull his clients for him.

Over the years there have been many variations made to the Reformer.
The accessories and parts to the Reformer include:

Springs: Classical apparatus use springs all of the same weight. While some of the contemporary equipment manufacturers have springs of varying resistance. Each manufacturer uses its own color coding system for each weighted spring. Classical Reformers have 4 springs while some have started adding a 5th spring at a varying weight.

Frame: The body of the Reformer may be made of wood or metal and varies in length from 80", 86", 89", 93".

Straps: Straps can be made of leather, vinyl, or rope.

Handles: Handles can be made of wood, metal, leather or wool.

For the Feet: platforms that cover the springs, jump boards with cloth padding, wood, or resembling a trampoline , foot straps, foot bar, disks that rotate on the jump board.

Combinations: Some Reformers have a Tower or Cadillac attachment. They may also come with a Mat that sits on top of the Reformer for Mat or Cadillac work.

What is Classical Pilates?

Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Classical Pilates teaches the exercises taught by founder Joseph Pilates, in the order that he taught them and the names he referred to them. Romana, one of Joseph Pilates disciples, organized the exercises into levels or systems to make the method more accessible; Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The levels build on each other. The same exercise may be taught at each level in the same order in a more challenging way, while new exercises are added. The progression of a workout starts in a horizontal position lying down, where gravity helps activate the core connection and progresses to a vertical sitting or standing. The Classical method centers on the 6 principles of Pilates: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow. The method incorporates more than 500 controlled precise movements created by Joseph Pilates.

What is a Pilates Beginner Workout?

All students, regardless of their strength or flexibility, start with the Beginner System. Joseph Pilates didn't have a Beginner System, but he did teach specific exercises as the foundation.

Romana, one of his students, changed the order of exercises to make the progression more logical and improve flow and support to the body while using the foundation exercises. As Joe says, "You are only as old as your spine is flexible". Since gravity works against the spine while standing upright, it was Joe's genius to have students start with exercises lying down.

The student is introduced to the basic concepts of the method. At the Beginner level, a session starts lying down on the Mat performing the Hundred, progresses to the Reformer, then the third section called "Individual needs" which at the Beginner level, includes the Cadillac and High Chair followed by "Endings", which at the Beginner level, includes exercises standing utilizing a wall for support.

The Beginner exercises also introduce the client to the Pilates system. As the client becomes stronger they will continue to perform the Beginner exercises but in a more challenging way, as the teacher slowly adds additional exercises.

A beginner workout at one studio may differ from a beginner workout at another studio depending on where the teachers received their training and how much they follow it. If new to Pilates or trying a different studio take a private session for personalized attention. Private sessions are also good for someone recovering from an injury.

Consistent practice will leave the client feeling rejuvenated and energized as they walk out of the session.

Can you perform Pilates anytime?

While most people don't have access to Pilates apparatus at their homes, they can utilize it at any Classical Pilates studio. The Pilates Mat exercises can be performed in a studio, at home, in the park or at a beach. You will notice an improvement in your posture and a connection to your core following a session. The more you do Pilates, the easier it will be to recognize when you are slouching.

Can you perform Pilates Anytime?

That is up to the individual. Start your day before work with Pilates or end your day before bed with Pilates. Follow along with an online video Mat class or take classes at a studio. Private, Duet, or Semi Private sessions are best to learn the exercises, apparatus, and build up your strength. Schedule a session on a lunch break, get a friend to join you so you are accountable to showing up and making time to feel good. A physical therapist may recommend Pilates to their patients and put them on a specific schedule. Professional athletes practice Pilates on the off season or to recover from injuries. Actors and models are often photographed by the paparazzi leaving Pilates classes showing off their abs. Scroll through you instagram feed and you may see a selfie of someone with a caption noting they are doing Pilates in a random place. The pose may show flexibility, balance, and strength but may have nothing to do with Pilates. Anytime...? You can engage your core anytime after practicing Pilates regularly. But can you do Pilates anytime? That depends on you.

How to become a Pilates Instructor?

Becoming a Pilates Instructor is a great way to do what you love and earn a living doing so! To teach Pilates, you'll want to get certified by a reputable Pilates company, such as Power Pilates. Ask teachers you respect for recommendations on good certification programs. You can get certified as a Mat teacher and start teaching Mat classes before going on to a full Comprehensive apparatus program. Make sure the program you choose goes beyond just the exercises and includes the tools you'll need to succeed, such as teaching strategies, adaptations for special cases, and anatomy. Certified Pilates teachers can find employment at boutique studios, gyms, PT offices, or as entrepreneurs.

What is a Pilates Machine?

You have probably heard of a Pilates Mat. A Pilates Mat has extra padding which differes from a Yoga Mat. The padding protects the spine during rolling exercises, as well as hips, knees and other sensitive areas. You may have seen the Pilates machines, and been told by friend how they stretch you and make you taller. The Pilates machines, or apparatus as they are commonly referred to, work the body by creating resistance to help strengthen the body. A Mat session is actually harder then one utilizing the apparatus because on the Mat you are supporting yourself without the help of the apparatus.

Smaller Pilates equipment consists of:

The Magic Circle or Pilates ring about the size of a car stering wheel. It can be placed between knees, ankles, or hands and squeezed while performing the Mat exercises as well as some exercises specific to the Magic Circle.

Hand Weights - can also be added to a mat workout or utlized during the Beginner System endings on the Wall.

Resistance Bands or Therabands - Not typically used in a Classical Pilates workout may also be added to a Mat workout.

Exercise Ball - Also not part of a Classical Pilates session is used in conjunction with many Mat exercises. Having a teach who can spot you while using the ball is essential for performing the exercises safely. Some physical therapists incorporate the ball or bands in routines for their patients.

The Foot Corrector - a small metal platform with a piece suspended over it held by springs. The toes arch or heal of an individual foot can then press and release. Exercises can helping with collapsed arches and other foot issues as well as the rest of the body. In Pilates each movement is connected as the whole body is being worked.

Other equipment includes the Toe Corrector, Push Up Handles, Breath-a-cizer, Bean Bag, and Magic Square (Neck Stretcher)

Larger Pilates equipment consists of the Pilates Reformer, Chairs, Barrels, the Tower and the Cadillac. Exercises can be done in various ways, either lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the strap, or pushing the Footbar.

Props are also used with some of the larger apparatus like a weighted pole, small boxes for the feet or a larger box to sit or lie on. Spring boards, platforms, straps, wedges, and balls. New pieces are introduced regularly while classical Pilates tries to just use the original apparatus that Joe and Clara used in their studio.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise method created by Joseph Pilates which is rooted in Six Principles: Centering, Control, Concentration, Flow, Breath and Precision. The original name of Pilates was Contrologyor The Art of Control. The method was created in the 1900's and developed over the course of Joseph Pilates' lifetime. After Joe passed away in 1967, Contrology was renamed Pilates. Joe believed that by moving with control, following a specific order of exercises and using your breath properly you could rid yourself of chronic pain and instabilities. The method focuses on core strength, flexibility, stability and balance. A steady practice of Pilates improves every functional aspect your life.

What is a Wunda Chair?

The Wunda Chair was created in 1945 by Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method. It was one of the first apparatus' to have springs which were attached to a pedal. The Wunda Chair was invented by Joe as the first functional home-gym apparatus, as it is able to convert into a regular chair.

The patent filed Feb 3, 1930 and issued on August 30 1932 resembles a recliner. The chair could be rotated so the backrest was on the floor, you would then sit on the part your legs would have folded over and press down on a foot rest supported by springs.

Many exercises can be performed in a variety of positions:
Sitting and pressing down with the feet on the pedal, Footwork.
Step from the pedal to the seat, similar to climbing stairs, or Going Up Front
Standing and pressing on the pedal with hands or Push Down
Standing on the pedal with hands on the seat of the chair or Pull Ups
Push Ups, with one pressing on the pedal while the body is in a plank position
and the list goes on...You truly can get a total body workout using the Wunda Chair.

Other versions of the Chair include:
The High Chair, which has back support and handles and is sometimes removable.
The Electric Chair or Baby Chair, also with back support but the springs are up by the shoulders and there is no pedal.
A split pedal chair with two pedals that move independently.

Accessories, some teachers will use the long box from the Reformer. Others use a moonbox or even handles that attach to the springs. Beginners can use a block of wood or cushion stopper under the pedal to keep it from going all the way down.

The chair, like the other apparatus', boasts a variety of exercises that work the Four S's of Pilates: Strength, Stability, Stretch and Stamina!

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