The other day I was mentoring a wonderful teacher and she asked what she could do to add further intensity and challenge to her Mat programme to make sure her clients do not get bored. My answer was,
“You don’t need to go higher, you need to go deeper”
It struck me that this is the essence of Pilates which makes it so different from other forms of exercise. Understanding this is what differentiates a beginner from an intermediate practitioner
Let’s take the Roll Up. Initially we focus on the ability to flex through the spine sequentially as we roll up with control and fluidity. So any beginner with a fairly good level of spinal mobility can do this exercise, does that mean they fully understand the complexity of the move? For clients who have been attending our classes but are unable to perform this move, we may highlight restrictions in the lumbar spine or hip flexors and create a programme to enhance movement in these areas so that eventually they can Roll Up with success. But we shouldn’t leave it there! Now is the time to go deeper!
Understanding Points of Stability
A fundamental element of all Pilates exercises is the ability to anchor one area whilst moving another.
The greater the point of stability, the greater the potential for articulation.
In the Roll Up, the points of stability are the legs, giving us a large area to stabilise from to help create greater spinal articulation. So look deeper- does the client use the legs to create a strong base? Can the feet stay flexed with the little toe in line with the big toe? Can the legs stay together with the inner thighs connected? Do the hips open easily and the legs stay still?
Get The Two-Way Stretch
It’s all about oppositional pull
Now we are going into the intermediate realms! As the client rolls up can they reach with the fingertips and through the heels whilst drawing in the opposite direction with the navel to really create oppositional pull and space through the spine, further increasing the opening of the whole back line?
When these deeper elements are achieved in the client’s movement we see and feel the true magic! Now we are ready to higher or deeper still!!!