The Cue Bank
The Cue Bank is inspired by daily posts I did to promote the Pilates Anytime Next Instructor competition. Each month, more cues and moves will be added to help your teaching and hopefully give you little tips for Pilates success!
- The 100 is all about breath-taking it deeper and fuller. If you find your breath becoming restricted, short or shallow, stop. Begin with 1 breath and progress to 10.
- Keep the hands higher than the thighs as you pulse this will enhance the connections
- Reach the top of the head to ceiling, lifting from behind the shoulder blades
- Only take the legs as low as you feel you can control the level from your centre/powerhouse. Take them too low and you will feel the strain in the neck or low back
- Keep a soft knee, locking them out will really recruit the front of the hips rather than your centre.
- Don't over-point the toes. Focus on where you should feel the work- in the centre
- As you progress, lower the legs. The ultimate level is where the feet are in line with the lines
The Roll Up
- This move is amazing for feeling the two-way stretch to create space in the body. Reach forwards through the fingers and heels as you pull back through the waist.
- Don't be tempted to lift up to a tall position, keep working through the C-curve
- Watch the feet stay parallel and pointing directly up to the ceiling, especially the little toe!
- Draw the sit bones to the back of the thighs
- Feel a sense of heaviness at the back of the pelvis
- Keep the arms in line with the shoulders
- Think of the head as a vertebrae and allow it to follow the line of the rest of the spine
- For the Roll-Over, always keep the arms strongly connected to give you a good point of stability to articulate the spine from
- Lift the pelvis away from the ribcage
- Only the open the legs to shoulder width
- Keep the legs as straight as possible
- Roll over not up!
- Use your arms to elevate any cervical pressure
The One Leg Circle
- Only straighten the gesturing leg as far as you can maintain your centre connection-etherise the front of the hip grips like mad!
- Stability and control come from the ribcage and the supporting leg
- Strongly flex the supporting foot
- Circle directly above the hip, so draw that leg back!
- Be aware of hip hitching- keep both sides of the waist equally long-this is why it is an abdominal exercise!!!
- The key to Rolling Back is to keep the body shape as you roll. Look for an even curve through the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head
- Do not let the head kick out especially when the client is nervous if the move
- Keep the heels in as close as possible
- Keep the feet softly pointed, if you flex them you will not roll smoothly!
- Keep the hips as flexed as possible
- Stay strong through the arms
- As you progress roll quickly and focus on the pause in the balance to emphasis abdominal strength and control.
The One Leg Stretch
- Keep a strong connection tracking from the spine, to the inner thigh, to the inside knee to inner ankle to keep the leg deeply connected and aligned.
- Keep the tailbone lifted and the crown of the head reaching for the ceiling creating space through the spine
- Send the chin towards the breast bone to keep the weight of the head supported by the powerhouse
- Lift from behind the shoulder blades
- Do not let the lengthen leg drop too low as this will drag the tailbone down and lose the lower abdominal connection
- Pull the thigh into the chest to ensure the colonic stimulation.
The Double Leg Stretch
- To create great space through the spine when flexing lengthen and lift up from behind the shoulder blades, reaching the crown of the head to the ceiling
- Keep the tailbone lifted to engage the lower abs
- Only take the legs as low as you can keep the weight behind the waist, do not let it drop onto the bum
- As you circle the arms keep them in your peripheral vision, otherwise if they drop behind they will pull down the upper body
- Only straighten the legs as far as a centre connection is maintain, watch out for gripping into the quads
- Inhale to extend and fill the body with oxygen, exhale to curl in as small as possible to squeeze out as much air as possible
The Spine Stretch
- Focus on how the Spine Stretch is a stretch into the spine rather than of the spine
- Only straight the legs as far as you can hold a lengthened spine. Do not "fight" to hold the legs straight-its not worth it!
- It is not a hamstring stretch! If you are feeling a hamstring stretch focus on flexing into yourself rather than forwards over the legs
- Keep the legs strong with the heels pushing away giving a good base of stability to articulate from
- To really encourage the two-way stretch have the hands on the floor and as they slide forwards pull the navel away in the opposite direction.
- Imagine you are bringing the crown of the head to the floor in between the thighs
- Lead with the head on the way down and build the spine back up from the tailbone
The Open Leg Rocker
- Keep an even C curve through the spine
- Do not sit up onto the sit bones, stay slightly behind them
- The subtle push and pull of the arms and legs keep the roll going
- Inhale as you roll back to expand the back and create space between the vertebrae
- Do not let the legs go too wide apart
- Keep the feet pointed, you can't roll with flexed feet!
- Keep pressure into the arms to support the neck
- Watch that the toes stay in line to make sure you are truly rotating and not side bending
- Lift the hips away from the pelvis
- Keep both sides of the waist long and even
- When you first twist keep the pelvis level
- Make sure you arrive on the mat dead centred
The Swan Dive
- Focus on how this move opens the whole front of the body especially the hips and the shoulders to create space and stretch
- Starting at the front of the hips, extend upwards to the head and downwards through the legs
- Choose the leg position with internet and keep that position, do not let the legs drift outwards
- Make sure the curve through the body is equal, not all in the low back
- Reach the crown of the head one way and the tail bone in the opposite direction
- Keep the back line active
- Keep lengthening out through the spine in both the upward phase and especially the download phase
- Keep the collar bones wide
- Keep the back of the neck long
The One Leg Kick
- To stop sinking into the low back, keep drawing on the arms, as if you are pulling yourself out of a pool, to keep active in the mid and upper back.
- Ensure you can extend the hip well before adding the kicks
- Keep the knees together and the thigh bones parallel. Keep the heel kicking directly to the sit bone
- Only add the foot flicks if you have perfected the traditional move!!
- Keep focusing on the length through the spine and hips created in Swan Dive
- Keep the torso still! No bouncing!
The Double Leg Kick
- Make sure you focus on spinning the arm bones outwards the shoulder to open the chest and maintain good shoulder alignment.
- As you kick the legs in, the knees can open slightly if needed
- Keep length through the back of the neck
- Keeping the hands clasped, lift them upwards as well as backwards
- Make sure the head stays in line with the rest of the spine and does not hang down
The Neck Pull
- Do not hang around on the mat-imagine it's hot and get straight back up again!
- Draw upwards with the hands on the back of the neck to open it up and feel this mirrored in the low back
- Press outwards with the legs to help stabilise the pelvis and provide a strong base to move from
- Flex strongly through the feet
- Focus on the leg that is moving away from you to really extend the hip
- Do not allow the other leg to drop too low towards your face-keep the legs equidistant apart
- Have the elbows as close together as possible and press down into them to help connect across the pelvis
- All of the above!
- As you bend the knee, keep the ankle to knee to hip alignment
- Try to brush the floor with the lowering leg
- Whichever variation you choose stay grounded through the feet/foot and arms to give yourself a strong base to move from
- Honour the cervical curve-do not jam the chin in
- Have a sense of spiralling the thigh bones inwards
- Keep equality through the spinal shape
- Keep the pelvis quiet
- Make sure the heels are under the knees
- Keep both sides of the waist equally long and lifted as you rotate to wring every last atom of air out before you fully inhale to return
- Keep the toes pointed to the ceiling and feet flexed
- Do not let one leg go longer than the other as you twist, this is the pelvis moving not the spine twisting!
- Easy shoulders & heavy elbows
- Twist from the bottom rib
- keep the ribs over the pelvis
- Spiral the ribs around the spine