Pilates Training – Leg Pull Back/Supine

In a Pilates training program, you would always find yourselves working the whole body and this mat Pilates exercise really does that for us. I am going to talk about the “MAGIC 3″ (Steve Jobs often emphasize the 3 main points in his presentations) areas this Pilates Mat exercises encompass. Practise this mat Pilates exercise with these 3 things in mind and most likely you would be doing it better than ever.

1. The core stabilizing muscles

2. The Leg muscles

3. The upper back muscles

Pilates Training has to involve the Core

Most people associate Pilates Training with core training and is evident in the Leg Pull Back/Supine. Our deep abdominals (transverse abdominis), the obliques and rectus abdominis all helps to stabilize the front of the spine, while the back muscles like the erector spinae stabilizes the back of the spine. Together they form the core of the body. Hence when doing this piece, Pilates breathing is really important. Please go to Pilates Breathing to revise before you attempt this piece. In that breathing video, I mentioned how the breathing allows us to form a brace around our body (that acts like a girdle or corset around our waist). It is this technique that can help you involve the core yet moving the limbs with ease. Most people who can’t keep their back straight in this exercise probably did not breathe to help make this exercise easier.

and Pilates Training does not neglect our legs

In any Pilates training, I always like to tell my students that our body is like a building and our legs are the foundation. Those that you see being constructed during the piling period of a construction. When there is misalignment in the legs, there is a high chance of a misalignment in the rest of the upper body. In this Pilates mat exercise, there are 2 things happening at the same time. The leg on the floor recruits the hip extensor muscles such as our butt (gluteus maximus) and back of the thigh (hamstrings). The leg in the air allows us to work our hip flexors. When you do this piece, please press your feet into the Pilates mat to emphasize the use of the hip extensors. It will really help your body stay in a straight line.

A good pair of arms will help with your Pilates Training

Finally having a good pair of arms really is essential if you want to eventually go on to more advanced Pilates mat exercises. When I talk about arms, I always like to bring the focus to our back muscles, specifically those that helps with stabilizing our shoulder blades. Without that, our shoulders will be shrug up in this exercise. While you focus on pressing the foot onto the mat, keep your shoulder blades down and back. This is especially important in this exercise because we have a tendency to elevate our shoulder blades when our arms goes behind our bodies (shoulder extension). If you are familiar with muscles, you would want to think about your lower trapezius and latissimus dorsi to help you. I would say the more you do these, the lesser you would feel in your wrist.

This piece is always challenging but I believe you have what it takes to do it well. Review the 3 areas above for BEST results!

Enjoy this Pilates training video and give us your comments on what you experience!


Mat Pilates – Corkscrew

The Corkscrew is a Mat Pilates exercise is a piece where I have always been fond of. Unfortunately I do not teach the full version very often, at least not on a daily affair. I personally feel one has to comfortable with the Roll Over before he/she is ready to do the full version. Otherwise the modified version does serve the purpose of this piece pretty well.

Doing Mat Pilates well is never easy

Mat Pilates is probably the most popular amongst the different equipments/non- equipment Pilates. It may be easy to copy the exercise but doing it well is never a piece of cake. When I first taught this many years ago, the most common approach by students is to throw their body overhead using the help of their hands and bodyweight and then ‘hope for the best’. This can be dangerous for Pilates beginners, which is why it took me a couple of months before introducing this on this website. If you have a back problem/issue, please seek help/assistance before even deciding to attempt it. I would assume you have practised the Roll up and Roll Over for a period of time before attempting this.

Mat Pilates Sequence

I have students who ever asked me: “Do I have to do the Mat Pilates sequence as introduced by Joseph Pilates?” or “Can I mix it up?” YES of course. I have also posted the Mat Pilates videos in a sequence that differs. I think the most important consideration when you practise Pilates at home is: “What is my intention/goal?” If you are someone with a healthy body, free from any sort of problems or issues, you may want to follow the sequence strictly if you want a good workout. However if you have difficulty with that, consider being progressive. Just like I mentioned earlier how Master Teacher Ron Fletcher emphasized strongly on our ABCs, learning in a way that supports progression is just that.

Progression in Mat Pilates

An example would be I start with Spine Stretch, then Roll Up and Saw, Roll Over and finally Corkscrew. This can be a good path to take and ensures you practise a more complex piece in simple parts before the combine the various parts to it. Just remember, not too long ago, we observe how others walk, then we learn how to walk ourselves before we learnt how to run. When you approach Mat Pilates in this manner you enjoy the journey of a free body!

Enjoy this Mat Pilates video and share your comments!


Pilates Store

Hi everyone, our Pilates Store has been set up! There are many Pilates books, equipments, mats and apparels which are items that supports you in your path of learning Pilates. I am particularly excited about the Pilates books because I believe they can reinforce your learning and help you to do your Pilates better!

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