Alright, I am fairly certain we can all agree that Knees Off is an exercise that’s difficult to both do and to teach and one that most people love to hate. Why? Because it’s strenuous, easy as heck to cheat on, and (in my opinion) often misunderstood. That said, we shouldn’t avoid it just because it’s hard. The Knee Stretch Series as a whole is a wonderful study of how to hold the body still while the legs are moving and Knees Off in particular carries with it an even greater challenge due to the fact that the body weight is lifted up. Let’s dig in and take a closer look.
We’ll start by putting the exercise in context of the order. The Knees Off is part of the Knee Stretch Series and is one of the “heart and soul” exercises in the system. It comes toward end of the reformer order, just before Running. The “series” is made up of three exercises: Round, Flat or Arched, and Knees Off. At this stage of the workout, the body has been taken through several positions, in varying relationships to gravity and it’s the last major effort called for before we cool down.
The most important part of Knees Off is finding and maintaining a connection with the 2-way stretch in this very challenging position. If you’re new to this concept it’s a powerful, yet simple way to feel where your legs and arms are moving from and connecting with that feeling throughout any movement. The arms reaching from the back ribs and the legs reaching in opposition from the lower back. If you can keep your attention and focus on that connection this exercise is much easier.
Let’s analyze and look at the position.
The starting position is the same as the Knee Stretches – Round Back. The hips are close to the heels, about 8 or so inches, the spine is round; the tail under and the eyes are looking into the body. The arm angle from the shoulder ideally stays the same throughout the entire exercise without the head or shoulders moving forward.
Clear, professionally recorded audio instructions are well-paced so you can easily follow along and learn how to correctly work from day one. Practice at home, on the road, or at your favorite Pilates studio, maybe even as part of a full Pilates equipment workout. You can fit in a quick session almost everyday and be on your way to a stronger, leaner, healthier you.
Please share this simple exercise video with anyone who needs support ... in the comfort of their own home. This production was an award winning collaborative effort created to serve women (and men) getting their body back after surgery.
Learning Labs #1 is a 15-hour course for produced by Going More Joe and it's created for contemporary trained teachers who are curious about the classical work. Check out this brief trailer followed by what others are saying. Personally, I enjoyed the experience and I'm glad we captured it as an online learning tool. We'll have more live online experiences coming soon. Contact Me to find out more:)
Participating in Learning Labs #1 was a great experience for me. Clare Dunphy is an exceptionally knowledgeable individual and is a genius when it comes to teaching the classical methodology of Pilates. I found her style to be absolutely creative and captivating with natural ability throughout all the parts of Learning Labs 1. Clare talked about her experiences and training with Romana and she shared the sentence, “Stay true to the system will stay true to you.” I loved hearing about her memories. So many people have been fortunate to study with Romana and share her nuggets of wisdom. Clare is definitely one of them. During the five-three hour sessions there was not a pause or hesitation in both verbal and visual exchange of knowledge. She positioned her laptop and moved it with such natural ease. It was almost as if it were part of her and the viewers never missed a single second of instruction. What Clare did with her laptop was exactly what she was teaching us to do, to keep moving and making adjustments while in movement. Clare talked about the classical philosophy of Pilates, why there is an order to the mat and reformer exercises, and how it operates. I loved her clear and concise flip chart and how she broke down the beginner reformer exercises and then wove them into the intermediate level. For me personally, it validated my trading with Mary Pilates. Clare pointed out some common teaching mistakes. It made me aware of one of my teaching habits, like over-cueing breathing, which was something left over from my comprehensive contemporary training and I didn’t realize it until I took this workshop.
Thank you to Clare Dunphy and Sunni Almond for giving me this opportunity to study, learn, grow and participate in this extraordinary series of workshops via Zoom!!!!!
As a Contemporary trained teacher, with some Classical influence, I found Clare's Learning Labs #1 incredibly useful. Clare teaches in a very straight forward way and is not judgmental at all. Instead she is interested in people and the differences in training.
The workshops have helped me both in my teaching and personal practise. My clients and body have really noticed the difference. I have been equipped with more understanding of the Classical order and have gained some invaluable teaching tips. There is a lot to take in and it has been useful to be able to dip in and out of the workshop videos.
I am interested in learning more and hopefully will continue on this journey. I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in delving into Classical Pilates.