Progressive Bodyworks | Pilates Mastery with Clare Dunphy


Showing posts categorized as “Movement Matters.”

We’re Transitioning

November 11, 2020

Efficiently moving from one exercise to the next gives more time to build up to doing a greater number of exercises, which is one way to see progress. Efficiency also trains us to be less sloppy and get out the juice of an exercise on rep #1, which is not an easy task. This is what transfers into our daily life activities, and we become automatically better movers because we have trained our nervous system to work that way. We become aware of our habits so we can change them. Our movement character builds and a noticeable difference emerges in our carriage, grace, confidence, and poise.

Transition Tips on the Reformer

  • The overall principle for clean transitions is minimal movement to get to the next exercise. Here are some of my favorite tips:
  • Keep the springs in motion whenever possible. For example, when changing foot positions during Footwork Series, move both feet at the same time and make a swift change from the toes to arches to heels etc. so you keep the same rhythm and the springs alive. Try the same thing with Pull Straps, Long Stretch Series, Stomach Massage Series, and Knee Stretch Series.
  • No hesitation between reps or exercises. You do want to return the carriage fully without banging it and then go directly into the next rep. The same holds true between exercises unless you are taking an intentional rest. This means if your head is up, keep it up and just transition, instead of putting your head down and then lifting it up again which costs you 2 extra movements. If the exercise is over and you need to dismount the reformer, don’t rest, just get off the reformer. You’ll be amazed at how these little things save time, make you stronger, and improve your focus.
  • Challenge your transitions by mounting and dismounting on alternating sides so you don’t always lead with the dominant side. And a tip when changing springs is to put the handles in one hand and swing your legs around to the same side. Also, there’s no need to hang the straps just to have to pick them up again. Change your springs without letting your feet touch the floor and get strong enough so you can be in a Teaser position to change springs.
  • One way I like to up the ante for students as they progress, is by asking them to try using a maximum of two breaths to complete a transition, especially where they dismount and get the long box for example. Or, I give them 8 counts to get to where they are going, and I count down. It’s fun for them and they gain awareness of how to be more efficient.

Let’s take a look at the following transitions in action:

  • Pull Straps to Backstroke to Teaser to Breaststroke
  • Long Stretch Series
  • Stomach Massage Series

If you’d like to see more on transitions, check out these two videos:

Tips for Smooth Transitions (at Pilatesology).

Reformer Transition Tips (2 mins at Vimeo).

Filed under: Movement Matters

Three Ways to Engage Deeper in Your Teaching

March 12, 2020

I think most Pilates teachers today share the belief that our lineage has value because the connection back to Joe, either directly or through one of his students (our elders), helps keep the tradition alive.  It wasn’t that long ago when that link meant we all had a fairly strong percentage of shared knowledge that came from Joe. After all, he was the creator of the method, and if we describe what we do as “Pilates”, then we should honor his work.  


For me as a budding new teacher-in-training, what impacted me most was having the opportunity to see a master teacher at work.  Romana let us see her up close and encouraged questions.  What a gift to witness her genius in action; she frequently shared “Uncle Joe” stories and quoted him often. My early experience with Romana, plus the teachers who were around the studio, made a deep impression as we practiced and discussed day by day.   We kept learning and learning and learning – it was a rich community.

Read the entire article here

Filed under: Lifestyle Matters,Movement Matters

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