Beginner Progression – Class 8 of 10

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You're on the home stretch in our beginner series, on your way to a full intermediate practice! In your 8th class, Alisa Wyatt takes you through an ab-burning, core-building warm up before slowing down to build on the extension exercises you've been preparing. This time, you're working on full expression of Swan Dive, Single Leg Kicks and Double Leg Kicks, plus a preparation for the Neck Pull and a full Teaser. Filmed at Pilatesology Studio in Hermosa Beach, CA. Next Class Quick Start Home

What Others Are Saying


  1. Ann Walker 3 months ago

    Hi Alisa,
    Thank you. Loved the pace of this class!
    Ann Walker

  2. juliasarah03 3 months ago

    I have a lot of lower back pain and can’t comfortably lay on my stomach, do i just skip those exercises? I can’t think of a good modification.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi juliasarah03,
      It’s hard for me to know what to advise you to do without getting to see you move but I suspect that your lower abdominals need more strength before moving to exercises on the stomach. As a modification, you can try not coming up at all with your upper body. Instead rest your forehead on your hands and simply pull your lower abs away from the floor and pay attention to keeping your hip bones down while you do that. Try to hold your abs in and stay even in your hips for the duration of the exercise. If it hurts to do that, the best thing to do is skip it and repeat a different exercise that doesn’t hurt while that one is happening :). Let me know how it goes!

  3. anjanaa 3 months ago

    Hi Alisa,

    The last couple of weeks have been very fun,thanks to this.
    I started working out after a long break , making my way through the classes, repeating if necessary.
    I was doing good till class 8. I am experiencing a lot of lower back ache and little neck stress. I am guessing its the extensions. What can I do to alleviate this and avoid the next time?

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi anjanaa, I’m so happy to hear you’ve been enjoying this series and it sounds as if you’ve just arrived at the class that you’re not quite ready for yet. My advice would be to go back 1 class or try this one a few times: (you can also take any basic level class). That will give your back and neck time to calm down and then try again on class 8 but keep your extensions very small and instead of lifting the arms and legs at the same time, just do one or the other. Focus on lifting your low abs as you do it–you can even fold up a hand towel and place it under your low abs, below your belly button. This can serve as a reminder and a bit of support as your body learns to support your low back on it’s own. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Emixon12 6 months ago

    Hi Alisa,

    I’m noticing some cracking/popping in my left hip and right knee during some of the exercises. My left hip pops/clicks when doing the single leg circles, and my right knee cracks when doing the double leg kick extensions. Is it normal for this to happen as I continue to get used to the movements, or should I be doing modifications to help ease my joints into the motions?

    Also, the seal is a particularly difficult to understand exercise for me. The form you have looks very different from the form I have (despite following the cues) and I am unable to roll up with that form. Should I reduce back to rolling like a ball for those portions while I continue to build my core strength or should I still be trying the form, just with a modification?


    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Emixon12,
      The cracking you’re hearing is common and can be simply your joints becoming lubricated or if there’s pain misalignment issues. The fix is to reduce the range of motion of the exercise. So in Single Leg Circles for example, make the circle smaller. If something hurts or feels sore after your workout (even the next day) that’s a sign you should back off a bit and reducing the range or going back to the preparatory movement for a little while is advised.

      You are not alone in finding the Seal hard to understand :). Your instincts are right, just continue doing rolling like a ball for now and work on making your ball as small as you can while pressing your spine down into the floor as you roll (head tucked in). This will help build the strength you need and loosen up the tight spots.
      Thanks for the excellent questions!

  5. angbeck 6 months ago

    Hi Alisa!

    My two sons and I have been doing your classes every day since the stay at home order, and we all love them! We did another trial for a couple of days, weren’t thrilled with it and then found this. We are so glad we did, and I’ve told others about it!

    Thank you!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      What?! That’s amazing angbeck! I’m so happy to hear that and will tell the other parents who have been asking for kid-specific classes. Thank you for sharing with your family and others, we’re grateful to have you guys with us!

  6. Britta Ellwanger 9 months ago

    Hi Alisa,

    I notice on any movement where we are laying down and need to stretch our legs by lifting them up in the air and alternating the leg we pull them towards us, or on the exercise where we do circles with our legs while laying down that I am very tight and not able to bring my leg as close to me while still keeping it straight. Is this something that requires additional exercises to work on so I can do the movement correctly, or does it just take time to improve flexibility and all I need to do is continue doing these same routines?

    Another question I have is that I can’t roll myself up with the final seal movement. Are there any recommendations for what I should for that movement to improve?

    Thank you!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Hi Britta,
      Welcome to the tight hamstrings club my friend. You are not alone in having a hard time getting your leg straight when they are in the air, it’s one of the most common things we deal with in Pilates. The good news is, your flexibility will be the first thing to improve and it is usually pretty dramatic. Try this–before you do your next workout, stand with bare feet and try to touch your toes with straight legs. Note where you are able to reach. Repeat this after your workout and let me know what happened ;).
      For your question about having a hard time getting back up on the Seal–are you able to roll smoothly in Rolling Like a Ball and Open Leg Rocker? Let me know, but in the meantime try doing the Seal without the clapping of the legs. This tips video might have something that can help as well:

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