Michael’s First Lesson

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Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned Instructor, you might be curious about what it was like to take your first session in Mr. Pilates' studio. Find out with Jay Grimes, who worked for Joe in the original studio, and here teaches a first-timer, a professional baseball player in his 20s. Jay takes Michael through a complete workout that includes Reformer, Mat and Cadillac exercises to fit Michael's particular needs. You'll notice that Jay's aim is not perfection, rather he focuses on giving Michael a workout and helping him begin to understand how to engage and move from his center. Filmed at Vintage Pilates in Los Angeles, CA.  

What Others Are Saying

13 Comments

  1. soul_eil

    This video reminded me of Siri’s Big Bear Intensive this year. The gentleman who volunteered himself for almost every teacher had never done pilates before, and the corrections that the various teachers ( including Jay) gave him were minimal. By the end of the intensive he was doing nearly all intermediate/advanced moves with great control , and a much deeper understanding of the work. A black belt in karate he was very strong and flexible, yet still had many areas requiring attention. He had been minimally corrected into great form, and he learned that pilates is not for wimps. This video is a great reminder that less is more, thank you Jay for another great learning experience ~

  2. MARYLYON
    MARYLYON 7 years ago

    Mr. Grimes is the king of Pilates.!!! Keep the videos of him coming ..We need to observe his teaching as much as possible. Looking forward to a lesson with him in Chicago.
    Thanks again Mary Lyon

  3. nigelmack 8 years ago

    Jay thankyou so much. That bit of history and experience was worth so much. Since jump boarding is not a primary aim I have in mind I feel assured that an 80” is more likely a sweeter dimension for my use even with the tallest people as you have amply witnessed to. So glad I asked or I may never have worked this out or known the real reason for the introduction of the 86”. Yes thankyou for the “footwork-centre-internal organs” pointer and the need for addressing problems with appropriate exercises and equipment. I’m very much hoping you and others presenting at Pilatesology will feel compelled to produce more and more videos for us on these very subjects in greater fullness and detail !

  4. nigelmack 8 years ago

    Hi Alisa, Your reply made me laugh at the challenge you pointed to probably because I’m always seeing the funny side of how bodies are joined together and articulate and their dimensions and in working with bodies all these things are a never ending frustrating but humorous and wonderful, amazing challenge I feel. I hope I’m on the right track of what you were meaning – ie having to take in and monitor and coach that whole “length” of body and arms and legs. The reformer specs are a great help. My tallest client is only 6′ 3″ but from Jay and Michael’s video I probably wouldn’t want to put my man on an 80″ tho I still may be missing your point a little with my eye too much on the equipment and not the human. I guess my question still stands that Michael may have benefited even more from being able to stretch out completely? But now essentially I feel I will be fine and probably safer with an 86″ rather than an 80″ which is a great help – thankyou Alisa. I hope I haven’t turned this into too much of an equipment discussion but it was an ideal real life situation for me to learn more about the human-machine relationship. Thankyou I’m learning so much from these videos and all the participants – thankyou so much Jay and Michael for stepping out in front of the camera.

    • Jay Grimes Author
      Jay Grimes 8 years ago

      So many issues here! I chose this particular reformer because it has the best springs of all our reformers in the studio. In hindsight, I wish I had moved these springs to an 80″ reformer for this video. All of Joe’s reformers were 80″, and he did nothing by accident. He worked with people nearly 7′ tall on those reformers with no problems. I have worked with 7′ tall professional basketball players on an 80″ reformer, and also had no problems. I have a couple of regular clients now who are 6’3″ and we do everything in first gear. Stretching out completely in the footwork is desirable but not necessary. (Michael, at 6’5″, does stretch out completely in the stomach massage.) The footwork is really more about the center and the internal organs. If you have a very tall client who is tight in the hamstrings/lower back, we have all kinds of ways in the studio to address the problem. A big problem I find with many teachers is that they try to address too many issues in the footwork that can be much better addressed somewhere else in the studio. And always remember, not every student has to do every exercise. That is why Joe invented so may different apparatus – options! And finally, for decades all reformers were 80″ long. When Romana invented the jump board, she needed more length to accommodate it and the 86′ reformer was born. But it was intended only for the jump board, which is really not used that often. We then had one 86″ reformer and 7 or 8 80″ reformers in the studio.

  5. Alisa Wyatt

    I’m posting Jay’s answer to a question from a member here for anyone else who wonders the same thing. Shari asked why Jay didn’t give Michael the Leg Circles and Frogs in this session. There were 2 reasons that Jay told me: 1) he usually doesn’t give Leg Circles and Frogs to a client in the first few sessions because they don’t have the awareness yet to control the movement and end up with legs all over the place. When he does give them, he guides the movement with his hands until he feels they are ready and then tells the client, ‘Okay I’m letting go now, you’re on your own.’ 2) In Michael’s case, Jay wanted to focus the session on connecting his arms to his center (since Michael is a baseball pitcher). Thanks Shari for a super observant question!

    • nigelmack 8 years ago

      Hi could I ask if the reformer in this session was an 80″ or longer size. Just trying to gauge what is possible with taller folk and possibly get some advice on an optimum size for a reformer if there is one. I was wondering if Michael could have stretched his legs to full extension whether the exercises would have been even more beneficial.

      Any input appreciated.

      Thankyou superb workout and teaching.

      • Alisa Wyatt

        Hi Nigel,
        I will ask Jay for his own thoughts on this but wanted to share that the Reformer used in this session is ’86” and it is in the 2nd gear. I happen to teach several pro volleyball players, the tallest one being 6’10” and I use an 86″ Gratz Reformer just like the one in this video. I find that it’s not the apparatus that I have to figure out–it’s learning how to deal with all that length that’s challenging.

  6. kirstyhall44 8 years ago

    That was good – enjoyed it very much and so thank you. I find it useful indeed to see what is focused upon in a beginner by such an experienced teacher. Hmmmm………just wish I had a transcript of the thoughts going through Mr Grimes’ mind…..

  7. Helenebogart 8 years ago

    Great job to both teacher and student!

  8. Ynowak 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Mr. Grimes does such a wonderful job of succinctly cueing the client through the setup of each exercise, that he just gets it and very quickly can find the work of each exercise. Great to see how he gets him to keep his pace consistent throughout the lesson.

  9. MegHamilton
    MegHamilton 8 years ago

    Absolutely love this….there’s no substitute for seeing a really accomplished teacher working with a typical beginner body, and you don’t see this at continuing ed. I would love to see more lessons with real clients.

  10. ufk730 8 years ago

    That was sooooo much fun to watch! Thanks Jay and Michael!

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