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Pre-Pilates Progression Class 2 of 6

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In the second workout in our Pre-Pilates series, Alisa Wyatt introduces how to lift your head using the correct muscles so that your neck doesn't do all the work, and an exercise called the Shoulder Bridge which will lift and strengthen your bottom!

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If you can't reach forward enough to hold behind the thighs, during the head lifts, is there a modification ? Thank you.

Alisa Wyatt Alisa Wyatt Topic starter 12/01/2020 1:51 pm

Hi mmostaf2,
If it's hard to reach your thighs you can hold onto anything lower that you can reach, even your pants. If that's awkward, grab a towel or a belt and wrap it around your legs so you have something to assist the lift in your upper body. This exercise is all about building strength and flexibility in your upper abs so getting into the position is often the hardest part. Thanks for asking!

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Hi!

I´m having a bit of an ache/stretch in the knees when doing the bridge-pose. It doesn´t feel right, any suggestions for how I can make it better? Or would it just be because I´m not used to doing this exercise?

Alisa Wyatt Alisa Wyatt Topic starter 14/04/2020 12:05 pm

Hi sarakazimierski, My rule for pain is: make the movement smaller. If that doesn't work, skip the exercise for a while and come back to it when you're further along. In the case of the shoulder-bridge exercise you should try only lifting your hips a little bit and see if that helps. I suspect that you have some tightness along the front of your quads and/or weakness in one or more of the muscles that connect to your knee (which is quite a few) and as you get stronger this should improve. You may also try moving your feet away from your body a bit further to lesson the degree of bend in your knee and take some pressure off of it. Let me know if this helps, troubleshooting without getting to see you move is not always accurate.

Avatar sarakazimierski 15/04/2020 8:40 am

Thank you so much! Will definitely try this while doing the exercises today and get back to you!

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Hi Alisa,
I am very excited to be able to learn pilates properly. I am very flexible but not very strong and this is impairing my aerobic fitness as I get injuries when I push myself at the gym (although those days are sadly gone for now!..) So this feels like the right thing to be doing.. I do have a question though. I have done the first two classes, and did the 1st class one day, then 1st and 2nd the next day... I then had a very sore top of back muscles, I presume from the neck lifts... My question is, how often should I be doing these classes and how do I know when I am ready to progress so I don't end up in pain. I am keen to challenge myself and develop but don't want to injure myself..

Alisa Wyatt Alisa Wyatt Topic starter 17/04/2020 5:15 pm

Hi Lunalowe,
Thanks for joining us!
Is the soreness in your upper back in the middle, between your shoulders or up higher at the top of your shoulder where they connect to your neck? I'm thinking you may have been tensing those muscles as you were focusing on all the other things--which is quite common as you're building strength elsewhere to make that lift happen. My first advice is to do less--instead of doing 2 classes in 1 day, do 1 and rest your head down if you feel tense.

If you want to add another class, here's an option that will release tension in your upper body: https://pilatesology.com/classes/tall-against-the-wall/, and here's a 2 class series that keeps the head down while still building all the things you're working on: https://pilatesology.com/classes/daily-posture-rx-class-1-of-2/

The other thing I want you to do is pay attention during your workouts to where you're holding tension and try to let go of it in your neck, upper back and shoulders (not an easy task!). You'll want to repeat the classes you're on until you're not feeling sore afterwards.

Finally, believe it or not, this foot workout is an amazing class for toning your bottom and can also be added after another class or done on it's own, plus it feels great: https://pilatesology.com/classes/foot-tune-up/

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Thank you ! Fantastic advice and I have to say I am loving my lockdown pilates learning.... good time to be building strength.... Back has stopped being painful and now on class 5. Onwards and upwards!

Alisa Wyatt Alisa Wyatt Topic starter 29/04/2020 7:01 pm

Yeeesssss! So happy to hear that, keep it up!

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Thank you ! Fantastic advice and I have to say I am loving my lockdown pilates learning.... good time to be building strength.... Back has stopped being painful and now on class 5. Onwards and upwards!

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Topic starter

@porterlisa Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for joining us -- to answer your question, you can go proceed but stick with 1 leg at a time for now and just keep doing that when I switch to lifting 2 legs off at the same time. You'll want to try the 2 legs off each class as a challenge and to see how you're doing.

If you suspect that you have some extra curve in your lower back (extra lordosis is the technical name) you can try folding a hand towel so it makes a thin pad and put it under that space. Then try again and see if that helps give your lower abs some proprioception to pull into.

You can also have a friend (if you live with someone right now) gently step on your lowest abs below your belly button or put something heavy there while you're doing the exercise and see if that action helps you to connect.

Hope that helps! Email me at alisa@pilatesology.com if you have more questions :). 

Alisa