Sunday, October 24, 2010

Break It Down: Footwork

Let's begin with Footwork.  A common warm up for any Pilates session includes this exercise.  It is mainly done on the Reformer but can also be performed on the Chair, Trapeze table or standing at a ballet bar.  This staple exercise gets the blood flowing and uses reflexology points on the feet to stimulate the internal organs (I've even found it my go-to exercise for PMS symptoms).  Footwork prepares the body for the intensity of the workout ahead.  Let's break down this important exercise:

Purpose- maintain the pelvis/upper torso in a neutral position while getting full extension in the hip/knee/ankle while the core resists the springs (think standing squats)

Preps- Pregnant Cat (scooping on different planes), Building Blocks (finding good seated/standing posture)

Form: keep in alignment while pressing on the foot bar to extend in the hip joint, coordinate the movement with one single breath, sets of 8-12 (Heels, Arches, Birdfeet, Pilates V, Wide Heels, Tendon

Modifications- lighten weight if tucking in pelvis occurs, changing the foot bar position to release the spine or get more knee/hip extension, ball in between knees for better stability/alignment in legs

How to Advance- Single Leg Pumps, Side Leg work, hold Circle in hands to add in full body work, Running, Standing on half/full Foam Roll

Challenges- Heel lifts/Marching (alternate legs in shelf with heels on bar), Fancy Footwork (bicycle with one leg, single straight leg taps to bar on extensions, ect), Jump Board

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