What’s in a name? Pay attention to the names of those exercises when you’re in a Pilates class at the studio. Why? It may give you a clue to whether you’re doing the exercise correctly.
Case in point. Me.
When I began doing Pilates, I hadn’t worked out in 2 years. I was out of shape, and I had aches and pains most everywhere. I started Pilates because it was low impact. And also because when I took equipment classes, the equipment helped me with movements that were really hard for me during mat class. If you’ve tried to do crunches and experienced back & neck pain, then I know you know what I mean. Sixteen months later, I am still learning exercises. Every time I think I have one figured out, I hear the instructor saying words I’ve heard hundreds of times. I make an adjustment, and the exercise feels new to me.
It Can Be New, Even If You’re Doing It For the 100th Time
Most recently, it happened with Spine Stretch. I take one or two mat classes a week (if you count my private sessions when Carey makes me do mat). So I’ve done spine stretch in a class over 100 times. Suddenly a few weeks ago, I actually felt my spine stretch! Let me be clear, I’ve always felt some stretch. Usually, I felt a hamstring stretch during that exercise. I’ve felt my shoulders stretch. But when I focused on breathing as Carey coached me, when I tried to take note of every cue she gave, I felt my spine stretch. Now it’s becoming one of my favorite reward exercises because it feels so good. You know what a reward exercise is, right The exercises between the really hard ones that you really enjoy! When I concentrate on the cues I’m given, I feel that spine stretch in my spine, in my hamstrings, and in my neck and shoulders.
Clues for Everyone
The lesson for other students? The names aren’t just for the instructors! The names help us understand the exercise. Joseph Pilates must have been pretty incredible. He came up with all the exercises that we do in classical pilates, and all the equipment that we use. If he decided to name something spine stretch, the name is probably a clue that the student would feel something in their spine! Pilates is a journey, and there’s a lot of learning & thinking along the way.
I follow pilates hashtags on social media now, because I learn a lot. There are stories about Joseph Pilates, the benefits of Pilates, and videos of many professionals doing the various exercises. Pay attention to the name of the exercise, because Mr. Pilates knew what he was doing. Whether it’s an exercise like spine stretch or long spine, to the animal exercises like seal or elephant, there’s always something in the name to help you know more about the exercise!
Pilates student, and part time blogger!