Monday, November 16, 2015

Fitness Goal - Pilates Teaser Part 3

About a month ago, I ambitiously declared I would challenge myself to accomplish the Pilates teaser within 6 weeks...or else a severe self-punishment would be delivered. What's the punishment? Let me give you some clues. It looks suspicious, probably tastes like tofu, and is a tremendous insult to Thanksgiving turkey (No offense, vegans!). Yep, Tofurkey is what I'm talking about.

My practice strategy has been the same: stretching the hamstrings and lower back, strengthening the abs, doing the teaser every day (well, almost every day, almost!). One helpful technique, which is so basic and yet so often forgotten by us Pilates newbies, is the abdominal scoop. It's an act of pulling the navel in and up toward the spine. By doing this, the deepest abdominal muscle is contracted and fully engaged. I have to admit my first two weeks of teaser practice was done incorrectly; I forgot the scoop! So because my deep abdominal muscle wasn't really engaged, it was awfully hard to roll up. And once I was up in the teaser position, all the tension was dumped into my hip flexors and lower back, making it almost impossible to work on straightening my legs. In other words, my core was crumbling, and everything else went awry! The first time I remembered to do the abs scoop before initiating the roll up was a real aha moment. Rolling up into the teaser wasn't such a struggle anymore; my abs didn't quiver as much; and there was much less pressure in the hip flexors and lower back. I never thought the simple act of sucking in my gut could have such a significant impact on my entire form.

So I have about 10 more days to practice. I'm almost there, I think, judging from this picture which was taken just a few minutes ago. I can now straighten my legs almost all the way, and as I mentioned, rolling up is no longer a problem. It wouldn't be unsound to say that I can perform a decent teaser on the mat already. But my goal is to be able to do it on the reformer with the straps in my hands. Sad to say, a week ago when I attempted that, it didn't go well at all. I'll try it again next week, and we'll see whether my next blog post would be about me achieving my Pilates challenge or me crying over a plate of Tofurkey.

Pilates Teaser Part 1
Pilates Teaser Part 2
Pilates Teaser Part 4

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