If you're new to Pilates, or even a seasoned addict, gaining a more thorough understanding of all aspects will allow you to grow deeper into your practice. Cues are something we commonly use to help you understand how to move your body, or to help you target and recruit certain muscles for specific exercises. Below are a few cues you'll hear in a Pilates class at the studio:
Breathe into the back of your lungs. Inhale wide, exhale the ribs together. This cue places emphasis on Pilates Breathing, which is breathing wide into the lungs while maintaining the activation of the abdominal muscles. When you learn to exhale prior to exertion, you learn to breathe through exercises rather than hold your breath, as well as activate the proper muscles to complete the work. Proper breath is the key to leaving your Pilates class energized and light versus tired and dizzy.
Slide your shoulder blades down your back. This helps keep your shoulders away from your ears and releases tension from the neck. Many people tend to hold stress in the neck and shoulders, so this cue, over time, will help you mindfully create a new, healthier habit! Proper shoulder placement is also key to safe movement in all exercises involving the shoulders.
Zip up your high waist jeans. This cue helps you to lift the pelvic floor muscles and activate your transverse abdominals. Because it is difficult to cue for activation of these muscles, we help make an association all of us are familiar with to achieve the desired result.
Tuck these little cues away, and the next time you come to Pilates class you can move deeper into your work with the cues you most often hear us using.