|As we’re nearing the end of our Tendon Stretch/Gymnast program, we thought we’d take a closer look at those two movements.
Tendon Stretch and Gymnast are full body movements. They’re great for strengthening our upper body – Gymnast requires a tricep dip while we’re extended on the carriage! To start the movement, we need to have good spinal mobility with our head upside down pointing towards the carriage and our arms reaching behind us. For some of us, that upside down feeling can be quite daunting, which is why we build up to the full movement either starting with our feet on the floor, or with all of the springs on the carriage. In that way, we can get used to the feeling of rolling the spine into and out of flexion without fear of the carriage moving.
It’s been wonderful to see everyone grow in confidence, reducing the load on the springs as balance and proprioception improve.
The next challenge is to send the carriage out (from the upside down standing position) uncurl the spine and add a tricep dip. To achieve this, we need to use muscles in our core and legs, as well as using our upper body muscles for support. Again, we have built up to this slowly, allowing everyone to find the movement in their own time.
Bringing the carriage in again really challenges our core and arm strength.
Once we find our form and rhythm, we can start to flow in and out of the movement almost like being on a swing. Many clients really enjoy the freedom of the movement and comment that it’s like being a child again, swinging back and forth.
Others have told us that they feel as though the springs are doing all of the work! That’s great to hear, but the springs really aren’t doing all of the work – you are!
If the movement feels ‘easy’ it suggests that you’re using your body efficiently and effectively, which is what Pilates is really all about. Of course, if you tell us that you’re finding it easy, we may challenge you to increase repetitions, or time spent on the movement, or increase/decrease the load on the springs!
Our ability to find ease in Tendon Stretch and Gymnast (like many other Pilates movements) can depend very much on how our body feels that day – for example, if we’ve been on our feet or at our desk all day, if we’ve had a rigorous workout recently, or if we’re recovering from illness or injury. One of the benefits of Reformer Pilates in particular, is the ability to increase or decrease the challenge using the springs. It’s great to see many of you gaining confidence to ‘play’ with and ‘feel’ the springs – if you’re not sure whether the spring you’re using is right for you that day, have a word with your teacher so that she can help you find the right balance.
If you have and feedback on the Tendon Stretch/Gymnast program, or ideas on what you’d like to work on in future programs, please let us know – we love devising new programs!