Pilates Matwork teacher training (week 7): Improving slowly but surely

This week was slightly special because I had to teach two classes back to back to fit my students’ schedules. It was more challenging because I had to plan for two different classes, especially when there are hardworking students who want to do two classes consecutively. Well, who am I to say no to their determination? Furthermore, this made things really exciting.

Class #1

As the students who attended the first class were pretty strong, I decided to have them to try out Teaser. Teaser is made up of a few pieces such as Double Leg Stretch and Open Leg Rocker. It requires a lot of abdominal strength and endurance. So, I gave their abs a wake up call by having them to do the Stomach Series. We then intensified the endurance of the abs with Open Leg Rocker immediately after that. In that V-shape position, we alternate lowering the trunk and legs so they can feel where the work should be. By the end of these preparation, they were quite exhausted but that didn’t stop their curiosity and perseverance to try the Teaser I promised them earlier. I had our strongest student, Jay to demonstrate the piece while I explained. Thankfully, he could hold the positions for quite some time! Given their unfamiliarity with Teaser, I had them do only three reps and it was extremely gratifying to see them really working to complete it diligently.

We moved on to Swan afterwards. Due to my lack of understanding of Swan in the past, I injured my lower back after a prolonged period of practising the piece incorrectly. Hence, I was very cautious to teach Swan because I do not want anyone to suffer the same consequences as I did. I made sure everyone held their abs closer to their spines before trying to come into a Baby Swan. It was to emphasize the use of thoracic spine instead of sinking the weight into the lumbar spine. I will move on to the Full Swan once their bodies remember the correct way to do the Baby Swan.

Class #2

For the second class, we did about the same exercises as the class last Saturday, with the addition of Side Kick Kneeling and Side Bend. The students who attended last Saturday’s class performed better as they still remember how to work their obliques and push their shoulders away from the mats to give a better C-curve. I guess their bodies have already remembered the cues! Some of the students surprised themselves when they could do Rollover so much better than they could last Saturday. They told me they tried doing a few times at home but didn’t expect themselves to improve so quickly. I can’t wait to give them more advanced pieces once they have mastered Rollover!

Written by Jasmine Lee

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