I’m receiving a lot of questions from all of you readers, including this one: How can I help my clients with balance and body awareness?
I begin by teaching my clients the importance of balance and body awareness, especially as we age. You must have both to achieve true strength. One of the exercises I use to teach balance and body awareness is the Single-Leg Press on a ball.
Let’s set it up:
1. Use one red spring.
2. Have clients lay supine on the reformer, head near the tower and feet facing the footbar.
3. Ask clients to find and maintain a neutral pelvis and neutral spine.
4. Have them place both feet on the ball, with the ball in the center of the footbar.
Now let’s move:
1. Tell your clients to wrap their ribs, then inhale to press away slowly, and exhale as they return.
Tip: The spring is very light so if they push away too fast and with little or no control, the ball will slide up or down. This is where balance and body awareness start to play a role.
2. Ask them to repeat the move about 10 times to build awareness, and after they are able to do it well—with no shaking—have them progress to the single-leg version, with the other leg in tabletop.
Tip: Remember that transitioning from one move to another is in itself a move and should be done using all of the Pilates principles. Don’t let clients get sloppy.
1. Now have your clients walk the ball to the left side, making sure the ball is in line with the left hip. So the alignment is hip-knee-second toe.
2. Have them put the right leg into tabletop (maintaining neutral pelvis and spine).
3. Have them start pushing away with the left leg, slowly and with small moves at first, if needed. As your client develops balance and body awareness, they will be able to straighten the leg completely (don’t rush this process).
Tip: I can’t stress this enough: Just because they can push all the way out at first, doesn’t mean they should. Keep the integrity of the move and stay true to the Pilates principles.
4. Have them perform the move about 10 times on each side.
As your client improves, have them add more challenge by straightening the leg that is in tabletop toward the ceiling.
You can challenge them more, later on, by asking them to close their eyes.
Keep the questions coming. Hope to see some of you guys in Dallas where I will be teaching for DCAC April 12-14.