Homework and other hot tips

Did someone say Homework? YES, I did!   A little homework is always good to keep the spine limber and the rest of the body moving like a well oiled machine. 

What kind of homework should I do?  The mat work is perfect to do at home, and also one of the most challenging forms of Pilates. It's all you when it comes to the mat. You can also work on your posture by doing the wall ending and other standing exercises using a magic circle. I teach the wall ending to almost every client at one time or another. It's always good to reset your posture by using the wall. Ask me if you don't remember it. 

What you'll find on this page: 

  • Exercise order- as taught to me by my classical Pilates mentors (with PDF links)
  • Videos on basic and intermediate mat
  • Goal setting thoughts
  • Links to good reading on Pilates

Exercise Order
One thing that makes progressing in Pilates faster and easier, is knowing your exercise order. With classical Pilates you will find the sequence of exercises consistent on mat and reformer, allowing you to remember them and progress faster. 
Enjoy - and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Fundamental Reformer
Footwork Series (Pilates stance/arches/heels/tendon stretch):10 reps each
The Hundred:10 sets of 10 breaths
Frogs and Leg Circles: 5 frogs/5 circles each direction each leg/ 5 more frogs
Stomach Massage Series:
    Rounded: 10 reps
    Flat: 10 reps
    Reach: 4 reps
Short Box Series: 
     Rounded: 10 reps
     Flat: 10 reps
     Reach: 4 reps
Elephant: 10 reps
Kneeling Knee Stretches:
     Rounded: 10 reps
     Flat: 10 reps
     Knees Off: 10 reps
Running - 10 to 20 reps
Pelvic Lift - 10 reps

Fundamental Mat
Hundred:10 sets of 10 breaths
Roll Up: 6 reps
Single Leg Circles: 5 reps each direction, each leg
Rolling Like a Ball: 6 reps
Ab series:
     Single Leg Stretch: 5-8 reps, each leg
     Double Leg Stretch: 5-8 reps
Spine Stretch Forward: 5 reps

PDF Fundamental Reformer and Mat Exercises

Videos: 
A short basic mat Pilates video featuring Brooke Tyler, a teacher trainer, also trained by Dorothee VandeWalle. 
A short Intermediate mat Pilates video, featuring me! Coming soon.
A short reformer Pilates video, from Brooke Tyler giving you an idea of what you can do when you advance

Intermediate Mat - learn these before you progress to Intermediate Reformer
Hundred: 10 sets of 10 breaths
Roll Up: 6 reps
Single Leg Circles: 5 reps each direction, each leg
Rolling Like a Ball: 6 reps
Ab series:
     Single Leg Stretch: 5-8 reps, each leg
     Double Leg Stretch: 5-8 reps
     Single Straight Leg Stretch: 5-10 reps each leg
     Double Straight Leg Stretch: 5-8 reps
     Criss-Cross: 2-3 reps each side
Spine Stretch Forward: 5 reps
Open Leg Rocker: 4 reps
Corkscrew: 3 reps each way
Saw: 3 reps each side
Neck Roll: 1 rep to each side
Single Leg Kicks:  5-8 reps each leg
Double Leg Kicks: 4 sets
Neck Pull: 6 reps
Side Kick Series: reps vary
Teaser 1: 3 reps
Seal: 6 reps

Intermediate Reformer
Footwork Series (Pilates stance/arches/heels/tendon stretch): 10 reps each
The Hundred: 10 sets of 10 breaths
Short Spine Massage: 5 reps
Coordination: 5 reps
Swan on the Barrel: 3 reps
Horse on the Barrel: 3 reps
Longbox Series:
     Pull Straps: 3 reps
     T-Straps: 3 reps:
     Backstroke: 5 reps
     Teaser: 3 sets of 3 reps
Short Box Series:
     Rounded: 3-5 reps
     Flat: 4 reps
     Reach: 4 reps
     Twist and Reach: 3 reps each way
     Tree: 3 reps each leg
Long Stretch: 5 reps
Down Stretch: 3 reps
Up Stretch: 5 reps
Elephant: 10 reps
Stomach Massage Series:
     Rounded: 10 reps
     Flat: 10 reps
     Reach: 4 reps:
     Twist: 3 reps each side
Semi-Circle: 3 reps, each way
Frogs and Leg Circles: 5/5 each way, each leg
Kneeling Knee Stretch Series:
     Rounded: 10 reps
     Flat: 10 reps: 
     Knees Off: 10 reps
Running:10-20 reps
Pelvic Lift: 10 reps
Side Splits: 3 reps each side
Front Splits: 3 reps of each variation, each leg

PDF Intermediate Mat and Reformer Exercises

If you'd like a little sneak peak of the more advanced Classical Pilates Reformer work click here to view a short video from Clasique Pilates

Advanced Mat - learn these exercises before progressing to the advanced reformer
Hundred - 10 sets of 10 breaths
Roll Up - 6 reps
Roll Over - 3 each way
Single Leg Circles - 5 each direction, each leg
Rolling Like a Ball - 6
Single Leg Stretch (ab series, part 1) 5-8 reps, each leg
Double Leg Stretch (ab series, part 2) 5-8 reps
Single Straight Leg Stretch (ab series, part 3) 5-10 reps each leg
Double Straight Leg Stretch (ab series, part 4) 5-8 reps
Criss-Cross (ab series, part 5) 2-3 reps each side
Spine Stretch Forward- 5 reps
Open Leg Rocker - 4 reps
Corkscrew - 3 reps each way
Saw - 3 reps each side
Neck Roll - 1 rep to each side
Swan Dive - 6 reps
Single Leg Kicks 5-8 reps each leg
Double Leg Kicks - 4 sets
Neck Pull - 6 reps
Scissors - 5 each leg
Bicycle - 5 each leg
Shoulder Bridge - 4 each side
Spine Twist - 3 each side
Jack Knife - 4 reps
Side Kick Series - reps vary
Teaser 1 - 3 reps
Teaser 2 - 3 reps
Teaser 3 - 3 reps
Boomerang - 4 reps
Hip Circles or Can Can - 3 each way
Swimming - 4 sets of breathing
Leg Pull Down - 3 sets
Leg Pull Up - 3 each
Kneeling Side Kicks - reps vary
Mermaid - 3 each side
Snake & Twist - 2 each, each side
Rocking - 6 reps
Crab - 4 reps
Balance Control - 2 each leg
Push Ups - 3 sets
Seal - 6 reps

Advanced Reformer

Footwork Series
Hundred - 10 sets of 10 breaths
Overhead - 4 reps
Coordination - 5 reps
Swan on the reformer - 3 reps
Long Box Series (Pull Straps/T-Straps/Backstroke/Teaser/Breaststroke/Horse) - 3/3/5/3/3/3
Short Box Series (hug/flat/side to side/twist/tree/side sit ups) - 5/4/3 each/3each/3each/6each
Long Stretch - 5 reps
Down Stretch - 3 reps
Up Stretch - 5 reps
Long Back Stretch 3 each way
Elephant - 10 reps
Arabesque - 3 each
Stomach Massage Series (round/flat/reach/twist) - 10/10/4/3 each
Tendon Stretch - 4 reps, single leg reps vary
Short Spine Massage - 5 reps
Semi-Circle - 3 each way
Chest Expansion - 4 reps
Thigh Stretch - 4 reps
Arm Circles - 4 each way
Swakatee - 3 reps
Mermaid - 3 each side
Snake - 2 reps
Twist - 2 reps
Corkscrew - 3 each way
Tic-Toc - 3 each way
Balance Control - 3 preps, 1 each side
2nd Long Box Series ( grasshopper/swimming/rocking) - 3/6/4 sets
Long Spine - 3 each way
Frogs and Leg Circles - 5 each
Kneeling Knee Stretch Series
Running - 10-20 reps
Pelvic Lift - 10 reps
Control Push Up Front - 3 each
Control Push Up Back - 3 each
Star - 3 reps
Side Splits - 3 reps
Front Splits or Russian Splits - 3 each
Big Splits - 4 reps
Jump Board - reps vary


reaching your goals

  • Write down your goals (they might even change as you progress)
  • Tell your fitness teacher about your goals and ask how you can achieve them
  • Ask yourself to be present every hour you devote to exercise. Stay the course for one hour. It's for you.
  • Stay consistent week in and week out. If you have a break, jump right back in as soon as you can.

Guiding Principles of Pilates

Breathing - there is no one breathing technique that Joseph Pilates instilled, such as lateral or percussive breathing, he just wanted to ensure that breathing was integrated into all the exercises. Some exercises focus more on breathing than others, but there is no right or wrong way, just don't forget to do it!
Control - engage the mind to control the movements and efforts of the body developing proper form and alignment.
Concentration - turn your attention to your body and don't sacrifice the experience in favor of rushing through. This means focusing your mind on your body, not on conversation. 
Centering - think of movement coming from your center or core. Developing a strong, stable, flexible core leads to strength through the body.
Precision - a result of control, centering and concentration leads to efficiency and getting more out of your workout.
Rhythm and Flow - a steady continuation of movement, with a minimum of motion in the transitions.

Good Reading

Here are some books in my Pilates library (most with pictures or illustrations):

Return to Life Through Contrology - Joseph Pilates
The Women's Health Big Book of Pilates - Brooke Siler
The Complete Book of Pilates for Men - Daniel Lyon Jr. 
Pilates Body in Motion - Alycea Ungaro
The Pilates Body- Brooke Siler
Discovering Pure Classical Pilates - Peter Fiasca, Ph.D


If you have a Pilates book to recommend, please send me an email. I'd love to read it.