What’s Your Pilates Reset Exercise?

by Leslie Braverman on March 4, 2018

Ever do too much and wish you could hit the reset button? Well, you can. A Pilates reset exercise is defined as any exercise that helps you turn on your level 1 stabilizers (core muscles) and enhances proprioception—the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. In fact, it’s recommended that you reset anytime you learn new movement, push yourself physically, or open-up something new in your body. This will bring you back to center and help you re-establish a feeling of well-being. Reset exercises are different for every person. Ask your STOTT PILATES instructor what’s right for you after a challenging workout or new movement experience.

Here are PNWP’s top three reset exercises for the upper body, shoulder girdle, thoracic and cervical spine:

1- Breathing (of course)

Sitting in a comfortable, upright position and directing the breath to the sides and back of the rib cage will calm the body and help focus the mind.

2- Push Ups on a Wall

Compression from the wall helps to stimulate the local stabilizers and provide proprioception through the arm, thorax and cervical spine. This exercise is like footwork for the arms.

3- Four-Point Rock Back

This exercise may help to calm the hip joints and ease the lumbar spine. It gently lengthens the lats and allows the scapulae to go into upward rotation.

Here are PNWP’s top three reset exercises for the lower body, pelvis and spine:

1- Footwork or Second Position

The perfect exercise choice(s) after introducing new multi-planar movement. Footwork and Second Position may help a student connect to the movement of both legs, create symmetry and balance in the pelvis. The STOTT PILATES reformer provides feedback, support and just the right amount of compression.

2- Squats holding onto a bar

Mid-range squats performed while holding onto the ladder barrel or the upright bars on the Cadillac may help a student open-up the bowl of the pelvis and integrate neutral spinal alignment, hip flexion and ankle dorsi-flexion. This may be a preferred reset exercise to do after performing exercises that flex the spine. It’s also a great home reset exercise for people who sit too much.

3- Side lying Twist with a Roller

Reset the spine and pelvis in the transverse plane. This may be the best go-to-exercise when the ribs, pelvis and spine need to reorganize. Try this exercise when you feel stiff. The local stabilizers—pelvic floor, multifidis, deep fibers of psoas and transversus abdominis—will learn to lightly co-contract with the adductors and deep hip.

As a rule of thumb, reset exercises provide only very small challenges in one plane without any long levers (extended arms or legs away from the body). The exercise should be simple—with very little choreography—and may incorporate props or other feedback to help with awareness and proprioception.

Next time you need a reset, don’t stretch. Instead, go to your body’s happy Pilates place.

Pacific NW Pilates is studio, school and fitness family under one roof. Click to learn more about our education courses and workshops, private studio sessions and group classes. Learn all the basics in our five week Pilates Fundamentals series. Or call for details: (503) 292-4409.

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