Class #2527

Playful Cadillac Variations

25 min - Class


Lubricate your spine in this Cadillac workout with Niedra Gabriel. She teaches playful variations that she likes to do to make sure she is initiating movement from the correct place. She includes Breathing with One Leg, Double Leg Kick, and so much more!
What You'll Need: Cadillac, Magic Circle

About This Video

Mar 23, 2016
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So good afternoon everybody. I thought I would share a Cadillac workout that I love doing when I feel I want to get my spine lubricated. Everything toned, a little kind of playful, a variations on some of the exercises. So starting out, I'm doing a combination for spinal articulation. I do have a readiness blue spring attached appear, but each Cadillac is different and spring tensions are different. So this is not a hard and fast rule. So to start my head is close to the edge and I'm pulling the shoulder blades down and pressing the bar through without letting the shoulders disconnect.

Coming back and now arching from my sternum first the sternum rolling up, dropping the head down on articulating back through the spine, squeezing the magic circle, rolling the hips up, rolling the hips down, releasing the tension, pressing through up chest head. So it's a nice way for me to warm up my back, squeeze, roll the hips up, lengthening and opening the hip flexors, rolling the hips down, releasing the circle. Now I'm adding on, I mean you're contracting the magic circle, holding it, stretching and back up. Roll down. And articulation of the spine and down, keeping that tension in the magic circle the whole time. Now lengthening out and back our king up, rolling down, rolling up and rolling down. Now coming up to a sitting position and regular push through, putting the magic circle down, making sure that my heels a nicely grounded, pressing through and extending them for me because I'm a very flexi person.

I could just smash down trying to keep the hips and the waist separate. And then as I roll back, not letting the bar control me too much. So I'm working a lot in my powerhouse and in the shoulders, lengthening out, rolling back with control. This is the hardest part for me and reaching up. And one more time rolling, pushing down. So not doing anything.

Um, too many repetitions. Is it just my own workout and I'm just warming the spine up. Now from here, the left hands in the middle and I'm arking way out, but I'm keeping both hips nicely grounded, stretching around, getting myself anchored to both hips or even both, both of feet or even and lengthening the left arm up. And then I'm going for the twist. So what I'm really focusing on is keeping both hips even and then working the articulation evenly on both the right and left side of the spinal column.

It's really getting into my floating rib area. And again, hips are grounding, reaching way out both hips, they on the mat as I extend. So here the place I get the spine evenly extended and then I rotate around the spinal column. Usually there's a propensity to have one side of the ribs collapse and I'm trying to keep them even very nice for scoliotic patterns. Now I will release, ah, let's see. Two light. Let me work hard. Who Do I think I am? Okay, so sitting even pulling this bard down [inaudible] let's see if I release another spring here.

Okay. I worked with the lighter weight, so it's real easy to work with the tricep and the shoulder. What I'm really wanting to engage is get the lats to be pressing down and then keeping both hips nice and even stretching out the whole intercostal muscles and side body rotating in and extending a little bit further. Even if my hip is coming off, I'm trying to press it in the opposite direction. Grounding the hip, opening the side body, coming up, connecting the bar into the lats and lifting up. So I'm working very much on the side body. I could pull with the arm, but I'm looking to stabilize and build up my trunk. Strength, lengthening up, keeping the left hip down to the whole left side, from the hip through the rib, through the shoulders opening, going into the spiral.

The hip comes up, lengthening the left side opening again, anchoring the lats and up and one last time flowing it now and reaching, Oh this field's delicious. And coming up other side. Usually one side is quite different from the other. There's a lot I am pulling down, stretching right hip stays down as far as I can go. And then spiraling over. Oh, trying to get my shoulders even with the Mat, opening out, pressing that right hip down, anchoring, letting the bar come up.

And two more times reaching, stretching, reaching and up. And last one, stretching the side out, opening up those intercostal muscles, opening them further and stabilizing the trunk. Coming up onto my knees. Knees are right under the hips, trying to get the hip flexors as open as possible. So this front part of the pelvis is open, lengthening up. First of all, lifting my chest to the ceiling, scooping and rolling.

So I extend out. I'm trying to keep my hips right over my knees and lengthening up our king, dropping the head, lengthening the spine, scooping to come back, letting the bar come all the way up and then pressing to do a little back bend. Lifting over the backbend, stretching the spine out, curving back and lifting even further. Oh, that felt delicious. So now adding on to, I'm doing a rollback. Just articulate the spine. This is a little bit low for me. I was working with a shorter person, so I get this a bit higher.

Okay, very good. So heels, heels, and big toe on starting with the vertical spine and just pressing those heels into the bar as a roll back, pulling the bar in, pressing it back, pressing into my heels and making that stomach bring me up. Adding a little bit and pulling the bar in and articulating down, pressing my heels away from me, pressing out, pulling back and rolling up and releasing. One more time. The heart of variation, pulling in first, lifting the spine, connecting the hips and the legs. I'm trying to make my legs be very active and back and head forward, bro. I love working hard and up, so going into breathing traditionally is always done at the end. Let me just get the breathing bar and I've been experimenting with this exercise to really use it to get the hamstrings and the glutes working because it is quite easy for those muscles not to be as involved in a balanced leg structure and basically, let's see if my position is good. Yes it is.

It's very common for people. And this is very much the way this exercise is done with a lot of focus on the articulation of the spine and the legs are just hanging out. So what I'm playing with is literally pushing down with the feet as though I'm trying to get the, the trapeze bar to pull down and that instantly activates the hamstrings in the glute very actively. It changes a spinal alignment. So then what happens if my focus is on the ankles pressing down my whole leg balance shifts in the sockets and it work and a whole lot harder and it's almost a different exercise for me. And for some of my students it's been a gold mine variation to work. From there, once a spinal column is nice and loose, so I will be pressing down, hauling down and I'm working the legs. My focus is more the legs in the spine.

I'm holding the position and then slowly rolling down and keeping the ankles really active into that strap. And again, ankles pull down the hamstrings and the glutes activate and then I start to roll. So my focus is making the legs initiate and hold and hold and roll down. Now as I have one leg, much weaker than the other, I'm now doing it with one leg. So that leg has to work extra hard. I'm just getting the other leg out of the way, getting that hip to lift and then lower down and again, pressing into my left leg and lifting up.

You can do all sorts of Nice, very variations with this if you wanted to, depending upon the angles and rowing down, going into my stronger leg. Now you know all my weaknesses. So the right leg works much more easily and roll down and roll up and roll down. And one more time. The weak leg. So always weak leg, strong leg, weak leg. Okay, so you never want to baby. Whoa, I can feel the wobble here. So I'm focusing my last one, really making sure I'm coming right up through the center. This is where having someone look at you with so, so, so helpful and row down. Very good. So I really, really have found that very, very useful in getting so much more my leg position and the kind of the balance of the muscles of my legs, more challenged in a healthy way and moving into working into the upper back.

So the head is down, let me get my feet right over the edge. So if I pull a bit and press down, I'm now activating my hamstrings and glutes, which is the mission I've got going for this month or myself. So they're activating, it pulls my lower back law, lift my head and now from the stomach I'm lifting up and lengthening. But my whole back body is now in a state of contraction to hold the shape. And then as I lower down, I'm reaching the last long, taking a breath in and on the breath out from your my feet, I'm working through all the way to the crown of the head and then lightening sending back out on relaxing and one more time initiating through the legs, lifting up and then lengthening out. [inaudible] sending out. Thanks.

Sending out and releasing. So child's pose, stretching. One side. I'm a big side buddy stretcher or you think it is a very important part and coming into thigh stretch. So all of this work to get the back hamstrings and glutes working very much. Also part of opening up the hip flexes, we've all got taped tight hip flexors.

Now I would say because we are a civilization of sitting with computers and cars, I can sometimes be sitting four or five hours a day. I hate it, but it's a fact of life. So I need to really compensate for that. So opening up in here, lifting up through the spine, pressing down head, head, [inaudible] and back. I'm going to move a little tiny bit closer so I can get, so here we go. I'm getting my hips even further lifted and now I can feel the wrap around the hip socket and the length out of it. Head head and [inaudible] release. One more time.

Lifting even further up from the hips, stretching the spine up, head head, a release going into side stretch. Again, opening up, same position. That first exercise is done totally to prepare the pelvis and the spine and then hinges to open up those hip flexors even further and make the size work. Oh, that feels so good. The anecdote to civilization is thigh stretch. I get very silly when I work out. Oh, that feels amazing. And last one, I'll go into a backbend.

So same thing. Hip flexors, very open, lumbar spine long, everything is locked. So I'm going back, opening up my front body. Now let's see if I can open up the sternum, hoping up the shoulders, open up the head, close it that upper body and come back up and sitting back into the hips just to loosen everything up. So going into a little bit of leg springs, now that I've gotten my pelvis nicely warmed up and I've gotten the hamstrings warmed up, I am going to put those muscles to good use so I could be flopping here and just, let's see, it's been very easy for me to do leg springs. Actually these are a little bit high. I'm gonna lower that. It's very easy for me personally with my body type and propensity to be flexible to do moves and look I suppose look good, but actually I'm not building the muscle tonality I need in my own body.

So finding the ankles and the focus point of where to take the movement from is a real art that applies to each person. And in my case it's activating the legs and the hips so I'm not just doing the move but they're really being initiated properly. So here I am, I'm actually pushing into the spring a bit so I can find the same pelvic wrap around the sit bones in the pelvis. Don't want to be tucked as, I want that sacred flat and just for a minute I'm lifting my head up to double check that my trunk is long and then I am act actively pushing down into the springs to make the legs do the work and back. So I'm finding that I have to work a whole lot harder and be much more connected up when I take the legs a bit lower. Even though if I was to go here, still can work because the muscles have now started waking up.

I used to be able to, now I'm just working into my quads now I'm working into my glutes and my hamstrings. It's a very different kind of a workout with just that subtle tweaking, so depending upon what you think you need, and here are the leg circles, same thing. I'm keeping the range of movement small so I can initiate from the glutes and the hamstrings and feel the connection into my trunk and then the other way, and I just did another session with a lady in a wheelchair. My friend Daniella and she did the same exercises, so go figure. These exercises are amazing whether you are training for the Olympics or you just want to have a sense of vibrancy in your old age and not be riddled with too much in mobility.

It's just amazing how the human body will follow certain protocols and then moving into the bigger scissors. What my focus is right now is really pushing into the spring and finding the initiation from the hip and then bringing the legs in. So just a very short and easy leg circle variation. And coming up, I am going to do some arms things, so I've just put on um, arm Ha, uh, hand springs. They're a little bit light lighter than the legs springs and starting out again, this has to activate my lads. I've got the feet hooked over the edge, placing myself in the middle.

It's kind of like double leg springs in a funny way. Double leg kicks him in. So I'm activating my glutes and pelvis down so my hamstrings are working. I'm actually using my toes, the traction and then I'm pushing into the, to lift. So the whole side body, my lats into my waist. I can feel them working, lifting a little bit more. So it's a variation of Eagle right here. I'm giving myself a little bit of a stretch, pressing down to lift, reaching and lifting a little bit more.

And one more time pressing into those springs to get the back body to live. And now I'm going to add on the feet. Go kick, kick, Kipp and lift just for the fun of variations and kick, kick, kick and lift. And one more time. Kick, kick, kick and lift. I'm going to let go hike myself forward and just because it feels like the right thing to do, I've opened up my hip flexors and stretched the side trunk coming up into rocking, opening up the hips and again I like to grab a little bit lower down so I can get the hip flexes to open further and one more time and rocking. Three, four, five, six and stretch those quads.

Sit back into my heels and stretch my whole spine out and on my back they little bit more warm up with the arms, the shoulders and now being grounded down into the mat and lengthening down. Hold, hold, hold and up. And again I'm pressing down, I'm trying to feel up through the crown of my head, the length in the body and up again pressing down. I sinned. Long and up bending tricep curls, reaching three, four, five, six and opening the arms out, pulling them to the size and I'll get the legs out of the way, pulling them to the size [inaudible]. So I'm initiating this from my shoulders.

So the shoulder is anchoring into the trunk and then I'm trying to get the trunk muscles to pull down, not the hands. And then reverse trunk muscles pull now and reluctantly open. So everything is being done to connect the limbs into the trunk. And one more time reaching and up and little circles and reverse. Ah, Ooh, fun. Nice roll up articulating through the spine.

Oh that feels good. Just for fun. I am the stretchy type so it just feels like a nice indulgence for me every so often to let, oh, that feels so good and down. Okay. And to finish, you can never do anything without some chin-ups and pull ups, so I will need to get the trapeze bar again. So I've just put the trap ps on the edge. The measurements are always approximate, but more or less.

And some people are very good at jumping up. I'm not sure if I am not quite, but I still got something to work on. So first of all, this is wonderful to open up the lower spine, lift to a plank, three pull ups and hanging out and stretching. Now adding in, I'm just getting my arms even adding the back, Ben opening out and three pull-ups, one, two, three and down. Last one and up. And let's see if I can get higher. No, I can't. Two, three and down. So going to the other side, there's a few variations of this other type of pull up.

The way I like to hold the body is to set it up so you're like a steel rod. So instead of being in an extension, you're actually in a form of a front frontal contraction. So everything is held in a straight line and the feeling is forward and back. And then at the end you just release out to stretch the front body. It's a wonderful feeling.

Retracting my shoulder blade hanging out so I'm not hanging. I'm holding the shoulders and one and two and three, four, five and six and I'm worked out. I hope you have fun. Enjoy. Bye.


Ingrid J
Nice work! Love your cues and comments, but did you mean "antidote" instead if "anecdote"?
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you for your comment Ingrid, I am sure you are right about antidote, I would need to re watch the video to affirm this.
My intention is to make sense and sometimes I mix up words.
Niedra-you keep outdoing yourself with great classes! Nice to see how much movement you can incorporate in a short time frame. You did such a great job articulating not only the cues, but also what your body does/needs and how you address it. Fun flow to this routine. Thank you for sharing which parts were difficult for you.
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you Hydie, love reading your comment. really! thank you.
Thank you for this work out. I love the suggestion of hooking the feet at the end of the trap table for added traction/back of the leg activation during extension work. I will definitely enjoy visiting this work out again
Niedra, thank you for providing a challenging workout to renew the Pilates spirit for ourselves, the teacher. One of your best presentations.
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you Leslie and Kathleen for your posted comments. I am such a supporter of teachers! we all tend to give so much, we need to make sure we get back as well.
So fun to "work out " with.Had a smile all the way through until the dreaded pull ups.Love the single leg work
Is always so enyoyable and inspiring to see your gracefully clean technique and your simple functional queing
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you for your posts ladies - always lovely to connect via the forum.
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