Hi there, I'm Carrie Macy-Samper, and I'm excited to do my own personal workout today at Pilates Anytime. I'm excited to share it because of the progress I've made over my personal Pilates practice life to where I am now, which is when I do my personal practice, I make it a point to be very present, to be very focused sort of inside my body on what's happening. I really need to put my body back together now when I practice, sort of feels that way, and so while I still want to work out and I still want to feel like I'm challenging myself, I'm much more thoughtful about what's going on in each movement. So when I do my workout today, I'm gonna start on the reformer, and then also do some spine corrector. I will kind of talk through what I'm feeling, what I'm kind of paying attention to in my own body, and to illustrate that.
And I also most every workout love barrels. So I want to open my chest, I want to work and open my hips. My body definitely feels like it needs movement in all directions. So, there's usually a barrel at some point in all of my workouts. Alright, so, here we go.
I'm gonna start with footwork on four springs, on my toes to begin, and I just press out and the first one I really like to stay for a moment and feel the pressure into the shoulders, the reach through my legs. Get a little bit deeper connection in my abs and come in. And I keep going. Just breathing normally. I'm not too worried about when I'm inhaling or exhaling yet.
And I'm trying to feel the connection between my heels, I'm trying to feel that connection work up under my hips, this left side for me is a lot, it's sticky, doesn't quite connect, so I really work on that sensation. And then I change to my arches, and as I do my arches, I'm focusing a lot on my feet. What do I feel in my arch? Can I massage it a little bit more? Can I still create the length in my torso?
Do both of my legs feel like they're extending at the same time? And I feel the work in my quads. They get tired. I feel it in my abdominals. And my feet.
I'm gonna move to my heels. And here on this first one I really stretch the backs of my legs. My calves start to wake up and I keep feeling that intension with each extension of my legs. And of course with all these little extraneous things, I'm still very connected into my abdominals. I'm starting to wake them up and bring myself back to a centered feeling, and one more.
And then I come to my toes again for a tendon stretch. I like to do this parallel and a little bit apart with my feet, that way I don't worry about my knock knees or my ankles hitting. Now when I do that though I really still have to focus on kind of wrapping underneath the backs of my legs. To keep out of the hyperextension in my knees. And I'm really working my feet.
As if I were actually kind of curling my heels under the bar and then pushing the bar away. So it makes my feet feel like they're working. Well, they are working, but I'm noticing that. Alright, let me move on to the hundred. So I probably won't speak very much through the hundred.
But here we are. I like to start it straight and long, just feel the length in all directions. I inhale and exhale up. And I'm really actually just focusing on length. Can I push my handles a little more?
Can I reach my legs a little more? Can I sink my abs a little deeper? And I don't want to do two more, but I will. Right? Mind over matter! And then I lower.
Okay, moving on to short spine. I personally don't like to do a lot of the advanced overhead things anymore. It doesn't feel as good on my neck. So, here we go onto short spine. I just change it to two springs as well, and I'm on a grot, so they're the same medium tension springs.
Press out, now I want to lift from my powerhouse, not just by my legs. So my first lift is my hips curling up and over. That really connects me in. I bend my knees really close around my shoulders so I feel a stretch in my upper back, and then I roll down from my sternum, ribs, waist, I try to get this length as much as I can and then bring my feet in. I inhale to go out and I exhale, hips start the lift.
I like it to pull me over. I feel a really nice stretch in my upper back as I bend my knees down, my arms press heavier and then I roll down. And I'll just do two more. So I'm feeling the stretch through my spine, and I'm feeling still the centering and the connection around my hips and then when I finish here, I allow my legs to get that little extra stretch so I can just slide the handles off and into coordination. I inhale, hold my breathe, exhale in, and in.
This I really focus on my breathe. I inhale, I really hold it. I exhale, and I keep exhaling all the air out. I inhale, really hold it. Exhale, exhale.
Two more. Last one. So I'm squeezing out my air. That's like, that's kind of like a rejuvenating thing as opposed to like I'm just doing coordination again. Rowing is next.
I always do rowing, 'cause I just love the feeling in my shoulders. So the round back right into the sternum. I like to move just my arms first and come around. I don't ever hook my thumbs together here. I want to really feel my back muscles doing their work.
And then the rotation through my shoulders, I really feel the depression of my shoulder blades and the rotation of the arms. I'm trying to connect my glutes, the lift of my abs, and the shoulder rotation. So again, I'm not worried about what it looks like. I'm worried about what it feels like. Am I connected in my box, right?
In my hips, my shoulders and my spine. The flat back is next. 90 degrees. I'm trying to get length. Reaching through my hands, reaching through my toes.
And as I hinge my elbows and my forearms are in line with the straps, I reach my elbows to the straps that gives me this extra extension in length. And then I have one more. I like that the Pilates has sort of a okay, do ten of these, do three of these, kind of guide. 'Cause at least you just do that. You could do more if you want but, you can at least do the number you're "supposed" to do.
Alright, so now I have the front rowing series. And here I'm focusing on pressing down under my shoulders, under my arms, my left side always feels different. And it doesn't feel as connected. So I feel how can I change that? Can I reach more out?
Can I get both sides to connect? It feels like my shoulder joints need more space. So I reach wider and grow taller, and it feels better. On this, I like to take my arms behind my back just because it feels so good in the stretch. So, I don't know if Romana would approve, but my shoulders like it.
Okay, and then I move on to the last two rowings. Shaving. And again, I'm really focusing on my shoulders. That left one is so funny that I want to wrap it down and around and then reach, and then I try to lift out of my spine. And it's like a whole tug-of-war inside.
And I notice that I can't quite straighten my arms if I keep the left shoulder connected. So I just go to where I can keep that connection. And then I move onto the hug. And here again it's a breathe focus. Inhale, exhale.
Inhale, exhale. Same thing, inhale, exhale, then I reverse my breathing. Inhale here, exhale as I close. And I really open my back. I'm trying to create that space again around my ribcage, around my shoulder girdle.
Good. I told myself good. Haha, okay. Now I move on. And I like to do the, I definitely do the swan.
I love extension. I feel it's so important to work it. So, I'll do it here. There's a bunch of different variations, this is sort of my favorite one. So, I do it. (laughs) This is a challenge for me right here.
To get the backs of my legs to come together. That feels great. This feels great, and now this is hard again. So, I really try to feel what can I do to make that work for my legs? Lift my abdominals more, shoulders down.
And I'll just do two of those today. Pulling steps. So we're down to one spring for pulling straps. The swan I did on two springs. Okay, this is another one where I'm thinking about my shoulders and the opening in my shoulders and the symmetry.
I really reach out of my shoulders, not this way but sort of extending toward the floor. And as I pull back, I feel that space in my shoulders before I open my chest. And I also think of lifting up my abdominals, feel the connection and stability there. And really work my shoulder blades toward each other. And then the T-pull.
Reach wide as I pull back again, and I find that I feel this almost more in my legs sometimes, in my glutes and my hamstrings. And I'm grateful there's only three of each. So, that's a reality, we all feel that sometimes. Moving on to backstroke and teaser. I just add one spring, so I'm onto medium strength springs.
I get really close up to the front of the box. And I've always liked this exercise because I can really feel right here the articulation through the upper thoracic and the depth into my upper abdominals, which help me a lot to get into teaser, which is the next exercise. So don't be satisfied with this. I'm like reach, Carrie, reach, reach, reach. It's pretty satisfying when you do that.
Okay. For teaser, in my own practice, I do this first. And I take a moment. And I take a big breathe in, and on my exhale, I'll roll up. Try to roll through my hundred position to make it up.
And we go right into circles, 'cause usually I just want to open and strengthen my shoulders. I roll through that hundred again and take it down. This is my favorite part of teaser, right here. Breathe in. Exhale up.
And I reverse it. And I try to reach at least past my toes. That's kind of my own personal push. And my last one. If I'm feeling fancy, I might do my single arm shaving.
Which is just sort of fun. It's easier than it looks like. 'Cause one of the things that attract me to Pilates is that it's fun. There are fun things in it. And I give myself an extra stretch by grabbing onto the frame here.
As I mentioned, I love extension. Alright. So now we go to the short box! And my body is feeling woken up by this time. And I'm ready to kind of open more in my hips, do a little bit more articulation in my back. So I roll back, and this is my own personal thing I enjoy doing here is I push with my elbows to get a little more length in my lower back before I go over.
And same thing on the way up. I can give a little push and that helps me scoop. This is something I started to do after I had my son when I was, well first of all, I wasn't able to do this right away after having my son. But, it gives me sort of this extra assistance and then I can do it without but, it just helps me create more length. Flat back.
Here I'm focusing on my shoulders. Not anything else, really. Because I want this kind of opening and rotation here, so I keep that lift as I hinge, and I keep it as I return. And I actually feel a lot of work in here. Which I think is good for me at this point.
And my side-to-side, I love side-to-side because it stretches down into this side of my back that doesn't seem like it ever was flexible. So I really work down into my hip, I really push my leg to the side. And then I have twist and reach. And the same thing here. As I'm reaching, I'm thinking of this reach.
And it gives kind of a new meaning to this exercise rather than just twisting and hinging. But reaching from the ribs through the shoulder. And somehow, it just makes you feel like you're waking up your whole body. Okay, here's my tree. Just gonna do one like this today.
And I focus here. When I grab my ankle, I really sink this down and wrap my hip forward and then flex my foot and this stretches through my hip, my hamstring, my lower back, and then I can lift up tall. And I feel like doing one is enough if you get that really nice stretch at the end. So here again. This is scooped.
Shoulders are down, hip is forward, and then I bring my head forward, and it's like a whole new awakening is happening in my left hip and my lower back. Alright, I will do a couple of side sit-ups, because of the stretch I get at the end. And I like to keep this leg as still as possible, so I really bend in and it's just sort of satisfying in that side. And I put my hand right on the floor, and yes, I'm tall, so I can do this. But I really love it.
I grab the reformer and I give a really nice pull as I reach my heel forward. Yes, that's why you should do side sit-ups. (laughs) Sometimes I'll do these on the barrel instead. Yeah, and I prefer this stretch the most. Alright.
And now about this time I'm feeling pretty good about myself because if I had to stop now, I got a pretty good workout in. But, I'm not stopping! Okay! So I move onto long stretch series. And first I just find my connections, right in my shoulders, this left shoulder is funky, as I was mentioning. So I make sure I'm connected. I find length, and then I move myself back and I move myself in.
And I'm just really focusing on my shoulder connection, my glutes, that's kind of the frame of my box and feeling that stability and strength. Down stretch is one of my favorite exercises. I guess it's the extension. Inhale, and I really push with my heels back, so as I exhale, I can get more stretch. And the forward pulls just as important as the lift.
And I like this. Okay. Then my up stretch. This I focus a lot on connecting to my core in order to move my legs. So it's not just about moving the carriage, it's are my shoulders connected?
Are my abs up? And then can I drive the carriage from that and how far does it get out? Not as far as if I were just pushing with my legs. But I feel a lot more connected. Okay.
And then my elephant! And here I'm focusing on my shoulders. This is easy to do. But if I open and wrap, feels a lot better for me, and it helps me to get this left side to turn on. There we go. Okay, long back stretch is one of my favorite ones, even though it's not easy.
I just feel it's such a powerful movement from your hips. And so what I'm focusing on here is that my shoulders stay open as I curl up, and I try not to use my toes. Because then I'm not feeling I'm getting the connection down the back as much. Okay. Stomach massage.
I kind of make myself do this and sometimes I skip it, to be honest. Well, I'll do a couple of them. You know we all have our favorites. But, as I really get inside and focus on what I should be feeling, I really start to enjoy this exercise again if I can lift up more than I round, right, that lift feels so nice. And then I really get to work my feet and my ankles.
And here too I focus again on my shoulders and the symmetry of what my arms are doing, 'cause the left one feels completely different than the right. Just feels very tight. And not connected. So I'm trying to bring that sensation back. Okay, and then the reach up.
I lift as tall as I can, I desperately try to keep that. The breathing is important on this one too, and the twist, I like to hold here and really push through both feet and twist and lift away from it. Sometimes I think this gets thrown away. Push, lift. And it's so nice to ring out everything in the center of your body.
Okay. One of my favorite exercises is next, the semi-circle. So this one I never leave out. And once this exercise made sense to me it completely changed my world. So, I put my hands down at the end 'cause my shoulders are very open.
So that works for me to still keep the connection of my shoulders. I come in as far as I can, I feel my quads stretch. I begin to roll down and I really start from here. A lot of people sort of drop their hips, but don't lose this yumminess up in your thoracic spine. Oops.
Don't rip my new pants. Okay, then as I push out, I'm really feeling my upper back push into the carriage. Then I curl from the lowest part of my spine and I come in. So I take my time articulating down. And up.
Then I'll reverse. And I'm a big fan of not pushing all the way out because once you're here, you can get better articulation in your spine. And my last one, I just do this final stretch and I'm thinking hips up and forward, knees narrow, connection here. And I get a nice stretch everywhere, and then I pull myself from the carriage and I get to rest here for a second because I've learned that I think I have low blood pressure so, I get dizzy if I sit up too fast. And then the next exercise is chest expansion, and I can't tell you how many times being pushed through workouts that I'm doing chest expansion and I'm black, and I have little lights.
So I take a rest after semi-circle, and I think that's important too with clients, oh my gosh, to be able to realize that that could happen. It's a huge change of body position, semi-circle. Okay. Chest expansion. I really tuck with my feet so I can get a deep connection in the back.
And then in the front as well so I can move my arms, and I'm not worried about falling at all. I use my breathe here, I breath in deeply after I exhale. I hold my breathe, and then I exhale, all of the way. So there's certain exercises that I really focus on the breathe on a full inhale, full exhale, and others that I just breath. I like to accentuate the breathe.
I think it's really good for us and important. So here's my thigh stretch. I did change it to three springs. So it has more support on the grots. I can go back this far.
I really feel supported. Another apparatus, it just feels different so it doesn't matter how far you go back. This could be it. But here I really feel the support, so I can go farther. Okay.
Now I move onto my arm circles again, just because it feels so nice in my shoulders. I'm gonna go down to one spring. And again, these are all medium-level springs that I'm using. So, as I reach forward and up I pause here and I really reach into the straps, and as I open, I try desperately not to shift my body back and I notice, woops, caught. Where do I feel it if I don't shift back?
In my glutes and my hamstrings. Do I feel it evenly? Is that left side not working as well? Okay. I can see the left side is an issue for me lately.
That happens since I had my son. Something just went awry on that side. It's no longer connected. Okay, knee stretches. My own workout, I'll just do the knees off.
I'm like, just do the best one and be done with it. I'm fine with 10. Romana would have told me 30, I'm good with 10 now. I'm on two springs. And I'm really pushing through my heels and keeping my tailbone curled.
Okay, and now I'm really grateful running is here. I've always loved running because it tells you, oh my god, I accomplished so much and I get a little break. And I reconnect the same way I did in that first footwork first. I really feel the pressure in my shoulders. I let my collarbones open.
I reach through my toes, and I go slow initially. And as much as I'm stretching my heel down, I'm also wrapping under my hip. So I'm keeping the integrity of all the muscles I've worked. And I'm not pushing into my knees. I'm gonna quicken my tempo, and the up is the accent.
And I just keep focusing. Am I opening my shoulders? Does it feel even on both legs? Pelvic lift. I just curl the tailbone up.
It's like new stretches, just upside down. So, I'm doing my knees off. I'm just lying on my back. So I just try to feel the same thing. Feel that same connection here.
Work through my feet really evenly, this left foot again, it doesn't really do the same thing as the right. Alright. And now, I pick my favorite splits, which is the Russian splits, and this will be my last thing on the reformer. Two springs. And I take a moment to find, this is something I really love to find, a deep connection in my back foot through my heel and my toes and this wrap around my glute, and then the stability in the front leg.
And if I really focus on this back leg, then the front is easy. Especially when I bring it up, I'm focusing here. Not really here. And then I just do one big split. It reminds me that I used to be a dancer. (laughs) Okay.
Other side. So again, it's my back leg. I really plant the ball of my foot firmly in my heel and I get out there and I adjust things so I feel that connection strongly and then I'm safe. Of course I'm lifting to my abdominals. But that back leg is like my stability.
And then my big split. Alright, onto the spine corrector. Okay, so I said I always have to have a barrel in my workouts, so today I have the spine corrector. And I'm gonna start with the legs series. So just sit near the front.
Slide down until I feel like I can lift my head. And I start with my just leg circles. And what I'm focusing on is really that reach, but also the pulling back. My hands hardly do anything, and in fact, I like to reach them up just so my arms are longer and I'm not so shrugged up. And then I reverse.
And I'm really focusing on this pubic bone to bellybutton connection. And I feel this weirdness in my left side, so I'm trying to kind of wrap that. It just doesn't feel quite right. Alright, and then I'll just do the scissors. And then focusing on the same things.
My length in the arms, the chest is open and the reach through both legs, both directions should feel good, not just be like, ugh, I'm doing scissors. And then a bicycle. And my goal is to have this and then go through. So I have my scissor, and then the bicycle. So I have like a hamstring curl down there.
I really feel like everything was working together. And then I reverse. And scissors, and scissors. All the while I'm still trying to pull my abdominals in and my ribs into the barrel. Okay.
Now one of my favorite exercises is the leg circles onto the head. Because of the extension, really, and because it's sort of fun and like acrobatic, right? So, starting here, I come off the barrel a little bit, and I'm really just lifting from my sternum. I just slide up onto the top of my head. There's no jumping onto my head.
It's a very organic lift. And my spine should just sort of roll with it. It's truly a full-body exercise. Now, up I come! That's another fun part! Okay. Don't worry if you can't do that.
But, the fun is worth it. Alright, so now I do teaser. Now, why I like it this way is because my legs are really long and it gives me more support on my legs. But I still need to work on my low belly connection so that connects me here a lot. I curl up and reach, and I'm trying to when I come up, lift off of my lower back, so I come off of my lower back and then my legs go down and up.
And then both things go. Touch my toes, okay. Now, I need to get my extension in again with swimming. I find my exact spot. I try to make arms and legs as big as possible.
I'm also reaching in both directions. And then I love this exercise and I think I learned this from Pat Guyton at Amy's studio many moons ago. But it was like a variation of double A kicks and he kind of round over the barrel, and you do your kicks, and then you get this lovely, aided extension. You kind of curl. This is really comforting this way.
And you get the full movement of your thoracic spine in both directions. So thank you, Pat, and thank you, Amy. (laughs) It's one of my favorites. And then a little child's pose. And the final thing I do is something I call the Pilates Shavasana, where I just slide back, and this Pilates Shavasana is something that you can just do any time for your self-care. You have five minutes before your next client comes?
Put your legs over the barrel and lie on a nice, thick mat and close your eyes. It's literally so relaxing. So, it's way better than just lying on your back. Use this wonderful apparatus and give yourself some self-care before your client comes.
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