Class #4489

Get Your Joe On

55 min - Class


Draw on the spirit of Joseph Pilates to find ultimate efficiency and effectiveness in your Pilates practice. You’ll reacquaint yourself with your upper extremities and find your inner boxer in this vigorous Mat class. Learn how you can “Get Your Joe On” and work with powerful, full body integration.
What You'll Need: Mat


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Hey all, welcome back to the Pilates Center here in Boulder, Colorado. We're going to talk about I think a pretty interesting topic today. I'm showing you a fabulous picture of Joe Pilates and that amazing muscular upper body. And I think one of the things that is not talked about quite as much as maybe it should be is that in fact this entire system was created by a mind body that looks and exists in that form. And given that 90%, I don't know what the numbers are, but it's pretty high, is all women and a tendency towards more flexibility and more weight and attention placed in the lower body and the legs, we find that after a while Pilates can get a little aggravating on the upper body for a lot of women.

And we want to start, I think sooner than later, much sooner than later, remembering that it actually was designed by a guy who could only experience movement from a powerful upper body with a little less weight, a little less length, and a little less flexibility in the lower body. So doing, especially as you get into some of the more advanced material on all of the equipment and certainly on mat there's a lot more upper body and arm bearing exercises. So we really need to kind of prepare for them and not assume they just come naturally. He really was a boxer, right? So he expected to have assumed a certain degree of wrist, fist, and forearm strength.

We can get kind of wimpy there, but also chest and shoulders and back and abs, right? So instead of thinking about all the stuff we do with our legs down here, we're gonna focus today and feel how different it can be if you imagine all these exercises from that male point of view, that boxer point of view. All right. So we're just gonna keep remembering that we're trying to experience it a little differently than maybe we always do. Okay, all right.

So Sue is gonna come and join me and Sue in particular very long legged and very flexible, right? So challenging for her too as well for all of us, really. All right, but let's go ahead and lie down. Take a moment and just kind of energetically shorten your legs a little bit. It's not a big movement or anything.

It's a sort of take some of the energy out of your legs and draw it upwards into your upper body. So even as you prepare to go into hundred, your weight, your energy, your strength, your focus is over here, where you breathe, where you pump, and you have a powerful, powerful, upper body. You just imagine it and it changes everything. Okay, and if you need to bend your knees on your hundred just to get more sense of upper body and less legs, just do it. Okay, all right.

So you can take a huge inhale way over here. Big powerful. Remember that picture of Joe, you're gonna take a powerful exhale and lift up into your hundred and you're gonna start your pumps in two, three, four, five, and out two, three, four, five. And you're gonna keep on siphoning it, imagine less and a little less and a little less. Pour it all into here and then grow it really big.

Maybe even shrug your shoulders up a little bit. Yeah, and maybe take them up towards the ceiling a little bit. Like maybe come this way. Up, yeah, like up this way. Yeah, so that you're picking your big powerful upper body up.

That's the stuff, Sue. And then we start getting some color and then we're almost done. Sue usually counts. So we're gonna take a really big inhale. Even when you set yourself down stay over here and then last one and down.

Nice job. Okay, if you have a strap or a sandbag, something like that, some ankle weights, and if you have a bar, grab that. Okay, so take a moment. Take the bar up and over your head. Now it's less stretchy.

It's big, you're strong and powerful. And you have strong wrists, fists and forearms, right? And you pick up the upper body and you exhale it. And then you pick up the upper body and you move it through space. Beautiful, five times.

Inhale and exhale and you feel powerful pecs, powerful deltoids, inhale and exhale. And you've got strong biceps and triceps along with your wrists, fists and forearms, bend, bend, bend. Roll it back. Beautiful and last one, bend and exhale. Fill the lungs, lift that upper body across the room.

Very nice and maybe you start to feel kind of the, oh, it's a lot of air. It's a lot of oxygen. All right, so you can make the legs up to the ceiling. Why don't we do that just so that we don't have all of that to deal with. Okay, now right off the bat you're gonna soften your legs.

Yes, right? They can be strong, but don't make them long and extra heavy. Make them light and then put all your power over here to pick up the whole lower body with your chest. And even here, shorten the legs a little bit. Don't stretch anything.

Feel like you shrink your body up into the smaller end of you, even here. So like just way less. So you got to pick it up instead of stretch it. Yes, put it where it goes and then pick it up with your chest and bring it back down. One more, this direction, less stretching, more power lifting and here too.

Don't let the legs hang off of you. They're not that long, reverse, and hips pick you up. And it's also a lot of back power. Pick up your back. Hold your chest broad.

Pick up your back. Yes, pick it up and hold it tall. There we go. Now we're talking, right? Last one, big chesty movements so tomorrow we're sore in the pecs, we're sore in the lats.

We're sore in the upper arms. Nice job. Okay, then go ahead and scoot back up a little bit but we're gonna, I know it's called legs circles but we're gonna do them as chest and upper body circles today. Okay, so you've got one leg up. And once again, it's just not, it's not that it is a different size or anything.

You're just making it less intense. It can still be strong, but smaller then you chest it. You pick the whole lower body up. Pick the whole lower body up right, up, up, up. Yes, and move it like your power is here.

Pick it up. Yes, you can go nice shoulders back. Big chesty movements. Inhale, exhale. And let's even do two where you bend your knee.

Right, you can still point your foot nice and strongly. But the leg is short and you're doing a torso movement. You're picking up your pelvis and moving the whole thing. One more time. Imagine you didn't even have legs for one of them and then come around and we'll go the other way.

And down, around, over and up so that much more of the action is in here. The breathing, the twisting, using of abdominals using of pecs, all your shoulder muscles, your upper back muscles. Right, inhale, exhale. And then one more, and good. And let's stay here for a moment.

Keep your knee bent. All right. Take without actually articulating your hip joint, so you're not so much moving your knee in the socket as you are picking the right side of your body up. Yes, and putting the right side of the body over here and then coming back. Pick it up and put it over here and don't let the leg hang.

Yes, one more like that. Pick it up and put and hold the leg. Yes, right and come back and we'll do that, let's go on the other leg and let's do that first. Okay, just so you sort of establish it. So we've got a slightly smaller, shorter, less energized leg.

And instead your whole center seam, you're gonna pick the left side up and put the leg and bring it back. And the leg doesn't dangle. You hold it up even a little. Yeah, almost like the leg goes after the body. Just a little bit.

So you really feel some power in there and you come back. All right, so now let's take it into your circles but keep that power going down around. Think ahead to like corkscrew, right? That you're gonna want that twisting power. Maybe you don't even take the leg quite as low today but you take the hip farther.

That's the way and around. And two more, inhale, can even think you have smaller feet. You have shorter shins and you have much more power in your upper body. And now we're gonna reverse, and inhale down and twist your chest, your lungs, your heart, inhale around. Feel it's way up here.

Just picture again, that bust of Joe. He's all chest. Couple more, exhale. And you're thinking ahead to some of that later work where we need to have much more power in the upper body. All right, so you're gonna bend and you're gonna roll up to sitting and then just pick your hips up and move them forward.

And then you just picture the Joe picture again and you roll, inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Right, and you feel that you don't even think today it's less a roll and more a pickup, like you roll back, you pick up your hips, pick them up, and then you pick up your chest. Yeah, so it's less languid, less supple and flexible today. And a little bit more substantial, with lots of muscles, and last time and up, nice job.

Okay, hands down. Straighten your legs, lie down. Now again, we're gonna focus, we're almost gonna pretend nothing's going on over here. We're gonna focus over here. Okay, and we go, switch and switch, and switch and then pause one second and come on over here.

Right, all of this, some nice person is holding you right here as you go. Switch and your legs don't pull you off your chest. Your chest holds your legs to you into your double leg stretch. Your big inhale over here and it's not just arms. It's chest.

The chest holds you exactly like I've got you by your rib cage and I'm holding you in opposition to your legs so they don't pull you, nice job. Last one, into your scissors and switch and pulse, pulse, and take your hands higher on your ankle. Pull your elbows way back and almost tip backwards. That's the way, there you go. Nice, okay, last one.

Hands behind your head and stay away over here. Inhale the legs down. You pull this way. Exhale, inhale legs aren't as long as you think but your upper body is twice as strong. Nice job.

Little faster in and out, in and out, nice job. Last one, in and out, and maybe the hardest one of all, but big chesty movements, little less shoulder movements and a little more chest. Up we go, up we go. Right, I got the whole rib cage working, nice and rest. All right and come on up.

Now again like some nice person gets behind you. They come around your rib cage and they just pick you up. Inhale and then exhale, round over. And then this big powerful chest practically lifts you off the ground. Not by stretching or lengthening, but by big muscle power to pick yourself up with, yes.

Exhale all the way go, go, go. Inhale, last two. Just even kind of shorten your legs more than you think. Energetically, they've got less power. They're still strong, but they're not so long.

And last one, exhale and come back up. Okay, so now you're just gonna curl back a little bit, bend your knees and pull them in and straighten up. Okay, so now you've got a big, let's go a little wider, and now again, relax your leg energy and pick your chest up. Right, so you're almost a little more over here if you can be, and then you go. Chest up, chest up, chest up.

Okay, chest up. Yeah, and the inhale is all in the lungs. Yeah, Sue that's the way. The exhale is powerful abdominal contraction. It's not a sigh, it's a squeeze.

And the last one we'll just pause at the moment and again, right. So kind of let yourself be. Your upper body is longer, taller, bigger, stronger than your legs. Up we go, right? Bring your feet together and then roll down and jackknife over and up.

So think about when you were doing your single leg circles now. Really the whole torso goes, the legs are maybe not quite as long as you think, and they stay very close to you, right? So you stay over here. Nice job. And you twist, we'll do three sets and around and up, nice job.

So you're a little more compact, right? It's not that you're not strong. You're definitely strong. Last set. You're just not going for the length so much today as you're going for the compact.

Especially in the lower half and then power, power up here. Nice and then you're gonna roll on up and take your arms out to the side. Okay, so yeah, so take a moment. Fill your chest up. Look like the picture of Joe, twist to the right and then squeeze your air.

Big chest, big chest and exhale. And it's muscle. Think of the big muscles Joe would have had in his deltoids, in his neck, in his traps, for sure. Rom Boyd's lats. Right, so when you come up, last set, when you come up go ahead and come on up to the center.

Don't tighten in here. Fill almost a little curl Sue. Yeah, so you could fill more, yes. And bend it instead of stretching it, bend it. Yeah, pick it up.

Use muscle to get you there. Muscle contraction gets you there. Right, and you stay kind of small until the muscles get strong and then you come back out. Nice, good. So, so many cues we've used in Pilates for so long, length and lift, stretch, reach more, all that kind of stuff can pull us apart sometimes and kinda defeat the point which is that muscles contract.

And we want them to contract and get strong instead of be pulled apart all the time. All right, so swing your legs around and lie on your belly. Okay, so we're gonna do this a little less articulating today and a little more like your skeleton is deeply embedded in a lot of meat. So you pick your big chest up. Nice job and you lower your chest and you start thinking I'm getting ready for those push-up kind of movements later, right?

So I've got a big chest and I've got powerful arms and oh, nice Sue. And I'm a little more compact and I'm a little more an upper body than I am a lower body. And last one, let's start with your eyes first. Just a little, that's right. And then chest it up and then we'll go into your dive.

The hands can stay right where they are or they can go palms down, out to the side, or they can go, yes. And this one, I think you'll feel the palms down to the side if you do some of the slightly more archival versions. Go ahead and take a seat back. Some of the more archival versions of these exercises you're actually gonna see a little bit more of that kind of male chest, upper body strength in the exercises and a little less of that languid liquid flowy, very very expansive movement that the kind of more the dancers brought it. Okay, so let's come out for your single leg kick.

So sorry, go back. Single leg kick. So you're lying on your belly. Sorry. There we go.

We got it. All right, so you're up. So now, even though, again, this seems like a lower body exercise. What if it was all over there? What if you imagined you were hanging off a bar and you had to hold yourself to the bar, that's right.

Like pulled yourself into a pull-up, right. And that the leg movement does not move you. You move the legs. Yes, so that other thought of like the tail doesn't wag the dog, right. In our case, a lot of times the legs yank around us, yank us around and we are not staying here in our chest.

All right. And then one cheek on the mat, hands high taking inhale, three kicks, little less moving you around with your kicks and then a big chest. And let's go a little less range on your lift and pick up your lift instead. So don't even overstretch that. You can straighten your arms, but hold this together.

Yes, and down, two, three. So you pick your chest up and the arms straightened but the arms don't collapse you. You produce the arms, yeah, you produce the power of the arms. You don't fall off the power of the arms or let the power pull you. You pick your chest up and grow some arms.

Good job and last one, two, three. Pick your chest up. Nice Sue and you grow, you don't hang, you grow arms and rest. Nice job and then go ahead and have a seat back. Take a little moment here.

Even relax your legs one more degree, whatever that might be and be an upper body. Be from your pelvis to your head and as if your legs are just not quite as important. All right, so you're gonna roll up. You're gonna bring your feet out in front of you. If you have a strap, yay.

Sandbags, ankle weights, whatever you got. Hip width apart, go ahead and lie down. So now again, we still, we have legs but we're not gonna make them long, we're gonna make them strong. Just the size they are. Maybe imagine they're a little shorter than you think.

So a little more compact. And then you pick your big upper body up and you pick your big upper body up, little curl so that you're not hyper extending. Yes, you could have that nice sort of triangular feeling. Maybe you imagine, I don't know some movie star or some boxer or some powerful athlete, you know, who's all chest. Yes, small in the hips and legs.

Up we go and over, and up we go and we don't hyper extend because we're so powerful. Our bones are so deeply embedded in the muscle that the joints themselves are not so malleable. They're a little stronger. Nice, nice. Yeah Sue, okay finish that.

All right, we're gonna do our scissors and bicycle. If you've ever seen the pictures of Joe he is not doing the whole touch the floor thing. He's doing a much stronger movement. So we're gonna go over and up. Put your hands here.

Again, we're not gonna hold ourselves up with our legs. We're gonna hold our legs up with ourselves. Right, and we're gonna produce legs from ourselves. We're gonna switch, pulse. And instead of thinking, I stretch down think I stretch apart from my center.

I switch and apart, switch and apart. And this leg over here more Sue. This one, yes. And this one over here. Yes, and this one might even stay up here a little.

Go ahead, out. Right, this one could have a little sense of holding you. Yes, so you don't fall into your range. Beautiful. That's right. You want to muscle your way there.

All right and then we're gonna actually skip bicycle. And we're just gonna roll down and put your feet hip width apart. Take a little moment. Even here, course the legs initiate a little bit right, but you're gonna have a chest that's very powerful, very strong. So you're gonna go ahead and curl the spine up.

And then you're gonna come over to this end of things. You're gonna kind of shorten into yourself make yourself a little compact and powerful and then kick up and down. I'm just gonna move that for you. Pick your leg up with your upper body chest and back instead of so much your quad, of course it works, but yes. All right, and then switch.

So we'll do six and you can point and flex down or you can just point or alternate. Chest it, give me some chest. Right, and don't let the leg, as it comes down, don't let it pull you off your chest. Yeah, it has to hip extend where it is and not stretch the quad quite so much. Nice, then roll it all the way down.

Then roll on up to sit again. Okay, so again, see if you could imagine that you don't so much today do the exercise and hope the right muscles do it for you, but that you literally contract the muscles that do it. Okay, so your arms are out to the side. And again, you have less long arms and you have more power arms. You take a big inhale.

You use your obliques and you twist, twist, twist, twist. And you're not even gonna bounce because you're gonna go twist, twist farther. Twist, twist farther. Good and don't let your arms get past your twist, right? So they don't go farther than you twist in the sense that you're overstretching your shoulder girdle.

And last one, nice. And then you put your hands down, point your feet, we're gonna do three jackknives with less legs and way more upper body. Up we go, chest it up, back it up, and then lower your chest and your back. And we come over, abdominals pick you up, hold in the middle, soften and lower yourself with abs. Okay, so again, this is something that we do a lot of us especially as women, is we throw these long things and we go for a ride.

So you're gonna relax these long things and you're gonna pick them up with your body and pick them up and put them where they go and pick them up and put them back down. Oh, now we're talking. Let's just do one more like that. Okay, so less of a swing, more of a pick it up and use muscles to put your body parts where your body parts go. It's contrology.

Yeah Sue, nice job. Yeah, I know. It's totally different thing, and I think, you know, I love the other thing too. I loved it. Swing my legs and roll right through.

But it really isn't the intention of the work, you know, because it came from a body mind that couldn't actually even really do that. You know, he has to move his legs from his torso and not the other way around. And so let's go into some side kicks. Last week we talked a little, we talked about the center, right and pulling yourself together. So now here we are, right.

This has to remain pretty darn compact. It's not tight or hard, but it is muscly and contracted muscle to hold you and control you. And you actually move the leg with your upper body. With your upper body, pull the leg forward. That's right.

Move the leg back. Pull the leg forward. And you might even try this, take your top hand, put it on the floor, but exactly, point your fingers towards your toes and push yourself up here, and use this up power to move the leg and stay up here. Don't let that leg pull you off yourself. That's the way, Sue.

Don't let it pull you now. That's the stuff, right? So it's not that we don't get to have a little bit of momentum, but the momentum go ahead and go forward and back one more time. Can't throw you off. Hold your leg.

Yes, so it's much more powerful. Bring the feet together, turn out. Okay, so again, we pull it all together, make you kind of compact and connected, pick it up and down. And what if, what if you had to pick it up here to pick it up? That's right and not lean and throw.

You have to pick the leg up. That's right. Pick it up. Reverse your foot. Flex up.

Yeah, don't play into your flexibility quite so much. Yes, use muscle strength, all of it. Yes, okay. Parallel, let's lift both legs up, but you're lifting them up way up here and down. And maybe you even bend your knees today the tiniest little bit and hold the weight of these things with actual muscle, that's right.

And up and down and up and down and up. Good job, that's the stuff. And then last one. And rest, nice. Okay, let's flip to the other side.

Flip? Yeah, why don't you so that everybody can kind of see where I was in her back as well. Right, so I'll come around and give you a hint. So it's here and here holding this crisscross because we liked that one. Right, and then little shortening of the leg, just a little bend of the knee.

So you have to hold it here and then don't swing it. Muscle it from your upper body. What if you had to? What if you really had to bend the knee a little bit, turn it out just slightly and hold it up a little bit and now just move the leg. Just move it, just move it around with all your muscles and then move it back around with all your muscles exactly.

And around. So a lot of times, those really long legs can't, especially we're straight, straight straightening them, it pulls so much of the work out of the torso that, yeah. That you never even really getting your glutes which is what you want. Exactly, right? And then straightening the knee would come down by the knee and not pull your leg out of your hip.

All right, and then we'll go to the back and then we'll come together. All right, so now we go up and we're gonna keep checking in with... Going into your flexibility too much today. Go ahead and put that leg down. Okay, so we're gonna stay really connected and we're gonna pick that leg up.

Pick it up and put it down. That's right and you use everything you have from your pelvis to your shoulder girdle and up into your neck and head. There you go, Sue. Nice job. You get strong, much stronger, much faster.

Yes, even on the way down, don't push your leg away from you. Just keep your leg right in you. Right, yes, right. So it doesn't get longer than it's meant to be. You just hold it and move it.

Yes, parallel and we'll lift both legs up and down. And again, if you need to bend them, just bend them 'cause you want to get way up here. Way up here, way up here. Right? Glutes do it, go Sue, that's right.

Yeah and you can see, you know those long legs kind of pulled the glute out. A little bit, yeah, so it was hard to contract it. Good job, yes, good. All right, rest. Let's do a little figure four stretch 'cause that was a lot, especially for those glutes.

All right so just take a breathing moment and then you can bend your knees into your chest. That's right. Just give your glutes a little release, breathe. And even as you're lying here, thinking about it, right, kind of don't let yourself spread out too much. Just keep yourself kind of small and compact and solid.

Like you have solid, solid meat, and there's not any spaces around inside then the other hip. Yeah, you're not, it's a subtle distinction between the concept of tension or holding or gripping or hardening and being strong. Strong is using contraction of your muscle to move your skeleton and not letting too many external forces like momentum and gravity, et cetera, do it for you. Okay, so teaser might be a perfect example of that. All right so, you're compact and you're strong and all your muscles, you take big inhale and you exhale together and you pick those legs up and you put your arms there and then you lower yourself with contracting muscle and you soften your arms and make them strong instead of long.

And down we go, beautiful Sue, really nice. See the control, contrology right? Instead of reach, stretch, harden, tighten, you bend with strong muscles and the upper body doesn't get ideally pulled around by those legs. The upper body counterbalances those legs. Beautiful and then take it all the way down.

And let's just do one where you come all the way back up because your upper body is so powerful. It picks you right up, beautiful, and lift your arms and lay it back out. Very nice. Very, very nice. All right, so hip circles, right?

It's as if we could either be sort of like screwing the lid onto the jar or we could be unscrewing it and taking the two parts apart. Right, so let's gently just kind of screw the body together a little bit more. So let's actually, yeah, we'll go into a more sturdy position today. So you're gonna have, yeah, just slightly like you just thought, like, what if I actually kind of shrunk my shinbones instead of stretched or tensed them and then you can grab them with muscle but you're not stretching the muscle while you're contracting it, right? Then pull your hips up into your rib cage.

Right, let's even take your legs here and get your chest up a little bit. Yes, okay. And then you go and it's not too much momentum. It's really chesty. Abs, upper back, strong arms, lots of glutes to hip extend you.

And then think way back to your single leg circle. It's not so much that the legs go first. It's that the abs go first and the abs and then abs, nice job, one more set. Abdominals do it. Legs don't wag you.

You move them with your strong muscles and rest. Okay, nice job. All right, swing around and lie on your belly. And again, swimming, I think is one of those where we reach, lift, lengthen, go faster, all that kind of stuff. Today we're actually just gonna shrink a little bit and the shrinking is not an activity.

It's a letting go of another activity. So letting go of the reaching, stretching, lengthening. Just relax that. Contract muscles, pick your parts up and move them and go. Yes, and if you can, once again, we're always trying to get this stuff over there, right?

So the upper body is pulling the legs to it instead of the legs pulling the lower body apart from your upper body, and rest. Okay, so that by the time we get here, we feel connected. We don't have like, ooh, all these parts we have to take control of, right? You literally in an ideal world contract muscle and pick yourself up. Okay, then you contract, you lower, and you lift and you put it down.

Now again, we're gonna stick your butt out a little bit more. Pull all of this up, big power chest at legs less interesting, body interesting. And when you go back and forth, do it as an arm movement. And back, chest it. Yeah, don't even put as much weight in your legs.

Put it like you're about to kick up into a handstand. You're so chesty. And then be even. If you can lower down in your pushup just stay chesty with it. Go Sue! Crazy hard for her 'cause she is so long and flexible.

All right, let's sit back and then bring your feet out in front of you. And this one could be sort of the end all be all because we know it's very challenging because of the long legs and the hyperextension, et cetera. And that many, many people just get trapped in that. Joe didn't have that problem. He was all upper body, big chest, strong arms, wrists, fists, and forearms.

Right, so we're gonna imagine this a little less. You can point, but don't stretch anything. You're just gonna contract muscle and pick your chest up. And now we got to get it up, right? We got to get you on your arms and holding your body with your arms.

And Sue you might even move your feet in a little bit and then get yourself up here and then soft elbows. So they have to use muscle, use your back, use your chest, use your triceps, your biceps, your forearms, your glutes. And if you can pick a leg up, you do, if you can't you just hold this power because the other thing is something else altogether. And then you lower yourself down, right? Like Sue can do that exercise, we know she can, but if we're really trying to get strong doing it and not just kind of clever, (laughing) like how did we do that anyway?

You know, with a kind of a lock and a swing and some leverage and some momentum. But if we just do it with powerful muscle contraction, it's really quite a different thing. Okay, so now let's come up and do kneeling side kicks. Again, I know they look like leg exercises but think back to your regular side kicks. Okay, so we're gonna go hands here.

We'll go, let's go left arm first, right arm out to the side. Sorry, I said that back left arm first. Right leg out to the side. There we go. And now, put your weight in your upper body, lean onto your upper body.

Even feel like your upper body goes downhill from your leg. So strong. Right and there's no real arch in here because you're so compact. Bring this down just a little, right. Hold it together.

Hold the leg up with your upper body power. All right and come back up. And now maybe you can even think back a little into hundred and be like, oh, that's what we meant, huh. Okay, we're so strong. We're big, powerful muscles over here.

Go Sue. Right, you can see when she kind of captures it. Suddenly the leg in a way starts to look a little lighter. Yes, very nice. Okay, let's do twist one.

All right, so Sue and I were talking about this one because there is a lot of confusion about this exercise. In the old pictures and old films it's a little wider, right? So we have taught it with the hand a little narrower but the old films are a little wider and we're doing it, we want to do it a little more like Joe. Okay, so before you go, point this foot straight forward and before you lean, pick yourself up, pick yourself up and bend yourself. Now, put all your weight on your hand, get over here and twist your twisting muscles.

Stay way over here and curl your abs to bring your hips down. Stay on your arm. Yes, and muscle surrounds this joint. You're not swinging your body around your arm joint. You're picking yourself up with your obliques.

Don't stick your butt out, curl, and stand on your hand more. Almost about to do it and even, don't even straighten that. Stay on your hand. That's right. So you stay in your torso and twist your torso back down.

Let's go to the other side. Okay, so it could be a very squirrely exercise and you can see with Sue, she has so much range, many, many choices. So let's take it even just a little farther. Now the first thought really is it's an upper body exercise. So just shift your thought into being in an upper body exercise.

Do less with your legs, more with your upper body. And then don't even worry about straightening your legs today. Put your weight on your hand. Yes, and curl your upper body. Go Sue! Nice job.

One more time. It was created by a guy for guys. Stay over here on your hand. Don't sit back on your legs or even straighten them like that. Yes, stay in your chest, your upper body over your hands.

Nice. Little different, eh? Very. Very different. Okay, so we were gonna do twist two also 'cause we don't do this one as much.

All right, but as you can tell again, right, and we're gonna leave out side bend today but also crazy heart exercise. All right, so in the twist two you're gonna come straight up into a star position. All right, now, first things first is get your body over your hands a little bit more, right? So that you're over here. Check that you're not hyper extending your shoulder or your elbow or your wrist.

Okay, and then compact yourself. Pull your hips up into your waist, way up into your waist. And then you can twist and come back. Good and keep kind of shortening and pushing everything into your upper body. Take your hips and then come back.

Keep the hips and then very slowly bend your knees. Stay on your hand and lower yourself. Yes. Other side. All right, now even this arm we want to kind of lean on it, but don't lean on it.

Open your hand up. Bend your elbow. Put your weight on your hand. Right, pick this up. Yes, hold this up.

Put this weight over here. You probably could walk closer to your hand. One more, keep going. Yep, I'd even get in closer Sue. Yeah, so that you're over your hand, right?

And then pull this together. Yes. And connect it all and move it as one piece. Don't even stretch your shoulder or your, pull it all together. That's right and then slowly down.

Yes, crazy hard. Now we can perform it and look pretty or we could build the strength that's supposed to build and then you don't have any I don't know, aggravated joints. Right, so that's the key is we definitely don't want aggravated shoulders, elbows or wrists, but either hips, knees or ankles or feet or low backs or spines at all, right? So muscles need to gather your skeleton together and hold it and never hang off it or make it feel vulnerable anywhere. Right, so you just have to get it together and use everything.

Okay so we're gonna do boomerang. All right, so once again, you're gonna have kind of shorter bones. Just imagine you're not stretching any bones using muscle to compact things a little bit. You pick up your back, you pick up your chest and you don't have to stretch. You just hold it powerfully, flex it, and come down.

And then instead of throwing, pick your legs up and move your body through space. Hold your body and come back up and hold your body. Nice, don't stretch your elbows or anything. Have a big chest. That's the spirit and over and we're gonna just do one more set.

Big chest, your Joe, be Joe. Get your Joe on, hold yourself up with your chest. More than your low back, chesty, chesty. You don't even really want to see bones moving in your shoulders. I want to see muscles moving.

Chest up. Come on, hold it. That's right. And then you come back up and you get your chest up and you don't show me your bones. Oh, nice job (laughing).

And over, yes, beautiful. All right, very, very nice. Let's swing around and we'll do rocking. Now this one could easily be I stretched myself out or it could be the opposite, which is I contract myself into a very strong, muscular lift of my skeleton. Right, so again we're not gonna see too many joints or bones.

We're gonna see muscles contracting, holding yourself together. Even less stretchy, more lifting. Yes, yes, nice Sue, and rest. Yes, it's quite a different feeling, I know. All right, let's go ahead and sit back.

Take a little breather and then we'll come out. Bring the feet out in front of you. We'll do seal. So again, you just have shorter, long bones, right? Like think shorter shins, shorter femurs, maybe even the arms a little shorter.

And then instead of kind of sitting in the hips, right, curl back and pick the chest up. So you're in your chest a little more and then you're gonna roll, clap, clap, clap, and then roll. Hold your chest up, as opposed to stretching your low back. Hold your chest up. Hold your back up.

Yeah, it's harder when you don't get to use as much momentum. Right, so you want to feel like we got our chest to pull this that way and then we can come back down. Right, so your chest pulls you and holds you over here, down. So don't, try not to even straighten your legs 'cause that's part of it. Right, you're just gonna pull with your chest and get over here up.

Better and come back down. Nice job, okay. Great, all right. Let's come to standing and we'll finish with a pushup. All right, so again, even here I do it too, I stretch my legs.

What if we didn't stretch them? We just contracted them strongly. And even here, just take your arms up. Don't stretch anything. Just use muscle, move your parts, use the muscle, bend your parts.

Even here, you're not stretching anything. And you walk out into a very strong plank. Okay, now we're also gonna once again sort of stick the butt out a little more than you think. So we're not leaning on the quads. We're holding our torso together, 360.

And then you're going to bend and straighten. And if you can, you're gonna go elbows to your waist and you're gonna pitch out forward. So walk your feet forward and let's watch your head. Yeah, and now Sue you want to have this happen in your triceps and not here. I know that's crazy hard, better.

And your triceps push you. Last one you guys. And your triceps push you, beautiful. Then don't pike so much as you flex your abdominals keep your weight on your hands and walk your upper body home and roll up. And exhale, all right.

Awesome job Sue! (clapping) All right, gang. Thanks for coming.

Mechanics and Metaphors: with Amy Taylor Alpers


3 people like this.
I often marvel how few instructors talk about Joe. Fortunately Amy is an instructor who does. I understand that Contrology has branched out in many interesting ways since Joe taught, but I still love to hear about him.. what he thought, why he did what he did, how he arrived at his exercises, personal anecdotes, etc.  So in addition to a great class, I got to hear more about the man who started it all. I had fun, learned things, & feel much better.  Thanks Again Amy and Sue:) 
6 people like this.
If you like classes that talk about Joe and you want another fun class.  Try Class 1806 with Ton & Michael. It's a standing workout that focuses on exercises taken from archival video's of Joe's Workouts.  It is nothing like Amy's Class, but it is a great class too. If anyone runs across any other mat classes that focus on Joe, feel free to drop me a message. Big thanks to Pilates Anytime for so many class choices.  
5 people like this.
Loved the focus on upper body strength as related to Joe. Amy is such an incredible teacher- we are beyond fortunate to have her sharing her knowledge and teaching style so generously. THANK YOU Amy, well done Sue and once again to PA for bringing us this quality work!
Laura Maria
Amazing how the exercises felt so different with the shift in focus! Helped get more control!
Jumping in on everyone's comments here I'll add, Amy Taylor Alpers can change your life in an hour of her teaching. I know this from experience and also feel beyond fortunate to have her sharing her knowledge with us. 
Why is Sue wearing a mask but Amy is not? Obviously public health advice is not followed. They are obviously not from the same household so this is not a safe interaction. Please remove this video.
2 people like this.
Amy you are brilliant😊! I have done this class twice and and feel so much stronger. I was able to move without going into my lower back and neck which have become my default places. I connected with every word/detail and it was magical. Thank you
1 person likes this.
Ps. Please Do Not Remove this video. It is so important to have classes with this deep and detailed level of instruction. We are so fortune to have instructors like Amy and her sister Raquel on this platform.
Why on earth the mask? 🥲
1 person likes this.
Eleni D and Ilja ~ Thank you for your comments. Amy has been vaccinated but we asked Sue to continue to wear the mask as a safety protocol for COVID. While they are not in the same household, they have had contact regularly and feel safe with each other. We understand that this can be a sensitive topic but we felt that this was the best way for them to stay safe and also for you to be able to hear and understand what Amy is saying throughout the class.
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