Supine Mat Modifications
Sherri Betz
Tutorial 2816

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Very useful, thanks
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I always love your work!
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Really enjoyed this video. I am looking forward to the others that will follow. Great review and update. Thanks Sherri!
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Sherri and Pilates Anytime, this is perhaps the most valuable knowledge we need to work with clients with diverse qualities of core control. Thank you for precisely describing what to look for in positioning and how to assess appropriate cuing for progress.
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Loved the video Sheri. Can I ask you to clarify in Shoulder Bridge, that it is ok to tilt the pelvis as you roll up ( as in your first version). I understood that because this shortens the front line, it is not great to encourage the spine to move in this way and the second version is preferred. I have heard so many discussions advocating disagreements on this, that I find it hard to know what is the correct thing to do, especially as we are always talking about length in Pilates. However surely one can only really articulate the spine if it involves a tilt at one point. Perhaps you could clarify for me - it would be so helpful as you have such a clear way of explaining things. Thanks so much from Sam
Dear Samantha,
When the pelvis moves into a posterior tilt, there is certainly some lumbar flexion. However, as soon as the L5 vertebra lifts off the mat (with length of course) the vertebra moves into extension. I advocate lengthening with the articulating bridge to avoid excessive flexion and compression on the anterior vertebral body. I think that the articulating bridge is a great way to keep the lumbar spine safely mobile and to strengthen the hip extensors, lengthen the hip flexors and promote pelvic stability. Just avoid excessive pressing of the lumbar spine into the mat with the articulation, keep the spine lengthened and watch for overflow to the upper body which is an indicator of excessive compression of the lumbar or lower thoracic spine. Experts agree that this is a safe movement to perform and there have been no reports of fractures in the research literature or anecdotally during bridging that I am aware of.
For more information about "spine-sparing" techniques, you can also refer to these guidelines developed by Osteoporosis Canada and our National Osteoporosis Foundation experts here:
"Too Fit To Fracture: outcomes of a Delphi consensus process on physical activity and exercise recommendations for adults with
osteoporosis with or without vertebral fractures."
Giangregorio, McGill, J. D. Wark, J. Laprade, A. Heinonen, M. C. Ashe, N. J. MacIntyre, A. M. Cheung, K. Shipp, H. Keller, et al.
Hi Sherri,
thanks for those modifications. I just wanted to ask why it is not good to bend the leg while doing leg circles? I heard that the most important point is to bring the femur ball in the socket in 90 degrees and for the majority of people it is not doable at all. Many thanks for the explanation in advance.
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Thank you so much Sheri. That is the best explanation I've had, and I really understand now. Thank you so much - it is a question that has puzzled me for a while. Best Sam
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Great question, Silvia,
I didn't mean to imply that it is not good to bend the knee in leg circles as a modification. However, if the client is only doing Pilates mat as their form of exercise, they would never do an effective hamstring stretch, nor a sciatic nerve glide which are both very important in lower body health. Also, for people who have osteoarthritis or other hip join pathologies, the stress on the hip joint tissues can be irritating with that long lever arm. I prefer the hands on knees circles modification for those with hip arthritis if a strap is not available. I also will often start with the bent knee version for beginners to focus on pelvic stability and then increase the lengthening of the leg to increase the lever arm and challenge to pelvic stability and control.
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