Tutorial #2423

Lazy Butts Drive Me Nuts!

25 min - Tutorial


Explore the seat and the idea of the heel to seat connection with Zoey Trap! Strong gluteals are crucial because they help us function in life. With Zoey's tutorial, you will learn how to deepen your Pilates practice by activating your booty!
What You'll Need: Mat, Fitness Ball, Theraband

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Dec 27, 2015
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I'm Zoe trapping with me today is my daughter and fellow, uh, Pete [inaudible] Katherine Coil. And we're going to explore the seat today. This idea of the heel to seek connection and the idea that quite honestly, lazy butts drive me nuts. We need to have strong gluteals to function in life. And our gluteals are really important to anytime we stand or walk or propel through life. So whether you're an athlete or you're just a human being, trying to be a little bit fitter, this is an important subject.

And when we think about the gluteals, we think about the round shape of the bottom and a healthy bottom is round. It's its heart shape and lifted at the bottom. It isn't hanging and flacid and flat. It has muscle tone. This is what I think a lot of us want to statically, but it's also very functional. And the big muscle, the maximus which sits right on the cheek here and comes down is the one we often think of. And it works along with the medias to move the five owned backwards or extend the hip and also to laterally or rotate us outwards.

And then the minimus sort of opposes those. It flexes in internally rotates. We're going to look at how our police practice can be a little bit deeper and richer by getting a little more connected to the seat. And so the first time we're going to do is take a look. I'm going to have you just stand up naturally, however you normally stand, reach back and pinch your bottom. Now, why do I want you to do that?

I want you to do that so you can kind of check the tonus here. I don't want you to walk around with your seat pinched and all aggravated, but I want it to be activated. I wanted to have some tone. Did you know that weak luteal cells are implicated in most back pain? So if you've back pain and you're working on your abs, that's awesome. I'm so glad. But we want you to work on your hips as well.

So now let's come into our Palati stance, and I think this is a very misunderstood position. Catherine, go ahead and rotate like a lot of people do now. She looks like a wonderful dancer in first position, but we're going to close this up and we want it to be much smaller and you need to individualize this for yourself so you don't want to feel like the hips are cranking around here and that you're pinching into the sacral area. But more as though I took Saran wrap and wrapped it all the way around. If we do the, we hear the word wrap and I'm going to put my hands on Katherine, Katherine, go ahead and wrap like most people would. Then everything pulls apart here and comes around to the back.

That's not good for the back. It's an that doesn't feel nice on the sacrum and we want to learn to create more space. So instead if she works like I'm going to wrap Saran wrap all the way around her, even rotation out or inward, everything pulls together nicely, front to back, side to side and there's a very strong column of support and this is what we mean when we say plotty stance. We don't mean to actively rotate out aggressively and pinch everything off and congest the back. Go ahead. For this workshop. If you don't already have it, a diner band, a small ball on a stability ball will be very useful as well as to position yourself near a wall. Let's go ahead and lie down on the mat and take a look.

When the glutes are weak, almost always the hit, the hamstrings are over, recruited and tight, and the hip flexors are over, recruited and tight. And so releasing. Those can sometimes be the first step. People don't even know how good it can be to have free natural movement. And so if you take a small ball and it can be even a Winnie the Pooh ball from your grocery store and you compress the Shin towards a hamstring, now the hamstrings are activated, the hip flexor becomes a little looser. And then put your hands up here, use your arms to make a little circle of the hip.

Now keep your hamstrings activated and why? Just to feel how wonderful that feels to be able to have the femur bone, the thigh bone down in the socket the way it belongs and not pulled out and over recruited. So you can do that on the other leg and just make yourself feel really good. That's a nice thing to do sometimes when you have a backache or a hip a um, but we want to get right into now how to turn on the glutes a little better. So the heel to seek connection is a way of connecting your heels and your seat to create both length and opposition and a better connection to the seat.

So if you slide both your legs out long, let your toes just be soft. And then when we flex the foot, it should be a reaching of the heels, not an aggressive pulling back of the toes. So really reach out through your heels and then keeping that nice long line of the legs without bending the knees. Try to pull your heels toward you and see if you can feel like a connection. Come up through these two points. And then if you think of the other way, like your legs are a spring and that spring is along the back, you can reach them out and find a little more like and now pull them together and send them out long.

And then go ahead and press into the heels and drag your feet in, connecting through your buttocks and then release the toe. Slide out again and reached through the heels and pull all the way back in so you hopefully are a little connected, better to the back leg. And we're going to stop right here and bring the legs up and they can be a shins parallel to the floor. Now I'm going to take my fists on to Katherine's heels. If you're alone, you can either put a stability ball against a wall or you can use the wallet itself, but pushing one heel forward just a few inches and then the other heel forward to feel again, that connection of the gluteals pressing the leg. Because when we do Palase, we're in this position a lot, aren't we on our back with our legs up and go ahead and come down. Catherine. And so we want to find the connection of the way that the legs are held from the buttocks.

You know all those wonderful pictures you look at in the magazine where the person's doing the hundred at eye level. Will you demonstrate Catherine? This isn't possible if you are not active in your seat. If she lets go over seat, I'm going to give you a little support here. The legs are just going to drop. Uh, if they didn't, she would probably archer back. So bend your knees in and let's find another way of accessing this connection into the seat. So if you're not used to working this way, can you bring your legs all the way up into karate stance for your hundred?

And then she's gonna bring her feet as though she's pressing through the ball. Now whenever you're working with a prop, intention is everything. So instead of thinking of pressing from the heels here, she's gonna think about pressing from the gluteal fold here, the smiley face of the bottom. And that's going to really activate this area and firm it up. And she can go ahead and bring her hat up, go into her hundred and she's pressing here and finding that connection.

I hope you can feel it at home. So holding this and then as she gains that connection, we remove the ball and there you go. You've got a beautiful hundred position and as she lowers the legs down, she's lowering them from that gluteal fold and bend your knees in and come all the way down onto the mat. So that's a really key thing. And if we look at understanding the role of the seat in the hundred, go ahead and go out to a hundred it doesn't have to be quite so low, but bring one knee and for single leg stretch there's our a hundred with a knee Ed, right? And then go ahead and go to your hundred and take your arms over your head.

And there's our hundred in the double leg stretch. And then bring one leg up and there's our hundred in the scissors. And then lower lefts there is our hundred as we worked at this position. And then Chris Cross is almost a hundred with a rotation. So bend. And so if you understand this concept of how to hold the legs from the seat, then you're going to be all set in all those exercises. Now let's take a look.

Um, and another way of doing this, and that's what the use of a dyna bands. So when we press into something, we're closing the chain and we're getting a little more awareness in the nervous system so she can take the Dinah band and she can place it on. We're just going to do it with one leg, the heel, not on the ball, the foot, but on the heel. And then she pushes that leg away as though she were doing single leg stretch. She's connecting the seat to the heel.

So she stretches it out and then she pulls the heel to the seat and she's getting both the lengthen opposition. And that connection is though the legs of spring. And you can actually do the a hundred and the whole abdominal series a using a dyna band to achieve that sense. Go ahead and rock up to a seated position. And let's look at the role of the gluteals. And sitting. So when we're doing, um, the roll back portion or a seated roll back or the, the ruling from the roll up again, if we don't have a solid seat, so there's the perch, you see that little lift of the booty there.

So that perching idea gets the glutes involved and then as she rolls back, she's able to pull her seat under and then she's got an anchor to lengthen the spine away from. So that's a very, very important. And when we sit, go ahead and bring your arms down, whether it's in spine stretch forward at the top of the Rola up. Then we want to have that same activation so that we're sitting on something solid. We don't build a house in the sand because it would fall apart. And that's the way we need to think about the glutes. Now let's go ahead and come into the idea of one leg circle because now we've got the legs basing us and if we bring one knee in and just hold this here, we have to think about what's happening with this leg because often when we're doing one leg circle, this is what happens. We lose the stability through the base leg and we want to, if you're at a wall you can go ahead.

I'm going to be her wall and I'm going to give her a firm point to kind of create that heel, the seat connection, that pushing and pulling here. But you can use a wall just as well. And then if she takes her leg up and she does her circles, now she's got a great base of support here with no wiggling and then we move away and hopefully she can keep that which she did. Now the other thing that we can do to help find the glutes here, go ahead and keep this knee up if you would and hold it, is she can do a one leg bridge. So she's going to kind of lift up here and pressed to activate the seat and come down just a couple of times until she feels that hip area kick on.

And then again as she goes up and takes the leg up in the air and does a little bit of a circle, she's got a strong connection and then she can set that down and maintain that connection. So again, all sort of little tricks to help you find that connection. Now let's take a look at the bridge exercise because Oh my goodness, how many times do we hear or we experience our hamstrings, cramping and Pisces or our feet cramping. And often people ask me, oh, how come on I do bridge, I get a cramp. Or when I do this exercise, it's because the gluteals aren't what they're meant to perform. So if we look at the bridge, just go up real quickly. It's a hip extension.

We lift our hips up, we bring our hips down. If we're not doing the hip extension from the glutes, which are created to do that movement, then other muscles try to help out. It's like a sister. The body is going to move. It's going to find a way to do what the brain is asking it to do and other muscles are sort of like big sisters. They'll come in and say, let me help out even if they really shouldn't. So to find this connection, lie on your back and then bring your heels without moving them. I want you to engage the heels and try to pull them more to your seat as you press the legs together.

The doctors are great friends of the glutes and so pressing into your center line and then pulling those heels back. But don't let your feet move actually, so you should have a really strong connection there. And then to lift the hips, we want to lift from the gluteal folds here. This is what initiates the movement up and then coming down we can melt the spine and articulate. I'm going to have Katherine do it incorrectly. So often we substitute the spinal erectors or the back extensors for hip extension and this is what that looks like. She's going to drive it up and you can see that it initiated actually from the back. And then do that one more time, so wrong and come down. And then right lifting from here and you can see the flatter line and the more solid strength here. And then as we rolled down, we get that nice articulation into the seat.

Now when we flip over, go ahead and come prone and just lie on your belly for a minute. It all falls apart. I don't know what it is, maybe because we can't see anymore. And we're going to go into flight and we're going to go into swan and we're going to do these things and nothing happens here. And again, it's a hip extension as well as a spinal extension. So I want you just laying in this position to press your pubic bones into the mat and let them go and press your pubic bones into the mat and let them go.

And the seat really takes on definition here as we press and release and just do that one more time so that you've got a strong connection there to your seat. Now if you have back issues, you can open your feet up hip distance, remembering that the hips really aren't so big, but you don't want to take your legs far, far apart like this because now if she was going to come up in an extension, she's really substituting. So we're going to come here and we're going to get ready to go into swan. Oh actually could we do flight? Bring your hands back under your head and we'll take a little preparation there.

Flex the feet. And this is a great way to find your seat. So reach your heels out in space. Keep your knees down for a minute so I can show. And then I want you to lift the knee up and it's a lifting of the knee that activates the glutes. And now again, how do we hold our legs in the air from our gluteals? We don't want to go higher and get into the back.

Instead we can simply soften the toes away from us and we're holding the legs right out there with a nice long line. And Go ahead and come down. And now we'll come into swan. So as she presses the pubic bone down, she reaches the sits bones toward the heels. And as she comes up into a thoracic extension and swan, she's got a powerful foundation here and the legs stayed. They didn't come out farther and then go ahead and come down.

But she anchored through those hips. And again, we're not talking about pinching a penny or gripping. We're talking about activating Karen Sanzo, a one of our pilots runs. She, she uses this phrase, activate, don't aggravate. That's exactly what I'm talking about here. Now let's go ahead and now that we've looked at the swan and come over into sidekick series, so sidekick series, there's just so much happening and often, um, you may even experienced this, the body starts rocking wildly. We get all excited because all of a sudden we're swinging the leg and it's the first time in our pilates where we're actually gonna move our leg backwards, aren't we? And this kind of replicates walking, right?

We've got a propel through this forward, backwards gait pattern. And so if we don't have a lot going on in the hips, then this movement becomes very wobbly. So we need to reach out through this base heel to tighten the seat. Now if you're at a wall, I want you to push your heel into the wall. I'm going to be her wall.

She's going to press into me and this foot is flat just like she's standing on it. So the whole area there is nice and strong and then we can go ahead and bring the dying of band up and I'm going to cross it for you and hold it right into the crease of the hip. And then again, she's going to work on that heel, the seat connection, both reaching out into the Dinah band and opposing from the low abs and then also pulling the heel to the seat. And as she moves forward with her kicks, she's reaching into that. And as she comes back, I'm in a block here and if you have a friend, this is great. I'm going to take my hand or my knuckles right into the top of her thigh and have her press back into me so that she gets that hip extension. And so we fold that the hip and then we extended the hip pressing back in the fight. And that should be a gluteal movement.

You should feel that it's all about the base and one more, all the way forward. There you go and you're back and pressing and the legs come together. So that's a key area to have to work to find. And then it would be the same really for all the exercises and the um, whole side kick series. But let's take a look at it, a little different. One, the inner thighs. So she comes up, catches and then I'm in a challenger and she did that to bring this leg back. Now if you're at a wall, I want you to push this heel into a wall and really connect because often what happens here, go ahead and bend your knee is we, we have a little trouble extending that leg all the way.

And then we get this little cute substitution here, happening of movement from the knee down instead of from the hip. So I'm going to connect here. Now if you have a dining band, again, she can put the dine to Vienna on the heel. She doesn't need me here. It's kind of Nice to have me here though, and she's going to grab that Dyna Band and really push her heel away so that she feels the whole back of the leg. This leg is very weight also. It's like she's trying to stand up, so try to stand up right now and see if you kind of feel that connection through this leg. And then both sides pulled together, getting the adductors, being friends with the glute and nothing is happening in the knee joint or the ankle joint. And then as she moves into circles, and I'm, I can have my hand here or you can use a diamond band. The same thing is happening. Movement at the hip joint. Again, not substituted for at the knee or the ankle and then, but that go. So sidekicks, now let's take a look at swimming. Swimming.

I think everybody thinks they know how to do swimming because don't we do it in just about every fitness class now might have a different name, prone opposition lifts or something else. But this is a very common fitness exercise. And then we do it without a lot of thoughts sometimes. So when we swim you can bring your hands under your forehead cause we're really just going to look at the leg patterning again, it's a hip extension and that hip extension should come from here. So as she lifts up, this is what we're seeing.

And then this is staying rolled forward and down. I want you to, as you lift your right leg that you feel that front of the hip connected to the mat. And then the other thing, and this is kind of hard to do by yourself. So if you have a friend, you can have him look or you can lay with your body along the sidewalk, in which case your arms would go over your head. Go ahead and do that. Catherine. Pretend the Wallace here and now as you lift your leg up, did you bang into the wall there? Because often what happens is we lift up and we substitute. We come out of the tightness of the front of our hips.

So we are body again being clever saying I'll find a way, don't worry, I'll do it for you. And the right muscle isn't doing it for us. So if you're along a wall, you can just lift this leg up and down and it shouldn't be banging into the wall, but just lightly grazing. And then as we come up into, go ahead and bring your hands under your head into the more active, just not a part of swimming, just the leg portion. We lift both legs up again from the gluteal folds go down. So if you're, I'm working with a friend, you want to be able to see that as the legs lift from here. You see their cheeks become a little rounder in that heart shape appear and then the flutter kicking, go ahead and begin to flutter kick is happening again up as a hip extension and not happening. Go ahead and do it incorrectly. Catherine, bend your knees.

And now I'm flutter kicking away, but not very effectively. So I used to be a competitive swimmer. I know how important it is to move from those hips. Sorry about that. Let's go ahead and now look at one of my very favorite exercises, which is leg pole. And we're just going to look at the front support port portion.

So flexing the feet, and again, as we lift our upper body, it often sags, it bows the, the wonderful thing about piles and, and it frustrated me when I started because I can remember saying, what is this exercise for? I used to be a bodybuilder and everything had a reason that I was doing it. And then I realized, Oh God, I just don't understand this. Well, it's for the body. It's the whole body. The longer that I worked with at it and the more education I got, I realized that is all about the body. And it doesn't matter if you're a runner or you're a dancer or you're doing plot ease. The whole body is involved in every movement.

So we come into Pilati stance here and just like we did earlier, we can activate the seat by reaching through the heels and lifting your knee and finding that solid platform. Now I know this is about the seat, but I'm also going to talk about the ribs here for a minute. I like to say swallow your ribs so you can see that she got right engaged in there and now as she lifts up, pulling the ribs up, everything comes in one piece ideally. And this area is anchored together and strong. Can you let that go for just a minute? Yeah. Not so nice, but scoop your abs, Kathryn. It isn't going to change this. The seed is going to change that, so it's got to all work together. It isn't like, oh, all I need are my abs. You need this seat to hold the position and then lift this leg up.

And as you push back, then you're pushing from the heel to seek connection here again, and you're holding this leg from the heel to seat connection and then go ahead and come down and press back and take a breath. Yeah, the pushup series, we think so much about our arms and the pushup series and rightfully so because it's a lot of work for the arm. We worry about the whole body alignment, but again, just like in the leg pull front, it's all about the seat and when we started we have this additional component of rolling down and rolling up and I'm going to have you do this right now. Come into your polarity stance and press down through your heels here. In fact, I'm going to superglue your heels down. They are now super glued down. Super Glue holds, Gorilla Glue holds. You cannot lift up, but I say to you, lift up, lift your heels and you're trying, but you can. I want you to keep trying and you're going to feel that heel to seat connection.

Really wake up and then the arms come up. You hold that heel, the seat connection start with your head. It's a head nod. She's going to curl all the way down without trying to take her hips back so they, the hips stay over the heels and that takes a lot of seat. And then we're going to go ahead and just walk out into the pushups. One, two, three. We're there. And again, we re tighten the seat and as she bends her elbows and straightens, she's holding at the hips and then bringing the chin to the chest, curling and getting round. She lifts the hips and comes into this position here. Keeping the hips here while we come up.

So what has to happen? The glutes have to rotate the pelvis. So Push, stay down for a minute, cause I'm going to have you try this. Push into your heels. I really want you to get weighed into the heels and then connect the sitz bones to the heels. And instead of thinking I'm lifting my head or I'm lifting my body, I want you to pull the sits bones. Go ahead and start to come up.

Polo sits bones down. Push the back of your thigh all the way to the front of the thigh. And Oh my goodness, you are standing like a pillar of strength or the proverbial Greek column. Bring your arms down, and I hope you learned a lot about your glutes today because as we said earlier, lazy butts drive me nuts.


Loved this -- great cueing and explanation. I'm glad to hear from a kindred soul who is always emphasizing glutes.
Loved the idea of prone hip extension against a wall to aid the tracking- so obvious and yet I needed it pointed out!
2 people like this.
That's why its so nice to have this lovely site to share with each other on!
Really enjoyed this class love the cues too. Thanks
Hypermobiliity and swayback heavenly work!
It saved my dancing career and teacher's one as i find standing whilst teaching for hours really taxing!!!
Wonderful tutorial! I love the clarity brought to such a vital critical connection. Thank you too for demonstrating each exercise with the heel-seat connection as a focus.
Thank you so much for this great tutorial!
Olena K
Loved your cueing and correct/ incorrect position demos. Ladies, you are so fun to watch and learn from. I hope you come back for more workshops and classes! I renewed my Pilates Anytime subscription just for this tutorial.
This is awesome .. I want more info on this
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