Tutorial #4826

Front and Back Body Cueing

15 min - Tutorial


Learn how you can use the apparatus and small props to assist with tactile cues in this quick tutorial by Karen Sanzo. She demonstrates simple exercises that will target the front and back of the body through the major movements of the spine. She explains how simplicity in your cueing can help your clients achieve better movement patterns in their practices.
What You'll Need: Cadillac, Blanket

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Apr 15, 2022
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For this brief tutorial today, we're gonna talk about cuing the front and the back body through flexion, extension, rotation, and side bending, which are, of course the major movements of the spine. So we'll start first on our hands and knees. Face this way, please. And this roll down bar here is going to come under your chest. So you're just gonna bring your body over here.

I have two purple springs on and you could do this with a bar or you can do it with a sling. I like using the bar because it actually is a little bit harder and it gives the feeling, so if I say, hey, can you let the spring shorten? What would you do? Oh yeah, there you go. So now, you're pulling the abdomen away.

So I'm cuing the front body, so I'm cuing the feeling of the bar shortening the springs, shins of course are pressing down, that's the front of the body, the front of the shins, hands are pressing down, right? And then take an inhale here. And as you exhale, can you maintain this shape and just move your body back and forth? So you're gonna maintain, that's it, the rounded shape as you go back and forth, as you go back and forth. Good.

And so what I'm going to do now, come on forward and stay forward, I'm gonna gonna take this bar and move it a little bit further underneath his ribs. Oh yeah. And so now, we're getting a little more flexion connection lower down and I'm gonna say, hey, less flexion up here, there you go, and then more flexion down here and then go backwards and then come forwards. Lovely. Can you feel how you're trying to shorten the springs?

Very good. And now can you stay in the back phase for a second? Curl the toes underneath you and now use your front body to lift up your knees. Yes. Keep springs getting shorter, keep the springs getting shorter.

You got it. And then lower yourself down. Put your hands on the bar so it doesn't slap you in the face, right? And then bring yourself all the way up. It's a nice way to get the front body cuing, to feel how you can let the bar pull up.

Now, to get another concept, turn around, put your feet at this end. Don't worry. I'm not putting your feet in. So still on hands and knees. It's okay.

Put your feet this way. Gotcha. So on your hands and knees. This is real life. This is real good.

That was a hard exercise. It's okay. It is all good. So now I'm gonna take this band. I think he was really worried I was gonna have him put his feet up in the bar and then go fly him.

So now we're gonna take this band and put it under your hand. Do this side first, yeah. And have your hands be in the regular spot for plank, right? And then we have to get it kind of tight in the area that we want it. Yeah.

So you kinda gotta take a minute there. You got it. That's it. And so now, I'm gonna talk to the back body, right? So now, can you nod your head a smidge?

Even two smidges, three smidges, four smidges, good. Now, I want this band to stretch because your back is pushing the band up. And so now, since we did the front body cue first, I could say, hey, remember when that bar was under here and I said, hey, can you let that bar pull up and then can you push your back into here? Now, can you hold that? Curl the toes, right?

And then go back and forth. So we're holding the position of flexion. At no point did I tell him tuck your butt, squeeze your butt, anything like this. So we're getting this whole back body opened. Good.

You can press to the right a little bit and then you can press to the left a little bit. Very good. And then release to level. So releasing to level is still keeping some tension. Are you good with that?

So now, close your shins and close your feet. Let your toes go down and now sway your two shins to the left and then look over your left shoulder and let this side wrinkle on the left, but expand into the right band on the right. Side bending, good, and then come back. So we're taking just our very classic tail wag lateral flexion of the spine, giving it some feedback with just the little band there. Very good.

And then bring yourself back from there and take the band away. Two good examples of how you can cue the front or the back body during flexion. That feel, okay? So now, I'm going to have you lie on your back. Hey, can you take this off real quick?

Let's just take this off real quick. And then I'm going to get this blanket ready. And you could use a towel. What I'm doing here is I'm just rolling this up and now I'm going to have you sit with your bottom here and your legs in that direction. And then I'm gonna have you lie on this blanket, your body here.

Put your hands behind your head for just a second and then kind of scooch your body back. That's enough, that's enough. Good. Bend your knees, put your feet flat. Good.

And so what I want you to feel here is a chest extension. Open up your heart. There you go. So what I want you to feel is your back body receiving the blanket pushing you up. So, don't do this with a hard foam roller.

It's just too hard, right? So, if you rest here for a minute, you can kind of feel the back of the blanket giving you kind of a passive feeling of extension. Can you feel that? Good. So stay there, inhale.

And then exhale. And now take your hands up over your head. Yeah, exactly like that, right? So now we incorporate the back of the shoulder blade. It's an upward rotation, right?

Reaching there. Then take your arms to the ceiling. Inhale. Exhale, pause. Good.

Now, inhale on over into extension. And then return. So I'm not asking his back to extend more, but I am asking the arms to kind of feed the back extension, using the back body feeling to get an opening. Very good. Now, leave your arms to the ceiling.

Is your neck comfortable? So now we're gonna keep the back in extension and we're gonna start to press the feet to lift the bum. Again, pause, cuing the back body. So now we're cuing the butt, it's holding there. Lift your butt a little higher.

So now, he's gonna hold the butt, and then drop your spine over the blanket in this direction. Yes. And then use your butt to lift up. Leave your chest going in that direction over the blanket. You got it.

So now that blanket is really feeding the whole back of your thoracic spine. Very good. And then rest. Take your hands down. Roll to your side.

We'll take the blanket out. And so now we'll come to lie on your belly. Now, since it's a tutorial, we spend just a little bit of time here revisiting what chest extension is, right? When the back body gets shorter. So, now he's felt what it felt like to have the back body be short.

So I'm gonna say, hey, press into your hands, use your hands and put your back in the shape that you thought it was in when you were coiled over that blanket, right? Very good. So now he's gonna hold that. So now my cuing will change to the front body. So now I say, hey, in your front body, here's your middle eye kind of about at your sternum and let that eye shine in front of you and then up to where the ceiling meets the wall.

Hold right there. And now, when you lower down, this stays forward and then you lower your ribs. You got it. And then your chest, and then your head. He's using his arms to feed his body into extension.

You all right? Okay, let's do that one more time. Arms are pressing. Remember that feeling of that blanket in your back. Now stretch the front body.

Ooh, that's even more. Very good. Hold yourself right there. And then pull your arms back, talk to the front body going forward, and then lower yourself all the way down. Now, he has very good range of motion in his spine, his hips are not particularly tight, but the last part of this tutorial is what to do when somebody starts to feel that pinching in their back because they have hip tightness.

So stick your butt up. When this happens right here. See, and that's a hip tightness and the butt isn't even down. And then rest. So come to your hands and knees for a little second here and I'm gonna take this blanket, you can use a towel or something like this, and I want you to lie on your belly and I want the part of the hips that are tight, release, just rest down, the part of the hip flexor that stays up, fill that space.

So, I did a tutorial several years ago called "Filling the Space." It's actually a really good one. Sorry. We can pat our back, can we? So now I've taken this fill the space and now I'm gonna hold the blanket, drag your body forward. That's it, that's it.

Good, just like that. Good. So now, I've kind of supported the part of the pelvis, so he doesn't have to like tuck the bottom or push the pelvis down. He just needs to let it be heavy. And then, use your hands to help yourself lift up and then use your belly.

Yeah, hold right there. Now show me you can arch your chest... Just like that. Again, you can see how just using this blanket here to fill this space there and then lower yourself down. He doesn't particularly have that problem, but this is a good thing to try.

So come on up to your hands and knees and step on off. We're gonna come to the edge of the Cadillac. I said the other one was my last one, but this is really the last one. You're gonna lie your tummy here and your pelvis will come off of the edge of the Cadillac. So why do this?

You're doing this because I'm allowing the hips to flex over the edge of the Cadillac. The spine is down. You could even put your head underneath your hands here. Now take one leg and lift it out behind you, but don't lift it a mile. Just lift it a half a mile.

So now, as he's lifting his leg, he's not even leveled yet, but it's okay because he's getting the action of hip extension while the edge of the bed is filling that space. So now he can just get longer in the legs and so now he feels his back stay stable here. So, using the leg and then put that down. Now do the other leg. 'Cause it might be different leg to leg.

And then put that down. Now, can you leave your feet like that and take your hands back by your armpits and then just lift your chest up a couple of times, right? So now the pelvis is staying out of it, the hips are not gripping or anything. Good. And now can you stay there and then lift any higher?

Good. And coil your chest over my fingers. Very good. And then lower yourself down. Very good.

And then just come off of there. Nice. So, a quick tutorial on front cuing, back body cuing for flexion and extension and rotation, I mean flexion, extension, side bending. Now we have rotation. So come onto your knees and let's put the right leg up.

Hands will come first on the thigh. And then feel your torso rotate to the right. So we're rotating to the bent knee side. This makes the most sense to cue the front body from the bent knee, and then return. And then twist again.

Can you press your front leg down and hold yourself right there? Now, take your right hand and go very low by your pelvis, right in the front, right here where my fingers are, and then tell yourself, hey, lower belly, can you pull back anymore? So you're talking to your lower-right internal oblique. Can you kind of sort of feel that? Good.

And then release. And then I'll take the hand and I'll put it on the external oblique on the opposite side, cuing front body, right? And now just twist your ribs like a washcloth, right? So you're not forcing it, you're just feeling the rotation in the trunk. And then release.

Then switch legs. In this tutorial, it seems like it's a lot of cuing. Pick and choose your cues in a good way. Don't say everything you know in the first cue because the client, like a child, will just stop listening after first words. So now we're gonna cue the back body.

So now twist your torso towards the left and now the back body says, hey, I need some help from my back butt, right? We're just talking anterior, posterior slings, but clients don't fully understand that. Really important you burrow down in the knee, that you're not extending your spine, but you're rotating it. Good. And then return.

And then again. And now you're gonna take this outside hand and just put it back here on your pelvis and then say, hey, can you bring it around, right? You could even give it some tapping or some brushing and say, come on around. Good. And then release.

And then put that right hand on your thigh and then now you're gonna take the other one and then you're gonna push it, or not really push it, you're still twisting to the left, but now you're a little higher up, just giving it information. So the back body is knee, thigh, buttocks, back, spine, and then rotate. Very good. And then release. All right, come on down from there.

And thank you for joining me for this tutorial.

Key Connections: Find your 'A-Ha' Moment


1 person likes this.
As a Pilates student I always learn so much from you Karen.  You are a gifted teacher.  Thank you.
Janie J
1 person likes this.
Thank you I always learn from you.  
Gisela G
1 person likes this.
Thank you, these are really great ideas for cueing!
1 person likes this.
Brilliant! Simple and deep.
1 person likes this.
Love this, love you!! Thank you!
Karen Sanzo
Thank you for all your kind comments.
This was a fun activity with Roger in the studio

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