As I scooped and lengthened the back to straighten those hamstrings upwards, I laughed. (See photo above.) Realized that unless my arms grew longer, I couldn't exactly straighten those legs no matter how much the back is lifted. Shouldn't over-extend 'em knees either. Not a contortionist. Hahahaha. All right then. Settled for maximum stretch than letting go of the bar.
Well, this isn't new exercise bandwagon I just hopped on. I've been doing it for years. Except that I sometimes slack off here and there. I might talk more about it now because the friends are asking about the benefits of pilates versus say paying your chiropractor or a massage on a weekly basis. They know that I managed to resolve my almost-carpal-tunnel-syndrome in my right hand and that constant frozen muscle and spasms up the right shoulder through a combination of swimming and intensive pilates. A really simple reminder- if you hurt that bad to have to go for weekly massages, then you should be looking at more effective long-term solutions.
It's not about having this super flexible body. Doesn't need to be so. There's nothing to prove. All I'm doing is strengthening muscles to hold up my bones when osteoporosis and old age set in. It's about utilizing every muscle and understanding how they work. I'm fond of the Cadillac. It's like this awesome massage bed. When I let my attention slip and go for ages without stretching consciously, I lose strength and imbalance seeps in. Running doesn't fully help. It builds cardio and all that, but it doesn't resolve the tightness in the quads and hamstrings. That's when the aches begin. It takes weeks to balance out the body dynamics.
It also took time to remember to consciously utilize both shoulders for this move (pictured below). It's meant to articulate the spine and we do slow reps to fully peel up and down. So if you rely on pure arm strength without drawing on the back of shoulders and engaging the core, you might erm...fall after six reps. I usually do 10 slow ones to fully articulate the spine vertebrae by vertebrae.
Keep lean. Stay strong.