Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pull-Ups on the Pilates Chair

I've been using the pilates Combo Chair (or the 'Wonder Chair') loads for a 'massage'. Hehehe. Frequent boxing and climbing meant that the muscles needed to be eased out a fair bit. Pilates sessions have focused on the Chair these few weeks to stretch out the obliques evenly in order to work on the rotation to maintain core stability. It's also the one piece of nifty equipment you could buy and use at home. It's so versatile.

These few weeks, there's one particular exercise on the Chair that I haven't been able to get the form right at all. Out of frustration, because I couldn't exactly see what the body is doing, I asked my instructor to do a quick video of the process each time I do it. I ran through the videos taken earlier in the year, and recently, and realized that there have been teeny weeny improvements. I'm picky about form and feel for many exercises, and for this, I prefer not to run through the many slow pull-ups on the Chair till I get that start and end point correct.

The ideal pull-up form; taken from Google images.

The basic 'pull-up' on the Chair or what they call the 'Elephant'. (I really can't be bothered with all these names of specific exercises or poses. Duhhhh.) On the Chair, you could lift your legs (and pedals) all the way up and hold, or pull it up halfway and pulse. Otherwise, just pull it up and down five to ten times. The shoulders ought to be protracted to provide stability, and arms are extended to balance; quads and hamstrings are tight to streamline the movement. The pedals are weighted to springs and provide fantastic resistance. The lighter they are, the more control required.

The entire work should be done by the abs, especially the upper abs. I have a weaker waistline on one side, so I kinda need the weaker side to literally pull its own weight, which hasn't really happened till this week. Also, maybe it's a psychological hurdle—I'm afraid of face-planting. 😐

On the right: That's a FAIL from a session in last October. 

So I haven't been able to get my butt up in the air as much as I'd have liked. Till this week. I finally got it. It's like a pike. This is an exercise the instructor makes me do in the middle of a session or at the end of it when all my muscles are warmed up and evenly stretched. Especially the obliques, and my lazy left waistline. That's the thing about pilates. All those little little aerobic stretches are super useful.

I was very pleased because it wasn't a fluke. The next two sessions confirmed it. This exercise hasn't felt right till this week. I suddenly knew how to adjust the shoulders even when holding the pose and maintaining those straight arms. The scoop was deepened and the abs lifted properly. Now, if I can get them to lift the butt even more, scoop even deeper to round the spine, that'd would be good. 😃

Finally. Need to get the head down and round that spine even more.

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