I had the best experience ever at a recent TRX Functional Training Course 8-hour certification.
“I was reminded how much I don’t know. I was humbled and I loved it.”
And you know why? It was the instructor.
He was thorough and to the point. But more than that, he was critical and demanded our best and success. I loved that he would not let us off-of-the-hook and would not let us do less than what we were capable of. And if our form was not right, we did it again until it was.
We talk about the misfortune of our sitting generation. And how we are permanently slumped into a curve in our bottoms where we round the spine under. We have stretched low backs, tight hip flexors and short hamstrings (generally speaking). I know that and I inform people and I teach stretches, and then I purposely put myself into that position for an exercise practice. Pilates.
I have been practicing Pilates for over 15 years now and have seen and heard many ways to follow Joseph Pilates’ prescription for form. On top of that, I love educating myself and follow as many different industry thinkers as I can. Which means I hear opinions and facts supporting tilting the hips, tucking the hips, holding the hips in neutral and beyond! I take knowledge bombs from everyone I learn from and see how I can apply them to myself and my clients.
In the end, I believe that there is no right or wrong answer necessarily for each body. What works for one person might be a terrible solution for someone else. Our bodies are all different and what we ask them to do on a daily basis is different; and that is what I love about Joseph Pilates’ approach to movement. He did not prescribe the same exercise or execution of it to each person he worked with. He saw the body in front of him and came up with solutions for that body. Similarly, someone pointing out a problem in a slightly different way might be just the words or image to change someone’s entire way of thinking about how they move and hold their body.
This was my Ah-Ha Moment!
Austin Way, our TRX Master Trainer for the day, has a mother who has practiced Pilates for most of her lifetime. She and he have had many conversations about posture, and she, having the Pilates background, does a lot of flexion of the spine and “C-shape” curving. Austin, part of TRX’s philosophy, “Make your Body your Machine” and “TRX Better”, was teaching us about the TRX standard. The TRX standard is to feel your body contracted and connected as though you are holding a plank (I like to remind people by that word, “plank”, I mean something that is strong enough to be walked across, like a plank on a boardwalk). In maintaining the Standard, the hips are in neutral, the shoulder blades are not only back, but also drawn down. The ribs are closed in front, which will flatten the abdomen, and the spaces where the ribs float over the hips and the head floats over the shoulders are honored.
It all made sense until I realized that I had to actually let my hips spill back instead of my usual tucking them under. Because, after all, as Austin explained, if we are sitting “slumped” they are in a state of being tucked under. I must admit, I sit less than most people, probably only 3 hours a day. I mostly stand, but even then I have caught myself and changed my posture to match the Standard. When I let my hips spill back, my ribs automatically open…
UNLESS, I learn to close them and keep my hips tilted, and flatten my stomach after having closed my ribs….now, not only pull the shoulder blades together, but feel where they sink. And go from there. Ah-Ha…. I have work to do!
3 Mistakes and what I am doing to correct them:
- My ribs – feel them pulling together in front!
- Neutral Spine – more tilting than I am used to!
- Truly maintaining the Standard (plank in all planes)
So get out there and get off your bottoms and meet the Standard!
You will have to come to a Pilates class to see how I teach it now. And while you are at it, come to a TRX class and experience the Standard! You will be blown away by how much you feel your body and how connected you become! Evolve.