Teaching Tips


Browse a small selection of Teaching Tips here.

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Support spinal rotation by allowing eyes to guide movement.

(Our bodies want to follow our vision.)

Are you adding enough foot mobility to your programming?

Mobility of the forefoot and midfoot are important for gait biomechanics, but may be lost with foot osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, hallux valgus, neuromas, ankle sprains or neurological impairments. 

Hip and knee pathologies will also alter normal loading through the foot and ankle complex.

Use your breath to facilitate lumbar decompression.

Anatomical connections and Boyle's law mean that we can directly affect the pressure around lumbar spinal segments.

Inhale when teaching scapula retraction.

Inhalation naturally decompresses the axilla by upwardly rotating the scapula, allowing it to glide more easily on the thoracic wall.

Consider glute max function for knee pathologies with patellar tracking issues.

Glute max inserts into the iliotibial band, thus directly impacting pelvic, femoral and tibial alignment.

Glutes vs obliques: who's the culprit? The thorax needs to live on top of the pelvis for pelvic stability too!

1. Let's aim for this alignment with SLS.
2. Not this.
3. Correcting with lateral pelvic stabilisers (glute med + glute min).
4. Correcting with lateral trunk stabilisers (obliques).

Support during pregnancy.

It’s important to build strength during pregnancy, but props and pillows can give the support needed to find alignment for that strength.

Back to Front.

Make sure you assess scapula motion from the front, as well as posteriorly - the sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints are important for scapolohumeral rhythm.

Flip it and Reverse It.

Build muscle strength in *all* directions to increase adaptability and available motor patterns. Ie, train reverse origin to insertion too.

To decompress the spine in side-lying, some people will need to reach their hips/pelvis towards the feet; others will require the thoracic cage to float away from the floor to find alignment.

Pilates balls can offer great support and feedback.

After an upper limb injury, lat dorsi might jump in to help stabilise and support the shoulder girdle. But to give our other muscles a chance to do the job, we need to float, rather than depress the shoulder girdle.

Use your mouth!

Pressing the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth can help with pelvic floor activation - a great way to find that gentle connection, rather than the gripping that we often encounter.

Drawing the Sword:

This diagonal movement requires coordination and control of all joints of the upper limb (don't forget your hand!). Mimicking the PNF D2 upper extremity flexion/extension pattern, this can be a great exercise for strength and flexibility.

Find your feet!

Reaching and rooting into the feet can help to decompress the spine and support axial elongation.

How often do you change the spring load on the Pilates equipment?

We need to progressively load our muscles: take the weights up (or down!) regularly to ensure you are building functional strength.

Heaven Series.

Using a deflated ball can offload the weight of the head and neck, allowing for free movement of the upper cervical spine.

All of our organs have their own movement and rhythm, but they’re easy to forget about with the heart pumping and the lungs taking in so much air!

Consider how it feels to let some of your other organs guide you through movement.

Stiff neck? Try swallowing!

Swallowing requires the muscles around the oesophagus to relax to allow a bolus to pass through, and also releases the temporomandibular joint.


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