My son, César Sampson, sent me the video below of himself doing the Pilates Powerhouse Series. He asked me if I could write a commentary on it for Facebook.
After watching the video, I thought to myself …. does he know what he is asking me to do?… either he is a true warrior or a true masochist!?!? He didn’t even want to read my analysis?!?? All I can say is “thumbs up for my son César and his remarkably selfless gesture.” Perhaps he had the following quote from an African master teacher in mind when he made his decision:
Sometimes it is better to submit to the will of others than to obey your own self-will.
… and wanted to remind us with his selfless act. Brave, brave, my son!
Anyway, let’s start with the analysis. As Pilates aficionados know, the Powerhouse Series consists of 5 exercises, and so that I don’t overwhelm you with the in-depth analysis of all 5 exercises at once, I will post the analysis of one exercise each week.
If you haven’t read my analysis of the first 4 exercises in the Pilates Powerhouse Series, you can find it under Single Leg Stretch, Double Leg Stretch and Single Straight Leg Stretch.
Here is already the analysis of the 4th exercise of the Pilates Powerhouse Series – the Double Straight Leg Stretch – performed by my son César.
The toned-down Powerhouse Series
Let’s watch César’s video of the Powerhouse Series right below. From 01:08 the Double Straight Leg Stretch begins. Click and enjoy now!
Double Straight Leg Stretch – The facts
César improves most of the problems of the previous exercises in this exercise, especially the work of the DMCS – his powerhouse. He corrects the connection of his ribcage to his pelvis by pulling his shoulder girdle stabilizers down and by working on the opposing pull of his DMCS. He also controls the movement of his legs from the DMCS and the iliopsoas, rather than from the hip joint. His rib cage is not overriding the work of his DMCS (pelvic stabilistaion) this time. All thumbs up!
My conclusion: Well executed!
We can clearly see that his DMCS is harmoniously counteracting gravity. At least up until when the legs bend towards the upper body in the last few degrees of the movement. This happens because in the last few degrees the flexion is not sufficiently counteracted by the extension of the legs. But otherwise, top! The legs also go relatively close to the mat:)
For comparison, again below is the video of me performing the Pilates Powerhouse Series. From 01:20 the Double Straight Leg Stretch begins. Click and enjoy!
The enriched Powerhouse Series
Awareness vs. right-wrong
Last but not least, let me bring a pinch of awareness to my analysis. The analysis of my son’s interpretation of the Powerhouse Series is NOT based on a right-wrong dichotomy, but from the perspective of awareness and functionality.
By this I mean
- How many of the above ‘mistakes’ is César aware of when he does the exercises?
- Can he transfer one position to another position? For example, can he go from Double Straight Leg Stretch to Double Side Leg Lift without modification, compensation and adjustment?
Subjectively, who can say that the way my son does the Pilates Powerhouse Series is wrong? I am pretty sure there are many people, inside and outside the Pilates community, who claim to ‘feel good’ while doing the Powerhouse Series the way my son does it. I’m sure there are people who even say their back pain has improved as a result.
This may well be the case but the question is: Do they know what they are doing? Are they aware of what they are doing? Could they do the exercises in a different way if they wanted to? Could you? It is essential that we keep asking ourselves: Are we doing the exercises with awareness or out of habit? Because …
Awareness (aka will) and functionality are based on “I have a choice”. Habit (aka self-will) and pressure are based on “I feel this way”.
Back to my son César: Correcting the above mistakes will give my son more choice in his movements. The way he shows the exercises in the video gives him little freedom of movement.
I’m closing the case for today. See you next week when I analyse how César performs the Pilates Criss Cross.
Check it & fly with it!
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