Centerworks Blog

Latest "Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips" Posts

Spine Flexion: “Secret” Training Tips

Centerworks® “Secret” Training Tips for Mobilizing the Ribcage
Part One:  Spine Flexion

Spine Felxion

When we bend into forward flexion for Pilates exercises like the Hundred, Roll Up or Teaser every segment of the spine has to move individually to open the back ribs and bend the spine.

In the front of the body, the ribs are attached to the breastbone (which is a solid piece) so the same bending can’t occur.  The breast bone must “slide down the front of the body” to bring the front ribs closer together. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Functional Movement, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Jumpstart Your Pilates Teacher Training Program with Foundations 101

Is it time for a career change?  Have you pondered the possibility of becoming a personal trainer, exercise educator or Pilates instructor? Are you currently in the health and wellness field, but want to enhance your skills and services?

Jumpstart your goals with theCenterworks® Foundations 101 Workshop.  This 3-day workshop is designed for adults considering a Pilates teaching career.

Posted by Aliesa George in I Want to be a Pilates Teacher, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Awesome Workshops Pilates Webinar: 6-Dot Strategy for Effective Rotation of the Spine

Twisting Exercises  for a Healthy Spine from

Unleash the power of the 6-Dot Strategy to help transform the benefits of all of your Oblique core training exercises.

Explore the feeling of easy, effortless movement and effective sequential rotation of the spine.

The 6-Dot Strategy is an easy way to cue and teach Pilates exercises with a twist, to help maximize the benefits of rotation for a healthy spine.

Register NOW and reserve your spot to learn more about the 6-Dots!

This Awesome Workshops Pilates Webinar is designed for Pilates Teachers
(and passionate Pilates students.) 

During this 60-minute Webinar, Aliesa George, PMA-CPT  will share with you the benefits of using the Centerworks Intentional Movement Training Systems: 6-Dot  StrategyTM  to access more strength, power, and support for all your twisting exercises.

What: 6-Dot Strategy for Effective Rotation of the Spine
Tuesday, December 4th
Online Webinar Training

If you can’t make the date but really want to be there…  Go ahead and register anyway!  All  participants will get access to the replay link to watch, review, and practice what you’ve learned.

Click this link  NOW To Register:

See Ya in Class!

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips, Workshops.

The Best Shoes to Wear When Teaching Pilates

Ellen asked me a great question about what shoes I recommend wearing when teaching Pilates.  Of course our clients exercise in bare feet or socks, but what should a Pilates teacher wear on their feet?

Ellen’s Question: 

I do get on the reformer to demonstrate during client sessions – is there anything that is easy on/off?  I truly would value your opinion on this! 

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Intro to Pilates Workshop – Discover What Pilates Can Do For YOU!

Tips, Techniques, & Strategies to Get Started with Pilates Matwork


Improve Core Strength, Flexibility, and Whole-Body Health.

Learn more about what Pilates training can do to help you improve posture, core support, and balanced muscle development to stay strong, fit, flexible, and injury-free during this 2-hour introductory Pilates workshop with Centerworks and Aliesa George, PMA-CPT.

Posted by Aliesa George in Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips, Workshops.

Core Training Exercise: The Tabletop Prop – Help Strengthen the Abs and Relax the Thighs

Core Training Exercise: The Tabletop Prop

Simple Exercise Strategies To Strengthen the Abs and Relax the Thighs

I often see people in the gym doing sit ups thinking that they are working hard to develop the strength of their abdominal muscles, but their thigh muscles (Quads) are the ones doing most of the work!

Here’s an exercise to help you learn how to get out of your thighs and get more efficient working out of your middle when doing abdominal strengthening exercises.

Get more benefits from your core strengthening work, help protect your lower back, and free up your legs and hips for better movement with this Table Top Prop core training exercise.

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Help Me Stop Gripping My Hip Flexors During Pilates Exercises

How To Get the Most Benefits
from Your Pilates Core Training Exercises

Q & A from the Abs vs. Thighs Articles

I received a nice note from Kristi with some questions about her Pilates exercise technique and how to get her Quads & Hip Flexors (i.e. the Rectus Femoris muscle) to stop gripping and grabbing when she’s doing Abdominal training exercises.

Kristi’s Question:

“Hope this finds you well!  I wish I could get an “Aliesa-fix” soon! 

 I’m having a hard time with the double leg lift and completely relaxing my quads.  My Rectus Femoris muscle doesn’t relax completely when I have my legs extended at an angle or even when I try to lift them away from a ball.

 I’m able to do all the other exercises in the Pilates Matwork Series of 5 well.  What am I doing wrong with this one?  Seems as though the Rec Fem activates as soon as I have extended my legs and especially when I try to do the double straight leg exercise.

 Hope you can help me have a “light-bulb” moment.”

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

The Benefits of Focusing on Flipper Toes for Pilates Reformer Footwork

Recently I focused on “Flipper Toes” with the clients in one of my Group Reformer classes and it was pretty interesting to see very experienced Pilates students with shaky legs because they were actively using their feet a little more than usual!

Footwork on the Pilates Reformer is such a basic skill that it’s easy to take it for granted, blast through the exercises as a “warm-up,”  focus on the abs and back staying close to the mat, and the pushing/pulling action of the legs.

The quicker you finish your Footwork, the faster you can get on with other more “challenging” exercises.  But Footwork done well is much more than a warm-up!  Proper, active work of the foot and toes is an important part of all 4 of the traditional Footwork exercises.  Miss out on this work at the beginning of the workout – and you’re doing your clients a disservice in setting their bodies up for correct muscle firing patterns and balanced muscle development.

It’s no secret that good health starts from the ground up!  So it’s easy to see why Joseph Pilates started the Reformer repertoire with Footwork.

These days, too many people are wearing flip-flops and strapless shoes.  This fact alone makes Pilates Footwork an even more valuable asset to your clients workout program to try and undo the damage to gait and proper foot function being created by biomechanically ruined flip-flopped feet!

“Flipper Toes” are a great concept to teach with Pilates Reformer Footwork to improve body awareness and begin retraining the toes to work well for walking & running with pain-free feet. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Pilates Side Plank Exercise Variations

How To Add More Challenge to Your Simple Side Plank for an Advanced Pilates Mat Workout

There are many different ways to tweak the Side Plank exercise and provide variety and challenge.  BUT the technique of getting into and out of the Side Plank position needs to be the same for any version you do to ensure the shoulders work properly and risk of arm and shoulder injury is eliminated.

In the article, How to Execute a Great Side Plank,  I have provided directions to begin practicing a simple Side Plank so you can just focus on holding the position and improving strength and balance.  Once you’ve mastered this and are ready to add a bit more of a challenge to your Side Plank Exercise, there are several options to play with to make your Side Plank more difficult and see how well you’re able to maintain control and support!

Posted by Aliesa George in Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Abs vs. Thighs: Maximizing Effective Pilates Ab Work for Core Conditioning – Oblique’s vs. Quads

 Part 6 of 6 in the series of articles about Abs vs. Thighs

If you’ve been following the series of articles I’ve written on Abs vs. Thighs for improving Pilates exercise technique and core conditioning, this is the final post in this series of articles on Abs vs. Thighs.

 Many people believe their doing effective Ab work, when in fact their legs are really working harder than their Abs!  For twisting exercises and Oblique work, not only do the Thighs try to help, but a lot of the time the arms and shoulders are doing most of the pulling to twist (which isnt very effective for core conditioning.)  And if the arms aren’t doing all the work…the hip hikes up to meet the shoulder restricting use of your lower abs and eliminating the anchor point of a stable pelvis to maximize rotation and effective twisting of the spine.

 I’ve done quite a bit of prep work in the first 5 articles , and given you exercises to practice to help feel the difference between using your Abs vs. Thighs to curl the head and shoulders up, or Abs vs. Thighs to lift and lower the legs.  Now let’s think about Abs vs. Thighs during Rotation of the spine and Oblique work to help you make the most of your core training.

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Functional Movement, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.