One of my favorite exercises is the Roll Over. That is the exercise where you keep your head and shoulders on the ground and bring our feet over your head to touch the floor above you, curling your gluts and back off the floor. It is a challenging exercise and you can make it harder by keeping your hands over your head instead of down at your sides. I used to be able to do this exercise. It took practice, but I got there.
Over my vacation last week, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it with my arms over head and I was struggling with it with my arms at my sides–and I’m a Pilates instructor. It was really frustrating, but I realized I hadn’t practiced it in a while. It was my own fault. I attend regular Pilates classes and practice by myself at home, but I hadn’t opted to do a Roll Over and out of all the exercises to choose from my instructors hadn’t happened to select it in a while.
I have no doubt that if I practice it, I’ll be able to do it again. But it is a good reminder that our bodies need to practice and move and repeat in order to learn and remember. Since I was able to do it once, it will probably come back relatively quickly, but even instructors–individuals often expected to be great at Pilates–have moments of weakness and areas of weakness. The exercises aren’t a piece of cake for instructors either.
It’s also not only about practice. Our bodies go through many changes on any given day–our mental stability effects our exercise, what we’ve eaten and our hormones all make a difference. There are days when a long Plank seems almost easy and days when I can barely get through a one-minute thirty-second Plank. Some of my clients get frustrated by Teaser when some days they can do the full exercise and other days they can’t. Our bodies are pretty sensitive. Some days even I have to remind my muscles how to work on Teaser and my first Teaser–though my abdominal muscles should be less tired–is not my strongest Teaser. It feels as though my muscles need a little warm up to remember how to re-engage for the exercise.
So know, baring any injuries that restrict you from a particular exercise, with practice, a solid warm-up, and a belief in yourself you will eventually be able to do any Pilates exercise you set your mind to. It may not come easy, but it will come.