By now, you know that Pilates is supposed to be hard.  It doesn’t often look that way, but you know the internal work and the quest for proper muscle activation and alignment makes it so challenging.

But sometimes you’re in class and you know that the exercise you’re doing is feeling too easy.

You have no idea what to do to make it better.  You just know it can be better.

Here’s the secret:  Opposition and length.

In every Pilates exercise, there should be opposition.

In Saw, your arms reach opposite directions to create more length, connect you to your abdominals more deeply, and find that crazy good twisty stretch.

In Double Leg Stretch, your arms and legs reach opposite directions to force you to use your deep abdominals to support the position.  And, your abdominals get a lifting feeling as you reach that is in opposition to the movement of the legs.

In Stomach Massage, your abdominals pull in opposition to the push of the legs.

I could go on for hours…

But, notice here too, all of these examples are about length too.  You’re reaching.  You’re creating a push/pull sensation which creates length.

One of my mentors told me that if I was looking at someone and knew that their alignment was off, they weren’t finding depth, or it just didn’t look right, ask for length.  It’s almost always the key.

So, there it is.

Always ask yourself where the opposition is in the exercise, then ask yourself for more reach, more push/pull, or more depth to create more length. 

And your next repetition will feel closer to how hard you know it should be.