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Matwork A FULLY ILLUSTRATED MANUAL

Original copyright © 2001 by Merrithew Corp. Toronto, Canada. Reprinted 2013, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including photography, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher. STOTT PILATES; Intelligent Exercise. Profound Results.; CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training; Fitness Circle; Flex-Band; Merrithew Health & Fitness; Stability Chair; STOTT PILATES Network; The Professional’s Choice; Total Barre; and ZEN•GA are trademarks or registered trademarks of Merrithew Corporation.

INTELLIGENT EXERCISE. PROFOUND RESULTS.®

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basic principles BREATHING The method incorporates modern theories of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation through the Five Basic Principles. As the basis of the exercises in the technique, these biomechanical principles are related to body awareness and proper alignment. Rather than being separate entities, the five principles – breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and stabilization, and head and cervical placement – work together to create Intelligent Exercise that is both safe and effective. Teaching clients the principles at an early stage in their program ensures that they will become aware of how the body moves and functions. This will help enhance skill level and mindfulness, and ensure focus and control, allowing them to reap the full benefits of this method. BREATHING PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

Incorporating proper breathing during exercise may help relax the muscles and avoid unnecessary tension. A relaxed and full breath pattern can encourage focus and allow concentration on each task. Proper inhalation and exhalation may also help achieve dynamic stability during exercise. In all exercises the initial breath and awareness of stabilization should occur before the actual movement.

This will provide more complete stabilization through the pelvis and entire lumbo-pelvic region. Anatomically, during exhalation, the rib cage closes in and down while the spine flexes slightly. For this reason, an exhale is suggested to encourage spinal flexion. During inhalation, the rib cage opens out and up while the spine extends. Therefore an inhale is suggested to encourage spinal extension. An exhale may be used during spinal extension in order to maintain abdominal recruitment to stabilize and support the lumbar spine. Although this type of breath pattern is specifically useful while practicing , other types of breathing may be more practical when performing other activities. Developing an awareness of breath patterns will facilitate adaptation to any training necessary. BREATHING PRINCIPLE EXERCISES

The following movements demonstrate the principle of breathing. 1. NOTICE NATURAL BREATH PATTERN

With body supine, breathe smoothly, noticing natural breath pattern. Is breath affecting one area more than others? Consider the abdominal cavity, upper chest, sides and back of rib cage.

The breath pattern used during exercises should contribute to the execution of the movements rather than hindering them. Breathing shallowly only into the upper portion of the rib cage may cause overuse of the accessory breathing muscles and create tension in the neck and shoulder area. We encourage a more three-dimensional breath, expanding the rib cage posteriorly and laterally. There should be light engagement of the abdominal wall, and the diaphragm should depress, causing the abdomen to expand slightly. It is also important to breathe into the lower lobes of the lungs, because there is more efficient gas exchange.

2. BREATHING FLEXED FORWARD

INHALE

through nose, feeling sides and back of rib cage expand.

The breath pattern used in should encourage the engagement of the deep stabilizers of the torso. This involves activation of the transversus abdominis first, followed by the oblique abdominals. Simultaneous engagement of the pelvic floor and the multifidus with the transversus is encouraged during both the inhale and exhale.

EXHALE

through pursed lips, allowing rib cage to close.

This may encourage breathing into the sides and back of the rib cage. Start sitting in a neutral position, weight on top of sit-bones. Arms relaxed. INHALE

to prepare.

EXHALE

initiate from top of head and sequentially articulate spine into forward flexion, relaxing over legs.

Then …

Complete 3–5 repetitions On last exhale, initiate from tail and sequentially articulate spine, rolling up to starting position. Repeat.

Breathing Flexed Forward

start sitting

4

flex forward

B A S I C P R I N C I P L E S • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

return

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basic principles HEAD & CERVICAL PLACEMENT HEAD & CERVICAL PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

The cervical spine should hold its natural curve and the skull should balance directly above the shoulders when vertical. This relationship should also be maintained in all other starting positions. If there is a kyphosis (overflexion of the thoracic spine) or forward head posture, pads or foam cushions may be necessary in supine position to prevent the cervical spine from overextending and creating unnecessary tension. In most instances, the cervical spine should continue the line created by the thoracic spine during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. The idea of cranio-vertebral flexion should be incorporated anytime the thoracic spine moves into flexion. When flexing the upper torso from a supine position, focus on creating thoracic flexion and not overemphasizing cervical flexion. Cranio-vertebral flexion should come from lengthening the back of the neck away from the shoulders and flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine. Once cranio-vertebral flexion has been achieved, continue to slightly flex the cervical spine and then develop thoracic flexion.

In ideal cervical flexion, avoid jamming the chin into the chest. There should be enough room between chin and chest to fit a small fist. When extending the upper torso from a prone position, pay particular attention to maintaining an even extension from the thoracic through the cervical spine. Avoid lifting the head too high and creating overextension and compression of the cervical spine. Be aware that the eyeline will affect the cervical placement. When flexing the upper torso from supine, the eyeline should be appropriate for the amount of flexion to maintain proper alignment through the cervical spine. In thoracic extension, the focus should follow the same guidelines. When sitting in neutral, and through all movements, the gaze should ensure that the head, cervical and thoracic spine remain aligned.

Head & Cervical Placement

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neutral cervical alignment

cranio-vertebral flexion

correct upper body flexion

overextension of cervical

B A S I C P R I N C I P L E S • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

overflexion of cervical

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warm up CAT STRETCH STARTING POSITION

On hands and knees with arms under shoulders and knees under hips, knees abducted hip-distance apart. Pelvis and spine neutral. EXERCISE INHALE

maintain starting position.

EXHALE

initiate by rolling ASIS away from front of femurs and sequentially articulate spine into flexion from tailbone to head. Allow scapulae to protract without tensing upper trapezius.

INHALE

keep abdominals engaged and expand back of rib cage, keeping head and shoulders relaxed.

EXHALE

sequentially articulate spine into slight extension from tailbone to head.

Complete 3–5 repetitions. FOCUS ■

achieve even flexion throughout spine

maintain engagement of abdominals to support lumbar spine in extension

MODIFICATIONS 1. FEET OFF END OF RAISED MAT.

For tightness through

dorsal portion of foot. 2. REVERSE SEQUENCING. Articulate spine from head to tail on both flexion and extension. 3. SEQUENCE FROM CENTER OF SPINE.

Use exhale on flexion, inhale on extension. To speed up exercise once engagement of abdominals on extension is familiar. 4. TWO BREATHS.

Cat Stretch

1. starting position

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2. flexion

W A R M U P • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

3. slight extension

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exercises HUNDRED

ESSENTIAL

STARTING POSITION

NOTES

Supine, imprinted position. Legs parallel and adducted in air with knees flexed, ankles plantar flexed, toes gently pointed (tabletop position). Arms long by sides, palms down, scapulae stabilized.

builds on basic principles of Ab Prep

may be done stabilizing lumbo-pelvic region in neutral once strength is gained and ability demonstrated

ESSENCE

EXERCISE

To begin... INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

lengthen back of neck, then maintain length and stabilize scapulae, contract abdominals to slide rib cage toward pelvis, and flex thoracic spine, reaching arms off mat, level with shoulders. Simultaneously, extend legs as low as imprint can be maintained.

Then... INHALE

EXHALE

for 5 counts, maintaining spinal flexion, scapular and pelvic stability while doing small vertical pulses with arms. for 5 counts, continuing to pulse arms.

Complete 10 sets (total of 100 counts). To finish... INHALE

EXHALE

remain in spinal flexion, flex knees, and continue to reach arms. return upper body to mat, legs in air.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; rectus abdominis and obliques to create and sustain thoracic flexion and imprint; scapular stabilizers against movement of arms; hip flexors, adductors and quadriceps isometrically STABILITY: upper body in flexion; lumbo-pelvic region imprinted against weight of legs; scapulae against movement of arms ENDURANCE: required from abdominals to maintain thoracic flexion and stabilize pelvis throughout

FOCUS ■

stabilize scapulae throughout to avoid upper body tension

maintain imprint throughout exercise

avoid overly tucking pelvis

initiate movement of arms at shoulder joint, not elbow; put emphasis on downward motion with arms

avoid overworking rectus abdominis over flexing lumbar spine, coming too high, giving appearance of popping abdominals

maintain thoracic flexion throughout exercise

Hundred

36

1. starting position

2. working position – legs as low as imprint can be maintained

3. remain in flexion, flex knees

4. end position

E X E R C I S E S • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

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Modification 2

MODIFICATIONS

Pelvis neutral. Practice breath with arm movement. Focuses on scapular stabilization and full breath pattern.

1. HEAD AND FEET ON MAT.

2. FEET ON MAT IN NEUTRAL PELVIS. With upper body flexed. For those with vulnerable lower back or not enough strength in abdominals to stabilize pelvis with legs in air.

feet on mat

Releases hip flexors. Intermediate stage for those not strong enough to stabilize pelvis with legs fully extended. 3. TABLETOP POSITION.

4. BREATHE IN STACCATO RHYTHM. Helps promote full breath pattern and avoid holding breath.

Modification 3

5. FITNESS CIRCLE RESISTANCE RING. Between knees or ankles. Adds lower-body resistance. Legs can be tabletop or diagonal. ®

6. FLEX HIPS AND KNEES. For 5 counts on inhale (to tabletop position), then extend legs for 5 counts on exhale. Challenges coordination.

tabletop position

Legs tabletop. Alleviates neck tension due to weakness in cervical flexors or abdominals. Progress to one hand behind head with upper body flexed, pulsing with one arm for 50 counts then switching.

Modification 5

7. HEAD AND SHOULDERS ON MAT.

Assists abdominals with thoracic flexion. Resting head on Barrel as well will eliminate neck tension while encouraging thoracic flexion (may need foam cushion under head). 8. SHOULDERS ON ARC BARREL.

Develops abdominal strength and/or alleviates neck tension due to weakness in cervical flexors or abdominals.

9. SPINE SUPPORTER.

®

Holding both ends. Adds upper-body resistance to challenge latissimus dorsi and supports weight of legs thus making it easier to stabilize pelvis. Another option: keep legs tabletop and hold onto ends of Flex-Band exerciser stretched across shins. 10. FLEX-BAND® EXERCISER AROUND FEET.

11. SPONGE OR SMALL BALL.

Fitness Circle resistance ring between knees

Between ankles or knees to aid

adductor connection.

®

Fitness Circle resistance ring between ankles

Modification 8

Modification 9

shoulders on Arc Barrel

in Spine Supporter

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C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

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exercises SHOULDER BRIDGE

INTERMEDIATE

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Supine, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet on mat slightly closer to seat than for Ab Preps. Legs parallel and abducted hip-distance apart. Arms long by sides, palms down, scapulae stabilized.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; rectus abdominis and obliques help avoid anterior pelvic tilt; hip extensors concentrically to extend hips and lift pelvis; obliques, hip extensors of supporting leg and multifidus isometrically as one leg lifts to avoid pelvis rotating; hip flexors of gesture leg eccentrically as leg lowers and concentrically as leg lifts; scapular stabilizers

EXERCISE

To begin... INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

stabilize pelvis and spine in neutral and extend hips to lift pelvis off mat, creating bridge position from shoulders to knees.

maintain level pelvis and lift one foot, flexing hip and plantar flexing ankle, then extend knee to reach toes to ceiling.

EXHALE

dorsiflex ankle and extend leg at hip as low as neutral pelvis can be maintained.

INHALE

plantar flex ankle, gently pointing toes, and flex leg at hip.

Repeat extension and flexion of hip twice more. EXHALE

MOBILITY:

hip flexion and extension

stabilize pelvis and spine in neutral position throughout leg movement

ENDURANCE:

Then... INHALE

STABILITY: pelvis and spine in neutral avoiding rotation as one leg lifts; scapulae

COORDINATION:

FOCUS ■

lift only as high as upper thoracic area, not onto cervical spine

maintain contraction of obliques to prevent extension of lumbar spine

ensure engagement of gluteus maximus and hamstrings to keep hips fully extended

keep pelvis neutral and level during leg movement

flex knee and lower foot to mat, articulating through foot.

Repeat on other leg.

leg movements with breath, maintaining stability

Complete 2–3 repetitions on each side. To finish... INHALE

stay and lengthen spine in neutral position.

EXHALE

stabilize pelvis and spine in neutral and flex hips to lower pelvis onto mat.

Shoulder Bridge

58

1. starting position

2. lift pelvis

3. flex hip

4. extend leg to ceiling

5. lower leg

6. flex hip

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MODIFICATIONS 1.

3.

SHOULDER BRIDGE PREP / LIFT AND LOWER PELVIS.

Develops core strength and stability in neutral. INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

stabilize pelvis and spine in neutral and extend hips to lift pelvis off mat, creating bridge position from shoulders to knees.

INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

flex hips to lower pelvis to mat.

2.

SHOULDER BRIDGE PREP / LIFT AND LOWER ONE LEG.

Works on pelvic stability without weight of fully extended leg.

FITNESS CIRCLE® RESISTANCE RING BETWEEN KNEES.

Increases lower-body resistance. INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

stabilize in neutral and extend hips to lift pelvis off mat to bridge position, gently squeezing ring.

INHALE

maintain bridge position and release tension on ring.

EXHALE

with controlled pulses, squeeze ring 3 times, stabilizing spine in neutral.

INHALE

release tension.

EXHALE

stabilize in neutral and flex hips to lower pelvis to mat.

Start with pelvis near top of Barrel and perform leg movement as in full exercise, maintaining imprinted position. To assist stabilization while learning movement.

4. ARC BARREL.

To begin... INHALE

stay.

EXHALE

stabilize pelvis and spine in neutral and extend hips to lift pelvis off mat, creating bridge position from shoulders to knees.

INHALE

stay.

Then... EXHALE

lift one foot slightly off mat (2–3 inches), articulating through foot while keeping spine and pelvis neutral.

INHALE

articulate through foot to replace on mat.

EXHALE

lift other foot slightly off mat.

INHALE

articulate through foot to replace on mat.

Modification 2

Complete 3–6 repetitions. To finish... EXHALE

flex hips to lower pelvis onto mat. lift one foot slightly

7. flex knee

8. place foot down

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9. place pelvis down

C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

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exercises SCISSORS IN AIR STARTING POSITION

Then...

Supine, imprinted position. Legs parallel and adducted, extended on diagonal as low as imprint can be maintained, ankles plantar flexed, toes gently pointed. Arms long by sides, palms down, scapulae stabilized.

EXHALE

for 2 counts. Stabilize pelvis and reach one leg into extension at hip, bringing other leg into flexion at hip. Reach further on second count.

INHALE

start to switch legs by reaching them to the ceiling so they pass each other in mid-air.

EXHALE

for 2 counts. Stabilize pelvis and reach other leg into extension at hip, bringing opposite leg into flexion at hip. Reach further on second count.

INHALE

start to switch legs by reaching them to the ceiling so they pass each other in mid-air.

EXERCISE

To begin... INHALE

ADVANCED

flex at hips to hinge legs toward torso, then sequentially articulate spine off mat from tailbone to upper thoracic area and reach legs overhead, parallel to mat.

EXHALE

extend hips and reach legs to ceiling, placing hands on back for support (weight remains on upper thoracic area, with whole spine somewhat flexed).

INHALE

stay, continuing to reach legs to ceiling.

Complete 5–10 repetitions of scissoring legs. On last inhale, bring legs together and reach toward ceiling. To finish... EXHALE

place palms down on mat, then sequentially articulate spine down to mat, one vertebra at a time, and maintain imprint as legs return to diagonal.

Scissors in Air

84

1. starting position

2. reach legs overhead

3. reach legs to ceiling

4. scissor legs

5. switch legs

6. bring legs together

E X E R C I S E S • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

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exercises SIDE BEND

INTERMEDIATE

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Seated on one hip, facing side, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed with top leg laterally rotated, foot flat on mat slightly forward of sit-bones. Bottom leg resting on mat with foot behind top foot. Torso supported on one hand in line with hip, arm extended. Top arm extended, resting on knee, palm up.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; obliques and hip extensors to avoid spinal extension and hip flexion; obliques and multifidus to avoid rotation; ipsilateral internal and external obliques concentrically to laterally flex torso, eccentrically on lowering; scapular stabilizers, particularly serratus anterior; hip adductors of top leg and hip abductors of bottom leg concentrically to help lift pelvis; hip adductors to help stabilize pelvis

EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

stabilize supporting shoulder, and lift pelvis toward ceiling, laterally flexing torso, extending knees and connecting inner thighs to create bow shape between hand and feet. Simultaneously, reach free arm overhead; eye-focus straight ahead.

STABILITY: supporting scapulae, shoulder and arm; spine during articulation; pelvis on femurs in up position

flex knees and lower pelvis to mat, returning to starting position. Lower free arm to knee.

before lifting

MOBILITY:

spinal articulation; pelvis on femurs initiate by stabilizing scapula on supporting side

SEQUENCING:

BALANCE:

Repeat 3–5 times on each side.

on both feet and one hand

FOCUS ■

maintain contraction of abdominals to prevent rib cage from rotating or popping

engage gluteus maximus, hamstrings and abdominals to prevent pelvis from moving into anterior tilt and flexing hip joints

laterally flex avoiding notable forward flexion, extension or rotation

avoid sinking into shoulder

laterally flex cervical spine relative to thoracic spine

Side Bend

1. starting position

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E X E R C I S E S • C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L

2. lift pelvis toward ceiling

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MODIFICATIONS

Modification 1

Supporting knee on mat. Hand in line with knee. Develops strength and initiation through arm, shoulder and scapular stabilizers.

1.

SIDE BEND PREP.

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

stabilize supporting shoulder and lift pelvis toward ceiling, keeping bottom knee on mat and creating bow shape from hand to knee. Reach arm overhead.

INHALE

lower pelvis to mat and return to starting position.

• SIDE BEND PREP. Start both knees together, sitting on one hip. Perform exercise same as prep above.

2.

3. FOUR BREATHS.

1. starting position

To slow down pace.

4. POSITION OF FEET. Starting with feet closer to body requires more lateral flexion; further from body, less lateral flexion.

2. lift pelvis

3. return to mat

3. return pelvis to mat

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C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L • E X E R C I S E S

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workout chart ADVANCED MATWORK LEGEND:

= essential level

= intermediate level

= advanced level

BREAST STROKE

BREATHING

SHELL STRETCH

IMPRINT & RELEASE

SAW

HIP RELEASE

OPEN LEG ROCKER

SPINAL ROTATION

NECK PULL

5 TO 8 REPS

CAT STRETCH

OBLIQUES ROLL BACK

3 TO 5 REPS

HIP ROLLS

JACK KNIFE

4 TO 6 REPS

SCAPULA ISOLATION

SIDE KICK

ARM CIRCLES

SIDE LEG LIFT SERIES

HEAD NODS

SCISSORS IN AIR

5 TO 10 REPS

ELEVATION & DEPRESSION OF SCAPULAE

BICYCLE IN AIR

5 TO 10 REPS

DOUBLE LEG KICK

4 TO 6 REPS

5 TO 10 REPS

SPINE STRETCH FORWARD

3 TO 5 REPS

3 TO 5 REPS

TEASER SERIES

3 TO 5 REPS

SWAN DIVE

5 TO 8 REPS

10 SETS

SWIMMING

3 TO 5 SETS

WARM UP

EXERCISES

5 TO 8 REPS

3 TO 5 REPS 8 TO 10 REPS

8 TO 10 REPS 12345

5 TO 10 REPS

AB PREP

BREAST STROKE PREPS

SHELL STRETCH

HUNDRED

HALF ROLL BACK

5 TO 8 REPS

SHELL STRETCH

ROLL UP

5 TO 8 REPS

LEG PULL FRONT

3 TO 6 REPS

ONE LEG CIRCLE

5 REPS

LEG PULL

3 TO 6 REPS

SPINE TWIST

3 TO 5 REPS

HIP TWIST

3 TO 5 REPS

ROLLING LIKE A BALL

8 TO 10 REPS

CONTROL BALANCE

3 TO 5 REPS

SINGLE LEG STRETCH

8 TO 10 REPS

CORKSCREW

3 TO 5 REPS

OBLIQUES

8 TO 10 REPS

SIDE KICK KNEELING

8 TO 10 REPS

SLOW DOUBLE LEG STRETCH

5 TO 10 REPS

SEAL

8 TO 10 REPS

DOUBLE LEG STRETCH

5 TO 10 REPS

SIDE BEND

3 TO 5 REPS

SCISSORS

8 TO 10 REPS

TWIST

3 TO 5 REPS

SHOULDER BRIDGE

2 TO 3 REPS

ROCKING

ROLL OVER

6 TO 8 REPS

BOOMERANG

4 TO 6 REPS

ONE LEG KICK

5 TO 8 REPS

PUSH UP

2 TO 3 REPS

123

1234

5 TO 10 REPS

m e r r i t h e w. c o m 2 2 0 0 Y O N G E S T R E E T, # 5 0 0 , T O R O N T O , O N , C A N A D A M 4 S 2 C 6 . 4 1 6 - 4 8 2 - 4 0 5 0

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C O M P R E H E N S I V E M AT W O R K M A N U A L • W O R K O U T C H A R T S

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Comprehensive Matwork Sample