Speir Pilates: The Updated Pilates Method

After reading all about the Speir Pilates method in some of our favorite wellness publications, we we’re excited to get on the reformer, chat with the staff, and see what it’s all about. The Santa Monica studio boasts inspiring, airy vibes in a sunlit space with floor to ceiling windows, and coffee at the counter for your post or pre workout boost.

The Speir Pilates method is renowned across the country for the unique method that combines the best of classical Pilates, and fuels it with the results driven elements of cardio, HIIT and barre. What’s different about Speir from other pilates methods is that they offer an “all in one” approach; there’s elongating and chiseling work on the reformer that focuses on core and posture and there’s also a high intensity training component as well. No longer should clients look at pilates as a “cardio free” way of toning.

We hopped on the reformer with Jeni DelPozo, a So Cal native who grew up dancing and living an active lifestyle from an early age. A senior teacher and teacher trainer at Speir, Jeni is passionate and knowledgable about the ins and the outs of the method. We got a lesson with Jeni on some of her favorite moves to teach at Speir Pilates.

 

1. Side Sit-Up to Side Sit-Up TwistsPlace one foot under the strap and sit onto the hip bone. Bring the hands behind the head and reach out and lower the torso to your challenging angle then lift the torso up past your starting point. 

*Jeni’s Tips: Make sure to have a lot of tension underneath the strap. Keep a slight tuck of the tailbone to help support your lower back. Only lift the torso up as far as it can while keeping tension underneath the strap. These side sit-ups are no joke! You’ll feel them quickly cutting right into those obliques.

 

2. Side Plank Step

Reformer is on one blue spring as you place one forearm down on the center of the box. Top foot is on the shoulder block the way the body is facing, bottom foot is on the shoulder block behind. Reach the top arm up to the sky, then wrap and twist the arm underneath the torso, then reach the top arm out to the front of the room and the top leg lengthens over there reformer.  Pull the top below and top knee in towards each other then lengthen back out.

*Jeni’s Tips: Press firmly into the forearm to keep from sinking into the neck and shoulders.  Keep the hips lifted nice and high. Try to keep the carriage as still as possible. This exercise will target both sides of the obliques making it very efficient and effective, you’ll also be working those lats to the body stable!

 

3. Platform Lunges

Start with one leg on the platform and take one big step back onto the carriage with the other leg, hitting a lunge.  Press out to a lunge position as you reach the arms forward, then bring the carriage back in reaching the arms overhead. 

*Jeni’s Tips: Make sure to keep the back heel lifted.  Most of the weight is in the front leg.  Keep the front knee in line with the heel, not too far forward. You’ll feel these in the quad, inner thighs, hamstrings, and glutes!

 

4. Side Splits

Step onto the platform first, then place the foot closest to the carriage as close to the shoulder blocks as possible.  Press the carriage away in three counts, hold the carriage out for three counts, bring the carriage back in in three counts, then hold the carriage all the way in for three counts. Those counts are nice and slow! 

*Jeni’s Tips: Make sure to keep the tailbone slightly tucked so not to feel your low back. Your inner thighs will thank you later for this amazing exercise.

 

5. Bicep Curls to Alligator Arms to Reverse Fly

Reformer is on one red spring for each exercise.  For the Bicep Curls, place legs between the shoulder blocks and bring the handles to a 90 degree angle.  Reach the arms out in front of you, then bend in for a bicep curl. Make sure to sit up tall to engage the abs as well.  Keep the elbows in line with the shoulders.  For Alligator Arms, reach arms out in front, facing the palms towards each other. Reach the arms to opposite diagonals then switch. Feel the shoulder blades drawing onto the back to engage the muscles around them. For the Reverse Fly, cross the straps and face the palms downward.  Bend the elbows wide to the sides, then reach the arms back in front of you. You should feel like someone is pulling your elbows apart and keep drawing the shoulders down.  These three exercises will chisel the arms and back all together!

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