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Teaser Preps: Manageable Modifications of the Classic Exercise

Teaser is, in my opinion, the hardest Pilates mat exercise. It’s a killer ab exercise with spinal articulation and psoas work to boot. However, if you’re new to Pilates, don’t give up on this exercise yet! There are several Teaser preps that can get your body ready for this challenging exercise.

Before you start practicing these preps, I want to warn anyone that has psoas gripping issues. This may not be the best exercise for you right now. Work on restoring your psoas health and functionality before trying Teaser preps.

Teaser Prep–1 Leg Lifted

Normally, in Pilates books, they will tell you that beginners should do the version where both knees are bent and both feet are on the ground. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. I find that version to be extremely challenging. Therefore, I decided to open with the version with 1 leg lifted.

I believe that when you lift one leg, you can recruit your adductors to help you roll up. For something like 75% of the population, engagement of the adductors directly leads to activation of the abdominals. This is incredibly useful if you feel like a turtle stuck on its back at the beginning of the exercise.

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with both knees bent and your heels in line with your SITs bones.
  3. teaser prepExtend your right leg so that your knees match up and can press into each other.
  4. Broaden your collarbones and reach your arms straight above your chest.
  5. Inhale to reach your arms above your head.
  6. Then, quickly bring them above your chest and exhale as you roll up one vertebrae at a time until you are sitting just behind your SITs bones. You should feel like your spine is making a “J.”
  7. Draw your belly button to your spine as you inhale and lift your arms toward the ceiling. Bring your arms back to shoulder level.
  8. Exhale and roll back one vertebrae at a time. When you finish, your arms should be reaching toward the ceiling.
  9. Do 2-3 reps on this side.
  10. After you finish your last rep, bend your right knee, straighten your left, and repeat the directions for the left side.

Teaser Prep-Knees Bent

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with both knees bent and your heels in line with your SITs bones. Make sure your feet are as far away from your SITs bones as they can get and still connect to the floor. This will give you more space to roll up.
  3. teaser prepBroaden your collarbones and reach your arms straight above your chest.
  4. Take a good inhale and exhale to activate your transverse abdominis.
  5. Inhale to reach your arms above your head.
  6. Then, quickly bring them above your chest and exhale as you roll up one vertebrae at a time until you are sitting just behind your SITs bones. You should feel like your spine is making a “J.”
  7. Draw your belly button to your spine as you inhale and lift your arms toward the ceiling. Bring your arms back to shoulder level.
  8. Exhale and roll back one vertebrae at a time. When you finish, your arms should be reaching toward the ceiling.
  9. Do 3-5 reps.

Teaser Preps Video

For visual learners, here is a video of Teaser preps.

What is your favorite Pilates core-strengthening exercise? Let us know in the comments.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.

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