Our guest blogger Cecile Bankston explaining the Pedi Pul Pilates Piece
11 February 2013,17:10:41 BST
The Pedi Pul is an original piece of Joseph Pilates' equipment. However, it is an often neglected and even forgotten piece of equipment. The one pictured here is the original design that is not attached to the wall, now there are also pedi puls that are made to attach to the wall, and have a kidney shaped bottom which is to encourage the proper foot position. The pedi pul is made so that one stands with the spine aligned with the pole, and the feet are generally in first position or a V shape position. The arms then are put into the handles attached to two springs, and held out at the sides of the body in alignment with the shoulders.There are quite a few challenges here. The first being that it is very difficult to align the spine with the pole. You must do this by pulling into the abdominal muscles(especially the transverses abdominal muscles), and NOT by tucking the tail. So the goal is to align the spine all the way from the base to the top with the feet in first position. A perfect position would be to have no spaces in which the spine is not touching. The closer the feet are to the pole, the more difficult this becomes.
Once you get into this position then a series of exercises performed while holding this spinal alignment. Some examples are pulling the springs down and up with straight arms, and half circles, even a bending forward and rolling back up with the spine touching one vertebrae at a time. Or bending the knees while holding the springs down, circling the springs 4 - 8 times then straightening the knees, and finally releasing the springs.
The Pedi Pul is fabulous for people who have lordosis or kyphosis or even scoliosis because they have a tactile sensation of when the spine is in alignment. The original design that is not attached to the wall is not seen quite as often these days. I actually own one of each. The story goes that in the days that Joe was teaching, if the pedi pul fell over while you were working on it, then of course that was your fault because you weren't performing the exercise right!! Now, with the ability to attach it to the wall that is not a problem, however the goal is still the same, so this is why I own both. Sometimes I need to remind myself or do a "check up" to make sure I am not performing the exercises just with the brute strength of the arms and not involving the core muscles. Because if you only use your arm strength, you are not going to be able to keep the spine against the pole, and you might risk it wobbling or even falling over.