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Is "Footwork" really that important?

Some of my clients come into class, lay down on the Reformer and just blow through their Footwork. They see it as a warmup, or a time to chit chat and catch up with their friends. I try to get them to slow down and pay attention, but sometimes I feel like I’m constantly nagging them and nit-picking. Is it worth it to keep hounding them? Is Footwork really that important? – Popsicle Toes


Dear Popsicle Toes,

I love that you are being diligent with your clients: that is exactly what a good teacher does! It’s our job to keep clients on track and mindfully focused on their work.

You ask, “Is Footwork really that important?” The short answer is Yes. The long answer is hell Yes!

Footwork is the foundation of the Reformer work. It sets the tone for the work ahead.

For teachers, it provides a roadmap for the body in front of us. It gives us the perfect opportunity to check alignment, mobility, flexibility, and to scope out where disfunction lies.

For students, it provides the perfect opportunity to check in with their body and see how they are moving. Are the hips, knees, ankles, and feet moving freely? Is there stiffness? Restriction? Pain? All of these questions can be answered with Footwork.

The supine position the Footwork series provides the client with a different sensation of movement: a change of pace from the normal, everyday, vertical, weight-bearing stance. And the closed chain format allows for grounding and connection into the foot bar: a stable place for the feet to plant and the body to subsequently stretch away from. 

And let’s not forget about the different positions of the feet—toes, arches, heels, lower & lift! 

Footwork is dependent upon the correctness of these positions. Each one plays an important role within the series. Each individual position contributes to developing strength, increasing flexibility, maintaining stability, and correcting alignment.

Think of Footwork as a delicious piece of cake. All of the ingredients: butter, flour, sugar, salt, vodka, join together to make it a joyful experience. 

Mr. Pilates was one smart cookie. He knew the importance of having strong feet. He designed a series of exercises specifically for them, and he made it the first movement!

So…. keep hounding your clients. Keep nit-picking. And keep championing for Footwork!