Inspiring Life from the Core

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Julie’s Favorite Exercise: Monkey

written by Julie Chan, Pure Pilates Instructor

There are certain stretches you can only feel on Pilates apparatus and the Monkey is one of them. That’s why it’s my favorite exercise. For me, there’s no other way to stretch your calves , hamstrings and glutes. The thrill of being able to push the push-through bar up and experience that “ahhhh” moment.

When I first tried, I didn’t really get it. I had a hard time positioning myself in the “perfect” place under the bar. Then one leg would push up more than the other–unevenly. After lots of wonderful practice, I DID IT!

Using my core more (not just legs) was the next step in practice, and coming up evenly: not too much core, not too much legs, but rising evenly like an upside-down see-saw.
My hamstrings are weak and tight, and compounded with my lopsided body from a right knee replacement and multiple torn ligaments in my left knee, mastering the monkey pose has been incredibly beneficial.

I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older I have a harder time reaching up for the bar-something that used to be easy for me. A great variation for this is to grab the sides of the pushthrough bar instead.

 

The monkey isn’t for everybody, flexibility is key & the stretch is so intense. I secretly smile every time I do the monkey. I feel so good-truly, like a monkey!

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