How to Do the Pilates Teaser

How to Do the Pilates Teaser

In a well-rounded Pilates program like XB Pilates, every move will work your entire body, especially your core. However, there are a couple of standout exercises that have become classics for good reason. One of these is the Pilates teaser, a major core burner you can do anytime, anywhere.

“Teaser challenges both balance and core stability,” says Openfit Live trainer Jen Cordiner, the education director for Xtend Barre. “In Xtend Barre and XB Pilates, we use it in a sequence to refocus and reconnect to our core. When you want balance, flexibility, and core control, this lets you do all of those in one move.”

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Pilates Teaser: Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Lie on your back with your core engaged and lower back pressed into the mat or floor. Bend your legs so your feet are flat on the ground, about hip distance apart.
  • Lift one leg up and extend it out at a 45-degree angle. Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling.
  • Inhale as you lift your torso up, reaching your arms toward your toes, creating a “V” shape with your body.
  • Hold this position for 5 breaths, then slowly roll back down as you exhale.
  • Do two sets of 5 to 10 reps per leg, alternating legs with each rep.

 

Benefits of the Pilates Teaser

It seems counterintuitive that the Pilates teaser would be touted for its ability to improve balance, considering that you’re sitting on the floor when you do it. But it’s all about the core.

Pilates core exercises like the teaser train the muscles in your whole “girdle,” including the pelvis, hips, lower back, and abdomen, so they work together more effectively.

This focus can also lead to better posture, less stress and pain in your back, and improved athletic performance in everything from HIIT workouts to strength training.

 

4 Helpful Pilates Teaser Tips

As with any exercise, Pilates-based or not, good form is essential. Make sure you’re focusing on your core instead of your back with these form reminders:

  1. Breath is important, so exhale as you lower down and inhale as you come up from the Pilates teaser.
  2. Keep your spine neutral so you’re not rounding your back.
  3. Focus on keeping your shoulders pulled back slightly and down, which will help straighten your back.
  4. Keep your head in line with your spine, as if you have a plank of wood from your tailbone to the back of your head. Resist the urge to crane your neck forward to look at your toes.

 

Pilates Teaser Modifications

“It is important to perform teaser in proper alignment to avoid overstraining in the hip flexors,” says Cordiner. Taking your legs higher toward the ceiling is “a great way to modify and perfect your form before progressing” to having your elbows and forearms on the mat. This shortens your “lever,” which eases the load on your hip flexors.

If you’re still feeling strain, Cordiner suggests holding your legs in tabletop position at the top of the move. That way, your knee is bent and calf is parallel to the floor, rather than your toes pointed toward the ceiling.

To make the move more challenging, fully extend both legs instead of one at a time, she suggests. You can also hold that “V” position for longer, focusing on good form and core engagement.

Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher. Follow her on Twitter.

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