Updated July 24, 2012
Pilates teaser exercise is part of the classical Pilates mat sequence. It has been notoriously challenging people for at least sixty years and probably more like eighty. So don't feel alone if you find this exercise difficult.
Nevertheless the teaser is an exercise worth learning. It takes a lot of strength, flexibility, control and balance -- all things we like to develop in Pilates. Teaser, when done properly is one of those Pilates exercises that falls into the category of flat stomach exercises as well.
When Pilates exercises, like teaser, are difficult, it helps to look at them in terms of what directly related skills other Pilates exercises can teach you about the one you are working on.
In teaser, for example, we can easily find parts of the chest lift, the hundred, the roll up and double leg lower lift. We could find more but these will get you started. See tips and links to instructions for those exercises in the better teaser in 30 days program below. By putting these teaser-building exercises into your regular Pilates workout schedule you will steadily build the strength and skills it takes to do a full teaser.
Not many people consider the roll up any easier than the teaser. But the roll up is a wonderful exercise and teaser does have the same kind of upper body spinal articulations that the roll up has. Roll up will also help you practice keeping your shoulders down and shoulder blades settled in you back as you come up.
Note: One of the challenges for people in roll up is is that their feet fly up. Sorry to say this is not the belly-scooped-abdominal-muscle-powered leg lift we go for in teaser. If you have flying feet or other challenges with the roll up, please see Master the Roll Up. You can also practice a pre-roll up exercise, supported roll back, to get many skills for teaser and roll up.
Begin lying down, arms along your sides. (In Return to Life Through Contrology Joseph Pilates teaches this exercise as beginning sitting. I find the scoop easier to find starting lying down but if you know the sitting version, that's fine.)
Teaser is a classical Pilates mat exercise. Joseph Pilates teaches it slightly differently -- beginning sitting and inhale on the roll up -- in his book Return to Life Through Contrology. I find that slightly more difficult. It might be your next step...
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