Ron's Clock is a breathing exercise that comes to us from Fletcher Pilates. It was designed by Ron Fletcher as an exercise that warms up, as Ron would say, "the breathing apparatus" -- the lungs, the diaphragm, and the intercostals and the deep core musculature. It also teaches the important lesson of letting the breath initiate movement.
This exercise segments the inhales and exhales into parts, building up to a 6-part inhale and 6-part exhale. This is a dynamic way of breathing, and you will feel how it activates the muscles and bones of the torso. This type of breathing is often accompanied by sound that is the result of the activation of the core musculature. Ron Fletcher coined the term Percussive Breathing(TM) for this type of breathing.
Throughout the exercise, the arms elevate a little further with each step as the ribs expand on the inhales and the arms lower as the ribs close on the exhales. Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.
1. Starting Position - arms at six o'clock
2. Arms at 5:30
Inhale through your nose, expanding your ribs laterally.
Exhale through your mouth, emphasizing the closure of the ribs.
Your arms reflect the movement of your ribs.
3. Arms at 5:00
Inhale twice through your nose. Raise your arms slightly with the expansion of the ribs.
Exhale twice through the mouth. Lower your arms with the closing of the ribs.
Again, emphasize opening and closing of the ribs.
The arms will raise a little further with each subsequent set of inhales
4. Arms at 4:30
Inhale 3x, through the nose.
Exhale 3x, through the mouth for a more complete breath cycle.
5. Arms at 4:00
Inhale through the nose 4x.
Exhale through the mouth 4x.
Again, notice how the arms reflect the movement that is initiated by the breath.
6. Arms at 3:30
This is the Pilates hundreds breathing pattern.
Notice how much more complete your breath is following this progressive warm-up.
7. Arms at 3:00
You are now ready to begin your Pilates practice!
8. Advancing This Breathing Exercise
Ultimately, the Ron's Clock exercise breathes the arms up to the 12 o'clock position. You can work your way up to 12 breaths in and 12 breaths out -- without forcing the breath or creating any strain in the neck and shoulders.
Learn more about Fletcher Pilates.