The Footwork consist of four positions; the balls of the feet, arches, heals, and then tendon stretch to work the bottom of the foot and ankles. At the beginning of all Reformer workouts, is, the Footwork.
Why is the footwork so important?
It all starts with four sets of ten pushing and pulling the carriage against the springs of the Gratz Reformer conditioning individual muscle fibers to ‘Reform’ the body. Originally the bar on the reformer was sans padding making the experience much different from what most people experience today.
The metal bar against bare feet massages acupressure points, so, depending on the spring load, or internal health will gauge the amount of pressure being felt. Acupressure points of the foot range from digestive problems, stress and anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, headaches, liver and kidney function. The different meridians accessed throughout the footwork can be felt as pain or a lovely foot massage.
Pain indicates the pressure points need to be worked and eventually as the pressure points are worked-out the pain subsides becoming enjoyable. When clients are introduced to the footwork they either welcome it or dread it.
Once the pressure is less about pain it becomes commanding, going sans padding connects the feet into the stomach and drawls the mind to the work. Not having that cushy pad around the bar also makes the footwork a lot harder. Eventually the footwork influences all the Pilates exercises on and off the equipment.
Instruction and the Footwork?
The perception of the footwork might be overlooked and thought of as bland and redundant. Instructors commonly do not spend a lot of time with new clients explaining why the footwork is so important. Instead instructors will revisit teaching the footwork to clients, once they can demonstrate a certain foundation and understanding of the principles and their application.
Instructors often seek out master or first generation authentic Pilates teacher trainers to further their own understanding of the footwork and how it applies to their bodies so they can prepare their clients. The footwork is colorful, transformative, and from the second your feet hit bar it tunes you in and turn you on.