The Pilates exercise known as the Teaser is the shining star of the Pilates mat series of exercises. Almost every exercise, including the Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker, which is done in the mat series up until this point, prepares you to perform the Teaser.
The Teaser is one of the definitive Pilates moves or exercises and also utilizes all of the Pilates principles: Breathing, Centering, Control, Concentration, Precision and Flow. It requires a strong and deep connection to the powerhouse to move into and stabilize the position. Joseph named this exercise the Teaser, because he felt it was a “teaser” of all that his exercise method worked towards and accomplishes.
This exercise works on strengthening the full body, and incorporates many muscles including all of the abdominal muscles, spinal extensors and hip flexors. In fact the Teaser is much more effective than traditional crunches at targeting your external obliques and rectus abdominis. The goal of the Teaser is to use your core, hip flexors, and spinal flexors to come up into and hold the position, balancing on the base of the pelvis just behind the sitz bones. There is a bit of a curve in the lumbar spine as you hold this V-sit position, with a proud and lifted upper torso, opening across the chest and shoulders. The arms reach out, parallel to the legs.
Objectives and Benefits of the Teaser include:
- Strengthens abdominals and back extensors
- Engages and strengthens the hip flexors
- Stretches the hamstrings and hips
- Increases abdominal strength
- Focuses on and develops balance
- Improves spinal articulation and strength
- Abdominal muscles including Transverse Abdominus, external and internal obliques
- Back extensors
- Hip flexors including the illoposas
- Hip adductors
Tips on the Teaser:
Students often struggle with the Teaser not because of lack of core strength, but because of poor hip strength/flexibility or tightness in the back and hamstrings. As you work up towards the Teaser, the goal is to start with and keep the legs in one position, typically out at a 45 or 60 degree angle, as you sequentially articulate up and down through the spine. Having tightness in the hamstrings or hips makes it hard to maintain the position of the leg. You can work up towards this by keeping the legs in a position you can hold, starting with a slightly bent knee, or having feet against a wall.
Students who struggle with a weak core or back muscles can approach Teaser through a modification. Teaser Prep or One Leg Teaser is an accessible modification to prepare for Teaser. Start with One Leg Teaser as a modification until you feel strong and flexible enough to progress onto Teaser 1.
The Teaser incorporates many components of the mat series, and helps to strengthen many parts of the powerhouse. The Teaser has a few variations and ways to approach it. Different schools of Pilates may teach the Teaser in different ways, with varying modifications and guidelines of