Library Of Movement Cues


As Pilates and movement teachers, we all have instructional cues - words or phrases we use to help our clients “get” it. I’ve often been told my cues are very “colorful” and that I should share them with others ... So I’ve assembled this Library of Cues that I have developed over the years that almost always get results. I call them “Maria’s Funny Names for Things.”

Some of them are unique to me (at least I think I made them up!) Some of them are borrowed from other instructors (I’ve credited the ones I can remember.) That’s why I’m calling this a library - feel free to borrow all you like, or email me at with your best cues to add to the library.

Watch these in action on our YouTube Page:  Click Here 

How Many Do You Recognize?

Pigeon Head = When you thrust your head forward like a pigeon or chicken. Often seen on planks and pushups.

Ponytail Hold = To find a light and easy cervical position, imagine someone lifting you up by your high ponytail.

Elevator = Imagine your pelvis is a 2-story building with an elevator shaft in the center. To engage pelvic floor, close the elevator doors and lift to the second floor. Drop the elevator to the 1st floor and open the doors (to release the pelvic floor).

Piece of Pie = For bridges, hover the sacrum over a piece of pie with a dollop of whip cream.

Fembots = Remember the robots from the Austin Powers Movies, in silver bikinis, who shot guns from their nipples?  I use this image to lift the spine and keep the torso facing out (like during twist).

Barber Pole = Imagine your spine is spiraling up like a never-ending stripe on the old-fashioned barber pole.

Sit on a Dime = to ground the sitz bones, imagine a dime under each one and press gently into each dime. Often used when weight becomes uneven to manage equal pressure in each dime (like during twisting).

Curtain Rod = Remember the old Carol Burnett show where she spoofed “Gone with the Wind” and had the curtains - rod and all made into a dress? I use this image to keep the collarbone open and shoulders square.

Rotisserie Chicken = I credit this one to Kathy Grant and it’s been around a long time. For rotation, imagining you are skewered on a spit and you can’t move off your axis.

Stack of Pancakes = When stacking the spine, imagine each vertebrae is a pancake... When you get to the top add a pad of butter. Then slide the butter off your head and peel the pancakes off the stack to roll down.

Hundred Dollar Bill = When you need to keep something closed like heels or knees, Imagine holding a hundred dollar bill (or stack of bills) & if you drop it it’s mine (It’s amazing how well this one works - as soon as I use it, I never get any money!)

Shot of Tequila / Glass of Champagne = These are good images for stabilization of hips, shoulders, etc. (For example, on side-lying I put tequila on the shoulders, and champagne on the hips).

And last but not least, A “Big Whammy” = when several concepts are put together for an exercise (like trying to blowsuck, kumquat, elevator, and stack of pancakes while rolling up and pressing the bar.) 

Got a good cue to add to the library?  
Email me at mailto:mandresino@yahoo.comshapeimage_2_link_0

Installment 2 (Below):               Want More?  Click Here for Installment 1: