Today’s cue is “wring it out.” Spine twist is exactly that – a wringing out of the torso, led by the spine. But how do we get that extra effort out of clients – how do we get them to twist as far as they can?
Try prompting clients to wring out their trunk like they would a wet towel. This visual gives clients an idea of how vigorous the exercise should feel – how much work it actually, is when done properly.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not losing your marbles. We included this imagery cue along with a breathing cue in an August 2017 post. Check it out to help your clients really nail Spine Twist.
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Here’s a brain teaser for Day 11: today’s exercise is the Saw, yesterday’s exercise was the Corkscrew and today’s cue is a corkscrew!
Picture a classic T-pull style corkscrew that never actually helps you get the cork out without an inordinate struggle. What it does do is spiral around with it’s center with the T of the handle outstretched.
This cue addresses only the first movement piece of the Saw. As you begin to twist the body around the spine, imagine that the trunk of the body is the corkscrew and the arms are the T-pull. Maintain the spine perpendicular to the floor and the arms parallel to the floor until the twist is complete. Only then should the body fold and the arms reach towards the outside of the foot.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day. And sign up for our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!
One week of March MATness is complete! Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you’re enjoying the daily dose of Cueing Theory.
Our cue today is “like a wave.” We want our spine stretch to be like a wave in two major ways. First, the curve of the belly. The abdominal wall stretches the spine back, up and over, just like the curl of the wave. Second, the energy. A wave has a never-ending loop of energy, just like our spine stretch when we flow from the top to the bottom of the movement.
Short and sweet for today! Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) to find yours truly taking on the March MATness challenge day by day. And sign up for our Cuesletter to get these cues sent directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about them!
So, rotation. Exercises that utilize rotation in a seated position – Mermaid, Spine Twist, Saw – are great exercises to engage not only the waistline, but the entire oblique chain while at the same time increasing spinal mobility and improving posture. With such desirable and beneficial potential, it’d be nice to know we’re getting the most out of it.
This breathing cue is the KEY to getting maximum rotation. Begin by having the client take a deep inhale in the starting position. As they move into the rotation, the client should exhale fully, ending the breath as they reach the furthest rotated state they can manage. Ask him or her to take a very shallow inhale here and forcefully exhale the air – expelling every last teensy bit of air from the lungs. This will create the space for just a smidge more rotation. Then inhale to unwind back to the starting position.
Once the client has nailed the breathing, reinforce the movement with this visual: imagine that the spine, and the entire trunk, is a wet towel. Now, as you rotate, you are wringing out the last bit of water from the towel. That last breath out is the last drop of water from the towel.
Mermaid is one of those go-to exercises we tuck into an hour-long class to transition from one section of work to another and to give students a refresh and a reset. And it feels SO good!
But it is so much more than a transitional stretch. Lateral flexion is only addressed in a handful of Pilates exercises, mermaid is one of them. But, it can also be a struggle to get right and to maximize the benefits. Done correctly, Mermaid has few parallels in lateral flexion category.
Maximum lateral flexion is achieved when the client can maintain length and height through the lumbar spine and isolate flexion to the thoracic vertebra. The hard part of that equation is maintaining the height through the lumbar. The easy way to perform Mermaid is to hinge and lean at the waist to achieve that lateral movement. A cue to isolate the movement to the thoracic is essential to maximize the benefits on offer with Mermaid.
Try this: imagine your body is a teapot, chock-full of hot, steeped tea. As you tip to the side, you must imagine the spout of the pot (your grounded hand) must clear the edge of the tea cup in order to pour the tea without spilling.
Creating an image of height that must be achieved (the edge of the cup) as the client moves laterally, sets the client up for success and maximum benefits from Mermaid.