Today we’re channeling the alphabet. Specifically, the letter P.
A lot of Neck Pull can be likened to the Rollup, in fact, you can use the arm positioning of Neck Pull to progress the Rollup for advanced clients (hands cradling the head instead of straight overhead, increases the difficulty significantly). What really differentiates the Neck Pull for me is the goal of incredible spinal flexion at the top of the movement.
The final shape of Neck Pull is something like the letter “P” lying on its side. – head kissing the knees, if possible. This is clearly a stretch (pun intended) for hamstring length, but more importantly, creating a smoothly rounded spine from tail to crown of head is an immense challenge for even the most flexible of spines. Often clients feel that this is a completely unattainable exercise – giving them the visual of what the goal looks like (the letter “P”) helps to ground their efforts in something solid and relatable.
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It’s Day 10 of March MATness and I couldn’t resist the temptation of upping the ante a bit. Today’s exercise is the Corkscrew and I decided to try it out on the foam roller (check out my attempt on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio). Here’s what I found – It’s doable. It’s really challenging. And it is all about staying centered.
Our cue for today is “walk the line.” Being successful with this challenge is all about the centerline: taking your time to set up exacly on the centerline, establishing balance on the centerline once the feet have been released from the floor, hugging the legs to the centerline as they move up and overhead, pulling the shoulder blades to the centerline as the arms and lats and serratus engage to provide added stability, maintaining hips over the centerline as the feet shift over one shoulder and finding that centerline again as the spine drips its way back onto the roller bit by bit, and so on. If you lose touch with your center, you slip off the foam roller. (Luckily it’s not far to fall!)
I definitely recommend trying this out before putting it to clients. It was really tough, but felt so great to accomplish. Clients who are advanced could certainly give this a go, but have them practice the Rollover on the foam roller quite a bit first. It helps establish the centerline more firmly.
A note about range, you’ll notice if you check out the video of me do this that there is greatly reduced range on both the swivel from shoulder to shoulder and the circling the feet away and back up at the bottom of the movement. I would suggest this reduced range for your first attempts. I’ll keep working at it and hopefully get my own range to broaden a bit!
Find yours truly attempting this feat on Instagram (@worldisyourstudio) and taking on the March MATness challenge day by day.
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!