Editing Out Flexion and Extension in Lateral Movements

To maximize the awesome lateral flexion benefits we talked about in the last post, it is really key to isolate lateral flexion.  This means that as we go up and over to create our rainbow or our U-shape, our spines should not make any movement into the sagittal plane.  In other words, we need to edit out all of the flexion and extension of our spine in order to create space in our vertebra and give our bodies the greatest possible range in lateral flexion.

Source: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

To do this, I have forever found this cue to be helpful.  It is one of the earliest cues I can remember from my own instructors: window panes.  Imagine you are sandwiched between two window panes.  One pane lining up with the back of your body and one at the front.  You can only move side to side or up and down.  Any forward or backward movement will push you into the panes.  Imagine squishing your face against the front pane if you move into flexion and smacking your head against the back pane if you create extension through the spine.

This cue can also be helpful for lateral movements without lateral flexion: Star, Sidelift, and keeping the torso still during Sidelying and Sidekick Series.

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