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The Pilates Side Bend
Here we will look at the Pilates Side Bend, from the FFI modified level, to the advanced original movement. Some of the benefits are:
- Strengthen the core, obliques and lateral chain
- Mobility for the obliques and lateral chain
- Strengthen and mobilise the shoulder joints
To set up, lie on your left side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Your elbow, tail bone and soles of your feet should be in a straight line, parallel with the edge of your mat. Avoid collapsing the left arm into the rib cage. Keep the arm pit open.
Centre yourself and take an inhale. As you exhale lift your hips up to the ceiling in a vertical path. Visualise a hook in the outer hip and a string attached pulling you up to the ceiling. Lower yourself back down, just kissing the mat with your hips and repeat. As you lift up off the mat, let the top arm hang in front of your waist and abdominals.
Perform this for up to 10 cycles, then repeat the same on the opposite side.
To progress, repeat the same sequence, centre yourself, inhale to prepare and exhale to float up off the floor.
As you float your hips off the floor, bring your top arm up and over your head. Bring your biceps as close to your ear as possible. Try to keep your arm long. You should feel a stretch into your Lats. As your hips come down to the mat, bring your arm back down to the side of your upper leg. Repeat for quality cycles, then perform the same techniques on the opposite side of your body.
To advance to the full Pilates side bend, take up the position below. To modify this movement bend both knees, but keep them in the same position
Inhale to prepare, centre yourself and as you exhale, float your hips off the mat, vertically to the sky. You will be balancing on one hand and your feet. Bring the free arm up and over your head. Keep the top arm nearly straight and bring it as close to your ear as possible.
Inhale to return to the mat, then repeat for quality cycles. Repeat the same technique and cycles on the opposite of your body.
We will continue with a progression of this movement in the next article.