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Lying Twist

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor and your arms spread.

Make sure that you have positioned your rib cage so that your front ribs are aligned into your body and your mid-back (just above and below your bra-line) is resting on the floor.

2. Shift your hips to your right.

3. Straighten your left leg.

4. Lift your right leg off the floor. Keep your knee bent.

5. Take your right knee in your left hand.

6. Move your leg across your body.

KEEP your right shoulder blade on the floor!

DO NOT back bend as you twist.

Relax and breathe easily in this shape. Can you surrender to the pull of gravity? Can you feel your body heavy on the floor?

7. Optional: Gently lift your head from the floor and turn your head to the right. Place your right ear on the floor. If this is a strain for your neck or inhibits your breathing, return your head to neutral.


Rib Cage + Belly Breathing

This exercise helps you feel and understand how your rib cage should move when you exhale.

KEY POINTS

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor and your mid-back (the area just above and below your bra-line) anchored onto the floor. Relax your butt and belly button. You should NOT grip with your hips or abdomen. You should NOT flatten your lower back against the floor. You should feel your mid-back against the floor. If you need to place a pillow under your head for comfort, please do. Can you keep your bra-line area rooted to the floor throughout the entire exercise?

  2. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your lower ribs. As you inhale, feel how your belly and lower ribs expand into your hands.

  3. As you exhale, feel how your ribs retract away from your hand. Can you get all the air out of your lungs? Can you feel how your rib cage moves into your body and into the floor as you exhale? Can you emphasize and exaggerate this movement?

Breathe mostly in and out through your nose as you do this exercise.

You can do this exercise with large breaths or with more gentle breaths. Either way, the same pattern remains.

Repeat for 1 - 5 minutes.


Hip Bridge

*SOUND ON FOR VERBAL INSTRUCTION*

KEY POINTS

Place your feet hip width apart with your toes pointing directly forward.

If you have one, place a yoga block between your knees and give it a gentle squeeze with your inner thigh muscles.

Set up with the neutral curves of your spine in tack. This means your mid-back (bra-line area) will be in contact with the ground, your lower back will be slightly arched away from the floor, and your chin and forehead will be level.

Without moving your spine at all, simply engage your butt muscles. DO NOT tuck your tailbone. Do not make a movement yet, just feel your butt engage.

Maintain the neutral curves of your spine as you press your feet into the floor and use your butt to lift your hips to the sky.

Consciously engage your butt muscles and keep pressing your feet into the floor.

As always, keep your face relaxed and breathe easily through your nose.

HOW TO PROGRESS THE HIP BRIDGE

Once you have mastered the Hip Bridge, hold the top position for up to 30 seconds while isometrically contracting your hamstring and butt muscles. Work up to 3 sets of 30 second holds.

Once you have mastered 3 sets of 30 second holds, progress to the Hip Bridge March, Single Foot Hip Bridge, Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge, Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge March, Single Leg Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge.

Can you feel how this exercise informs your Deadlift, Squat and Lunging exercises?


Lying Limb Reach 1

KEY POINTS

Set your rib cage with an exhale. Feel the weight of your mid-back against the floor

If you are holding a yoga block, press strongly into the yoga block with your palms, particularly with the pinky finger edge of your palm. If you do not have a yoga block you can simply mimic this action with an imaginary yoga block.

Keep your ribs down and your back against the floor as you reach your arms overhead.

Pause in the extended position for several breaths.


Bent Over Bench Row

KEY POINTS

Soften your knees slightly.

Find your neutral spine position. Engage your hamstrings, butt and core to support you as needed.

Grip the weight strongly with the pinky-finger edge of your hand.

Originate the movement from your shoulder blade, NOT from your hand.

Pull your shoulder back. Keep pulling it back throughout the entire row.

Allow a small gap between your upper arm and your body, about a 45 degree angle.

Pull the weight toward your hip as opposed to your chest.

Stop your elbow movement when your elbow just passes your body. Pause in this position and continue to pull your shoulder back.

Feel the muscles of your upper back working.

As with all shoulder exercises: Keep your shoulder blade on your rib cage (scapular posterior tilt) and keep the ball with the socket.


Split Squat

KEY POINTS

  • You can use a bench, step, box or do this from the floor.

  • Take a short lunge stance. Your feet will be closer together than a traditional lunge.

  • Allow your torso to lean forward slightly as you sit down.

  • Sit down as far as you can while maintaining good technique.

  • Do not allow your front knee to move forward beyond your toes.

  • Press strongly into your front leg as you come up to stand. 70-80% of your effort should come from your front leg.

  • Repeat all repetitions on one leg before going to the other side.

  • Your front knee should remain steadily pointing forward. Do not allow it to wiggle or drift in toward the midline. If you cannot keep your front knee stable, it might mean that you need additional lateral hip stability or greater foot and ankle alignment and stability. See the Pelvic Teeter Totter, Clamshell and Kidney Bean Feet exercises to help with this.

  • You can do this movement from the floor, a bench, with weight, or with a combination of these variables. Choose a setup that allows you to perform 5 - 10 repetitions each leg. You should feel challenged, but still be able to maintain good technique.

  • If you need balance assistance, perform this exercise next to a wall where you can hold on until you get stronger

 

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

The Split Squat is one of the first single leg variations that I teach when working with a new client. This is a great exercise for learning how to balance and generate power in a split stance. I find that most people can easily do a variation of this exercise, even those with knee joint pain and tissue damage.

Do NOT keep your torso perpendicular to the floor as in the picture below. A vertical torso is not optimal.

Remember to sink your body down toward the floor, NOT forward. Do you see how my knee is moving way out in front of my toes in the picture below? In this instance my momentum is going forward and not down. You want to move your body down.

Do NOT allow the knee of your front leg collapse toward the midline as in the picture below.

To return to the starting position, push strongly down into your front foot. Remember to keep 70% of your weight in your front leg. This is mostly a single leg exercise. The back leg is acts more like a kickstand helping with balance than a participant in force production.

Once you master this movement, try the Alternating Reverse Lunge.

Enjoy and keep moving!

Take another look at the split squat: