This Month we are focusing on a staple Quinn Pilates move, every class we do this move and I want us to really focus on getting this right as its a great move to practice at home, when you just need a good old stretch. Not only is it a spine stretch but it is also a hamstring and shoulder stretch. If you are looking for one thing to do every day this little sequence is the one.
I like to do this after my morning shower when my muscles are nice and warm. My first couple of roll downs I just take them easy, not worrying too much about sticking the bum out or how much I bend my legs. I just roll down and up slowly getting the body ready for the move, which is what we will do in class (minus the hot shower part!)
Feet Hip distance apart, toes pointing forward, softness in the knees, neutral spine (hips pointing forward) ,shoulders back and down and a piece of string coming out of the crown of the head pulling you up towards the ceiling lengthen the spine, then slightly tuck the chin and of course switch on that CORE! (Pubic bone to navel, navel to spine). This position in itself is hard work remember, we are using alot of muscles in the body to be in this position.
Inhale through the nose to prepare
Through the mouth, tuck the chin and start rolling the body down. Try and keep the neck and the arms relaxed. Visualise the spine, as we are trying to use each and every vertebrae. Roll downs are a great mobilty movement, allowing use to mobilise and stretch out the spine.
Practicing against a wall, is really helpful tool as it will show if you are sticking that bum out, just be careful that you don't bump the wall and topple forward. It's better to start further away and if you dont hit the wall, step closer each time. The more you do this the warmer the muscles will get and the more you will be able to stretch.
If you need to stop and take another inhale on the way down do so. Remember to keep a softness in the knees and don't lock out those joints. If you have hyperextension of the joints it is vital that you keep a softness in your knees. Just roll down as far as you can, there is no point bending the knees to reach the floor as you will never stretch out those hamstrings, just go as far as you can that you feel a stretch and the hold it, breath while you are there and as you exhale the body will relax and along with gravity will allow you to stretch more.
Remember to Breath at the bottom.
The goal is to get the hips, knees and heels all in alignment.
Inhale to prepare.
Walk the hands forward in to a push up/plank up position
Notice the hands are slighlty back, this is not a comfortable positon on the wrists so don't stay there too long. It just allows us to be in the correct position for Triangle without having to move the hands.
Inhale to Prepare.
Lift the bum straight up towards the ceiling and bring the chest in towards the legs. Remember do not move those HANDS!
If the hamstrings are tight, leave a bend in the knees. We want to take the weight off the hands. Look at the angle on my wrists, there is no pressure on the wrists. The goal is to reduce the creases of skin on those wrists, the more we increase the angle the less weight and creases, so look down and check those creases.
We are also aiming for a flat back, if the hamstrings are tight this with make us round the back to try and compensate for those tight legs. So bend those knees, and lengthen out that spine, feel that lovely stretch from the hands, through the arms, shoulders,back and legs. At first this won't feel lovely (remember my meaning of the word lovely is very different to the oxford dictionary meaning) but the more you do this and the more flexibily you get over time the nicer it will become and lovely will infact mean lovely.
Inhale to prepare and Exhale walk the hands back towards the feet.
NOTE - Any wrist issues, come down onto all fours first then walk the hands in, and then uncurl.
Then repeat the process but in reverse.
Inhale to prepare.
Switch on that core, and slowly and controlled un curl. Vertebrae by Vertebrae. Some of use with bit of a tilt in the pelvis have to really concentrate and tuck that tail bone under and bring the hips forward slightly so that we are really working that lumbar region and not flattening the back out.
This move should be challenging, no one I know is that flexible that they are not having to work every muscle in their body to not stick the bum out and to not use that core to allow them to uncurl using the whole of the spine.
Here is a video of the roll down into triangle.
Here is a video against a wall, we will be trying this in class too. So get practicing.