Class #3353

Day 8: Side Body

30 min - Class


Welcome to Day 8! Today Sarah focuses on the side body, from your pinky toe all the way up to your pinky finger. She includes creative exercises that will lengthen your waist and challenge your obliques. She also adds a lot of unilateral work so you can work on the imbalances in your body.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box), Magic Circle

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Let's explore the side body today. The side body includes everything from the pinky toe all the way up to the pinky finger. We'll be using the magic circle for one exercise. Certainly if you have a band or want to use your hands, you can modify and use that. And I've got one spring and a blue spring. Let's get started with your feet right underneath your hips.

Take a big reach up, feel your side body, feel your pinky toes grounded to the earth, but reaching up through your pinky fingers, maybe spreading all five fingers perhaps. And then take your arms down and roll yourself down one vertebra at a time. Catch the edge of the reformer and reach outward. So here I'm endeavoring to find a flat back. Okay, but explore a little bit. What do you need to do here?

Tip Your tailbone back and up and stretch through the underarms as you actually exhale around all the way in, all the way to the stopper. And as you come up, lift your ribs away from your pelvis and feel your side body. Take a connection with your hands and reach to one side and then connecting. Still reached to the other side. Stretching, release the arms and roll down. Again, finding the edge of the reformer, stretching out to a flat back, maybe even an extended upper back round and roll all the way in. Let your upper back and your lower back round and reaching forward again to a flat back waiting both arms equally and round all the way in.

Just one more time here. And then I'd like to change just a little bit here. So reaching out to a flat back, take both hands over to one side. So I'm reaching over to my left and now I'm going to wait with my right arm and stretch even further with the right arm. Feeling my head resting between my two um, biceps and then round in. So just keeping the head sort of resting between the biceps and then reach out, tipping the tailbone back and up and round in, getting a nice stretch through the waist, all the way up through the shoulder and reach out.

And just one more time. Rounding in and reaching out. Gently walk your hands back to center and then round and roll all the way in. Come to a standing position, lifting your heart class at the hands, reached to one side and reach to the other side. Stretching side body. Take the arms down, roll forward again, catch the edge of the reformer and reach out this time. Move your hands to your right, but wait your left hand a little bit more and stretch even further and then round and roll in and reach forward and round and roll in.

And if you find the bar getting in your way, certainly you can put the bar down. It acts as a guide for me around doing the way in and reaching forward. Take hands on shoulder with again and then round and roll all the way in. Just a little variation here so you can feel rotation. So just take your feet together and turn both toes to your left. Okay, I'm going to roll down.

So I'm on the diagonal here with my feet and I'm keeping my shoulders square already. I feel my abdominal is working in a different way, my obliques. And here as you reach both arms out, tipping the tailbone back and up and rounding, just sense if you feel your core in a different way. So I'm going to do that three times and round in and reach out and round all the way in. Try to keep that rotation from your pelvis with your shoulders square and come on up to standing. Change sides. So both toes on the diagonal to the right. Good.

Sometimes I have to think about which arm I'm actually using or which leg I'm actually using so I can differentiate between my right and left reaching forward, tipping the tailbone back up, back in, up and rounding in and reaching forward and rounding in the two sides feel very different to me and I invite you to explore how things feel different. Come up all the way in and round yourself up. Let's set up for our footwork. So I like three reds and a blue. You're welcome to use a different spring load if you'd prefer. Three reds in a blue. Whoops. Just wiggled my reformer away a little bit and then lie down.

So once you've settled onto the reformer, try to feel that you're even your two heels on the bar. Make sure your circle is available. We'll use it in a few moments. Exhale to press out and inhale to come in and just feel nice and open through your heart kind of quickly through the foot work today. Not because I want to rush you, but because I want this footwork to really just be an extension of the warmup and we've been doing plenty of footwork that you should be pretty comfortable with the positions I work with. Just do one more here. Breathing and moving. Gently. Place your toes on the bar.

Feel the balls of the feet weighted and exhale to press out. So again, here at the moment I've got myself in a slightly lifted heel or a high lifted heel, but I stay still. You're welcome to explore different positions. You could do that for starch. You could change your foot position if you wanted to. Just go back to day one and kind of think, oh, I really liked that position. Change it up. I invite you to explore one more time.

Slide your heels together for your small v. Squeeze those inner thighs active and out. We go breathing and moving. Check in. Make sure you're not pushing up with your shoulders. Instead, the shoulder rests are gently, softly pushing your shoulders down and you're lengthening through the crown of the head void of tension in your neck. Come in, heels are wide on the bar and exhale to press out here. You can work with flexed ankles or you can adjust the foot position. Moving a little bit to the arch if you want, if that feels nice in your hips.

I often find even when I set the intention to go a little faster, I have to slow down just a little bit in this position to get the right feeling and to balance out my two legs. Good. Come back in. Let's put the feet close together. Prs both legs out and just take a few prances here. Using both feet. Equally. Feeling that for starch and the stretched position, working on straightening your knees. That's, I say that for myself cause I forget to straighten my knee when I'm stretching it sometimes. And then let's go one more and then hold for a couple of breaths. So adjust your foot to a position where you can enjoy whatever foot pleasure you may need.

I love the foot bar on my foot to provoke a different sensation and then change to the other side. Kind of short and sweet here. Breathing in and breathing habits will feed on the bar. Travel in. And then I've got my circle right here. I'd like to keep the same spring. I invite you to try to lift your right foot up for me and place the circle over the ball of the foot and then pull that foot into a flexed position using your circle, drawing your shoulders away from your ears. I'm using the circle to make my foot indoors, to pull my foot into Dorsey's flection, but the other heel on the bar, I'm gonna bend the knee just a bit. And as I pressed a straight, I want to feel the stretch through the back of my leg. That feels just divine.

Bend the knee and feel the stretch pelvis is neutral. Just one more time. I'm really pushing up through my heel to create more. Stretch through the back of my leg. Now press the leg out to straight the left leg, so that's a lot of spring. If that's a lot for you, go in and change. Take your leg, you're right like the one that's up in the air across the body and keep it there as you come in and the inner thighs should touch when you come in and exhale to press out and gently come in and exhale to press out and gently come in.

Really working on maximizing that stretch through the side of your leg. That straight leg is working quite power, eyes, stretching quite a lot while the other leg is working quite a lot. Just one more please. So just a few repetitions and a lot of focus on the stretch there. Put your right heel on the bar, lift your other foot up and sit with it for a few. Here. Again, you want to use your arms to pull the Sh uh, the foot into Dorsi flection while straightening the leg with a nice neutral pelvis.

Gently bend your knee and then pressing up through the heel using your hands and upper body to Kinda pull on that circle and create more flection from your foot. And again, this time keep the legs straight, that flexed foot, press out. Again, it's a lot of spraying. I'm doing that on purpose. Take the leg across the body. So the one that's stretching in this side is so much more intense for me. And we gently come in and you'll feel your inner thighs touching or the top of the back of one five to the top of the other, whatever you feel.

You just want to kind of create that same arrangement each time and breathing and moving, trying to create a little bit more sensation of stretch with each repetition. Sense your side body. We have two more here. Yeah. And just one more time please.

[inaudible] come all the way in and gently release that. We'll put the circle down by your side there and gently roll off the reformer and come up to sitting. All right, let's adjust the spring now to just one blue spring and we'll move around and explore our reverse knee stretch. So on your knees facing the other end with your hands underneath your shoulders. Take a few moments and press down through the tops of the feet and try to unweight the knees a little bit round through your low back. Feel that energy and the next field to pull the legs in and out.

I'm going to move my legs back a little so I have more range. Focus on keeping your spine inflection. So roundness in your low back. And then remember we're breathing and moving. See if you can feel the tops of the feet and the shins really well grounded. And one more hand, gently rest that.

So bring both hands around to one side. So I happened to be moving to my right side. I'm gonna bring my hands in just a little bit and then we're going to pull the carriage forward round through the spine. Feel your left arm as your weighted arm and the opposite leg. And that's where we're going to pull in and out.

Rounding still through the low back. If you choose to lift your other leg up, go for it. And just kind of rested. So I'm moving really just with one leg and I'm holding on really with just one arm, trying to really square my shoulders a little more. Breathing in and breathing out. Just one more here please. And gently bring the carriage to rest. Moving to the second side. So I'm going to support primarily now with my right arm and my left leg.

Flex the spine, pull the carriage forward and feel that rotation and then pulling in and out. Now if you feel up for it, just try lifting that other leg up and you're just moving only with the left leg, but focusing on keeping the rotation with all of your abdominal muscles here. Huh? And just a couple more here and one more time please. And gently come to rest. So bringing the carriage to rest first, walk out second until you can hold onto the risers here.

I like to bring my elbows right to the shoulder rest and just kinda settle in a little bit. Take your elbows wide, sit down on your heels and stretch your arms to straight. Feel that stretch through your whole side body all the way down through your back for me. Exhale to bend and reach. So just a handful here. I love doing these pull-ups, checking in to make sure that you are in fact using both arms equally. And just one more. I lied one more now. Then we're going to bring both hands around to one side.

So my right hand is now the cross arm is the one I'm holding with my head. Once again, it's resting between my two arms and I'm getting a wonderful side body stretch. And then I'm in a bend again pulling forward elbows wide and reach into the stretch. I'm pulling with the cross arm a little more so it's my right arm, but my left arm is available for me. Just three of those. Okay. And one more. So hold this forward position to make the change.

Bring both hands over to the other side. My left arm is now my main working arm. Stretching the side body there. I'm not worrying too much about my shoulders. I'm letting the stretch happen through my underarm. And then bend here. The shoulders draw down and again, and here the shoulders draw down. There is a lot of work happening there.

And one more time here. The shoulders draw down. Hold this position. Two arms in contact. Stretch out to straight. Let your head relax. Perhaps sway your hips side to side. If you feel comfortable. Dismounting here, place one down, one hand down and walk yourself back. If it feels a little vulnerable, just pull yourself forward first and then walk yourself back without your arms completely straightening at any point. And then come on up. And we're going to change our springs and move into some hip work.

So a nice red spring for your hip work. Lie down on your back and hear a little creative. I would like you to retrieve both of your straps. Press your legs out to straight. So just one spring here, my strap in my right hand goes on the opposite foot and I'm going to hold this as a safety. Okay. So the first thing I want to do is find the place where I feel like I'm in a good stretch position, but that I can sustain it. And then I'm going to send my other leg underneath the bar. Now take that leg across the body, the one that's up in the air and feel a little stretch in your outer leg, perhaps a little one. And we're going to pull down just three times.

There's one. So I'm pulling down to meet the other leg and as I realize I have a little more range of motion, I'm letting my strap slip up my hand a little bit and you may find that you have to adjust. Adjust your grip. That is right now stay here. I'm in my high point, whatever that may be. And I'm going to windshield wiper, my leg out to the side and then across the body, big stretch for the side body and then across. So keeping the pelvis as still as possible. And here and one more time. And then from here we move into some circles. Now if you find you need assistance, just use your other arm to help you out.

Circle down all the way across and a round and circle down all the way across and around and up. And one more. And boy that feels so beautiful in my hips. It's so nice to have that bigger range of motion reverse. So we take the leg across the body, down around to the side and then find your top point and again across the body down and find your high point. And just one more time, little freedom here with the hit. And just remember you have the opposite strap on this foot, so you have to make that change accordingly. Find the foot bar, remove the strap, put the other one on the other foot, hold in the position that suits you, find a stretch for your other leg and hang out for a moment.

Yeah, you can always use your foot on the bar if needed here. Now see if you can find the place where you're happy with the stretch across the body. And here we go. Just three times down, exploring that sort of side stretch or the stretch across the outside of your leg. I feel it all the way up into my hip. Quite wonderful. And so this windshield wiper sensation here. So you take the leg without moving the carriage out to the side and then across the body. Now some of you may feel like you have more range of motion and I invite you to explore it, but try really hard not to let your pelvis rotate here to keep the pelvis still right on this next one, we move into circles.

So go out to the side first and then circle down around and all the way across the body, enjoying that wonderful rotation all the way down across the body. For some reason, my strap is getting in the way on the side. Let's just organize that. Sara, here we go. All right, let's reverse now. Okay, so the leg goes across the body. Receive that stretch and then pull down and around and again, breathing and moving.

And one more please. Wonderful. So find yourself in that high position. First Bend your knee. Take the strap off with your foot on the bar, gently bring the carriage in and come up to a sitting position. All right, we're going to keep the spring the same. So one red spring. If you feel more comfortable with a green spring, you certainly could make that adjustment. Stepping up for an elephant.

But here can you take your fingers, all your hands, all the way together like we did earlier and sort of rest your head between your biceps and play with this idea of, you know, bend your knees as much as you need to in order to flatten out your back as best as possible and really feel this stretch through your underarms. Straighten your legs if you're able to and out you go. Inhale and exhale or breathe when it makes sense. So certainly if you wanted to keep your knees bent or straight or whatever, it'd be fine with me. Just explore this different hand position and see how your side body feels.

Shoulders and waist and all that. One more time and hold here. So I'm going to remove my right hand and then I rotate underneath my other arm. And find a place for my pinky finger to rest on the frame. Now if you don't have a frame to rest your, if to work a little harder, but if you can wedge it there and rest and you've got a little bit of support, this is going to get a better grip with my hand and out we go out and in. So now certainly you could take that hand away for challenge or you can keep it down. It's up to you.

But see if you can rotate just a little more and feel what you feel throughout your side body. Okay. And then come around both hands on the bar again and rotate to the other sides to see if you can feel that same connection on your other pinky finger. Yeah, and out you go can float the arm if that suits you, but you can keep it down if you want to. For me, it gives me a little bit more sensation when I put my hand down.

So that allows me to rotate just a little bit deeper and I really like that. One more time. Okay. Both hands on the bar. Go ahead and bend your knees and come on down.

So now here will be a little bit creative for our stretch. Okay. So I'd like you to take your underside leg underneath you, um, to the headrest and you can use your hand on the edge of the reformer and your foot to try to get this sensation of stretching through your side body. Now anyone who's more con not so comfortable with what I'm going to ask you to do, you could just stay here and explore the idea of stretching again, the side body all the way up through the waist here. And I find this to be really quite interesting. So I'm going to put my, my forearm on the bar. So now you just have to make sure you might need to use your fingers a little bit to feel supported here because I don't want you to feel like you're going to slip off and now pull yourself all the way up and forward with your heart using this hand to kind of hold my leg in and I'm looking for this sensation of stretch through my side body, through my waist and through my hip.

Now push down and out a little bit. Now in that position, roll onto the side of your leg a little bit better and see what you. By anchoring down through the flesh there, I am able to create a more powerful anchor points through my leg. Now when I pull in, I'm stretching truly my side body and lifting up maybe to the stop or maybe not. It feels wonderful and then reach out again. I'm not looking for the most pretty thing in the world, but perhaps perhaps it looks pretty, it feels good.

How'd I have to say and just one more there. I've found over the years that my tightness and my side body has really inhibited a lot of the more advanced moves that I'm wishing to be able to do. And this is helping me. So second side, take your leg that's underneath and put it straight out. Use your hand to help support. Take your other leg across and just kind of explore what does this feel like right now? Option one, you can just kind of hang here and you don't even have to put your your arm up on the bar if you're not quite sure about that.

But if you feel up for the challenge, then just notice that really the easier position to be in is when you're a little bit out. So when I, when I press out a little bit, I can roll around and find that spot. That spot for me is where I anchor down through the side of my, my leg here in order to then feel more sensation up through my waist and, and whatnot and, and my, my whole upper body. And that's where I found over the years that I'm actually pretty little tighter than I'd like to be at time. So as I come up, I'm really lifting out of my hip in many ways and trying to receive this wonderful side body stretch. And this is a really important piece for things like the twist and various different sideman exercises. You need more flexibility in order to be able to achieve them.

And just one more here. [inaudible] all the way up. Big Stretch. That feels wonderful. Ooh, try the leg in and let's move to just a blue spring and let's come up right to the middle of the reformer on your knees. Okay. Reach around and hold the strap. That's forward. Option one. You could just sit down like this and work this series like this.

But option two, I'd like you to really stay upright and feel the sensation of pressing the pelvis forward, but squeezing the inner thighs active. And we're just going to start here with this cross pull exercise, reaching the arm out to straight and then gently come in and across. Yeah. So reaching the arm out to straight and in an across. Now if you find the tension too great, just go to a yellow spring or move a little closer to the shoulder rest. It'll be a little less intense and one more like that.

And now you're going to keep your arms straight and reach it up, up, look down. So I've come into a side bend position. I'm going to bend my elbow and that's where I'll hook my hand better and turn around. So now I'm in that side body stretch and working through that tricep. Hopefully we'll be manageable if it's not like near spring or just practice the side bend here because half of the success for this exercise, in my opinion and half of what we need is being able to be in this position where the pelvis is forward and that we're in a big lateral flection and stretching the side body. So here, allow the arms to come down in front of your body, have a gentle seat and we'll change sides. Okay, so again, right about the middle of three former option one, feel free to sit down on your feet. Option two are going to come up. Okay, hold the strap that's forward and start with your body aligned. So inner thighs are active lifting up through the crown of the head.

We pull the arm out to the side and we come across the body and again, pay attention to your other arm and make sure it's not helping you too much soft through the arm and pull out to the side. And certainly if you find this is not challenging enough, you could go to a full spring. I find a blue to be quite a challenge on the next one we add on so we can pull out to the side here. Take the arm up, up, up, up, up, side bend, feel that reaching action right here. Bend your elbow. And then here you can just flip your hand around. Oftentimes people kind of take their hand out and Redo it.

You can just flip it around and per breath. Now feel this idea of really pressing your pelvis forward, staying quite engaged in your side, body breathing. And one more here please. So bend your elbow, take your arm forward, have a gentle seat and we put the strap away. So here let's come to a standing position and we're going to play with something that's kind of creative. The blue spring I think is, is a good choice.

It's hard if you want a little more support, give yourself a red spring. Okay, I'm gonna put one hand on my shoulder rest and the other hand just outside of it looks a little like the twist for those of you that have done it, but I'm not going to do the twist. My standing leg is going to be my a outside leg and so I'm gonna move it so that it's kind of right in front of where my, my foot bar hinges somewhere around that area. So it's actually in line with my other hand. That's good. And then lift the other leg up and put it on top. So I'm just putting my foot right on top of my other foot. So it's, I'm only standing on one leg and now I want you to lean into your left arm.

The one that's on the shoulder rest. Yeah. Okay. Now as I lean into it, I'm gonna reach out, rotating my spine around a little bit. My pelvis comes around and as I come in, my pelvis comes back square. As I reach out, I'm leaning into my left arm. My pelvis comes around quite a lot of oblique work and I scoot back around. Now if a blue spring is too light, goat or red, reach around and come back in. Okay?

And one more time. We reach around and come back and stand on your two feet, recovered to a standing position and we try the second side. So here we go. One Hand on the shoulder, rest one hand outside of it. Here you can see my foot a little better. I'm right up against 'em. They're right near where the uh, foot bar would be. My other foot, I'm just stepping on top of my foot somewhere. Whatever makes sense. There's not really a right or wrong here.

And then if you need to adjust this way, it's going to be a little easier. This way is going to be harder. Just FYI. Lean into now your right arm here. So that's my standing arm. My other hand is just kind of there. And as I go out, I'm going to swivel my pelvis around a little bit. So I'm in rotation using my obliques quite a bit there. And I'm going to Uncivil, so I'm powering this not by leaning into the spring.

If you're doing this with a lot of spring, try it with less spring, with the blue spring and work on controlling it, reaching around with the pelvis, feeling those obliques, driving this movement. Certainly there is support and my right arm is working quite a bit. I'm even keeping my elbow just a little bent to make sure that I'm really using it. And last one, beautiful. And so for our final exercise, I'm just going to add a spring to stabilize the carriage and I'm going to come around so I can face you and we're going to close it up here. So take one leg forward. I'm starting with my right, my back knee is bent and just kind of relaxed. Yeah. So I'm just kind of hanging out with my foot back there.

And I'm going to relax over my front leg for a wonderful little pigeon stretch here. Dang. Pressing down through your knee in your mind. So I'm using my hand to push down through my knee and my foot. Pull forward with your heart and then press through the leg and open looking up.

Oh, and then round forward. Wow. Breathing in and breathing out. Push down through the knee and the foot. You can flex the ankle point, explore and then lift and open the heart. Ah, and one more time.

[inaudible] this time when you opened the heart, keep the leg down. Just push down through your back toes. Oh, let's change sides. Okay, so I just have this leg position in the back so that this front leg can be a little bit softer here. A little, little easier for me to be here than if I were like doing a pigeon on the floor and I'm looking to kind of square my pelvis a little bit with the reformer. So my back leg is just wherever it needs to be to do that and just explore the difference between the two sides. This is certainly my tighter hip. That's okay. I'm going to spend maybe a moment longer here perhaps, and then kind of roll forward pushing down through the foot and the knee. When I lean onto my front leg, I don't have to use my back leg, but when I lift up to extension, I have to push down through the top of my or not the top of my foot with the pad of my foot to feel a little more supported here and round forward and the lift up.

Yeah. And round forward in this time, just exploring that lift without using your hands. See if you can feel that support from your leg. Really pushing down, grounding down open. Push into your back foot. Ah, bring yourself to both of your feet. One big breath up. Oh, shake it out a little, and I thank you for playing.

Pilates Play: A 10-Day Challenge of Fun: with Sarah Bertucelli


2 people like this.
Loved the pigeon at the end and the oblique twist. Great way to modify! Two more to go! I had a cancellation today so was happy to get this in
I love your commitment Connie !
2 people like this.
Great variation of Snake/Twist! I’ve always avoided the classical version on the Reformer because it was so painful on my wrists. Now I have a safer way to do that. Thanks for that.
1 person likes this.
I also loved the pigeon at the end, - what a great idea!! feeling wonderfully uplifted I dance in my day !! :))
1 person likes this.
Hi Sarah Bertucelli I am really enjoying all the lovely variations and the progressions you bring to these 30min workouts. Great inspiration, thank you!
1 person likes this.
Im back! Great class
1 person likes this.
Love side body exercises. I've never been able to do the twist with the snake, so this was a great way to work on it. Thank you:)
keep it up!
Sarah, the classes just keep getting better & better. I love the variation of pigeon on the reformer. I have such tight hips. This is wonderful. Thank you.
1 person likes this.
This was most challenging one for me. Loved it and thanks Sarah. 🙏🏻
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