Class #4283

Unilateral Load

55 min - Class


Karen Sanzo adds this class focused on unilaterally working the body to Power of Props with Karen. You will discover areas where you are weaker or stronger on one side and restore balance through exercises lying supine all the way to standing using a 3-5 lb Hand Weight. She also suggests rolling up washcloths and placing them under your lower back for feedback in your neutral position as well as a wall if you need help balancing.
What You'll Need: Mat, Hand Weights

About This Video

Dec 16, 2020
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And Lemont in her book, Almost Everything, writes this, love means the care of, the respect for and delight in ourselves and our bodies. Today's class is on unilateral load and what we're going to talk about first is what unilateral load is, and you know, it's put a weight in one hand, put a sandbag on one leg, but it also doesn't have to have a weight. Because this series was called The Power Of Props and we've used some different props, I will of course use some weights today to demonstrate some of the exercises. I also have two little wash cloths here, rolled up, because I'm gonna put these underneath my spine, so that I can give my lower back a little feedback when I'm in the neutral position. I'm gonna call this a prop as well.

I may use the wall for balance in some of my exercises as well and that's a prop as well. So I'm never afraid to use a prop if I have to give myself a feeling of something, where I want to create a successful outcome. I'm never afraid to regress in exercise, I'm never afraid to progress in exercise and sometimes we just need a heavier weight and then sometimes we just need a lighter weight. So to start with, we're just going to do a little warmup because this is a complete session here and I think it's important to just start with a little spinal understanding and then I will talk a little bit more about the forces and the load. So we're gonna round the spine and unround the spine.

So as we do this, you can certainly listen at the same time and we're gonna call this, or this is our sagittal plane. So in our sagittal plane, whether we are on our hands and knees in quadruped or lying on our back, the sagittal plane is the safest place to add unilateral load, it provides the least compression or it is the least amount of compressive forces on the spine. Add some breath, feel your shins down, feel your arms down. We're not overthinking this, we're just moving our spine in extension and in flexion. And then after we do this here, I'm going to then one knee and then I'm gonna look over my shoulder and I'm laterally flexing my spine and this is actually a little unilateral load with the shin kicking out one direction and another.

So just a repeat, sagittal loading, with one leg and one arm is the safest and then lateral flexion is next and then the final load which will be a torsional load in rotation, that's the most dangerous actually that we have to be the most careful of, and I'll demonstrate that when I'm lying on my back here. So now I'm gonna take my towel and I'm gonna take my smallest weight which is my three pound weight, lying on my back. I put the towel underneath my back, just to kinda give me a feedback of where neutral is, just for a second, I'm gonna put this weight on my belly here and just kind of feel my belly draw in without rounding my spine. So we've already done the cat and cow of the exercise, I mean of the spine movement, so now I'm gonna monitor neutral, my feet are pressing down. I'm gonna take the weight in my right arm, keeping the sagittal plane, I'm gonna take the weight over my head on an inhale and exhale, bring it back.

So you're maybe thinking, oh, I could take more weight, I can use a heavier weight and that's fine, but make sure with the lighter weight first, you feel the connection and the relationship of how a unilateral load, forces your body or invites your body if you will, to feel the connection as you just move the arm up and back. Inhale and exhale, so when I inhale and expand the ribs, side to side, front to back, I'm being very mindful that I'm not arching my back and I'm not even gonna demonstrate a poor position here, I think it's too dangerous. If you're a teacher and watching this, you certainly shouldn't be demonstrating poor postures that much anymore. If you're not a teacher and watching this, then you just need to watch and feel okay, because awareness of where your body is and what it's doing, is key to safe spine and safe back. Now, I'm gonna take the weight in my hand and I'm just gonna move it a little bit in a circle.

And as I move it in a circle, this starts a little bit of that torsional challenge. Unilateral load lift the right leg, lower leg. Raise and lower the leg as my arm stays over my head. My arms are straight, challenging the load in the front of my body, switching legs just to create this awareness in the front of my torso, without arching or tucking my bottom. I'm gonna take this weight now and I'm going to side bend my body to the left.

You'll see here that the levelness of my pelvis remains, if I had a stick here, so now I'm gonna take my arm up to the ceiling again, and now I'm laterally flexed, but I'm gonna sagittally move my arm. And now what I'm doing, you know when you're lying down, oh my gosh, she's just making this stuff up. But what I'm doing is, I'm laterally flexing my spine and I'm gonna hold here, I'm gonna get this whole load on this right side of my torso, this is the initiation here of this anti-rotational motion because I'm in side bending and side bending proceeds rotation and then I come up. You're gonna be a little bit surprised that you feel this even with a three pound weight. If you need more weight, or an eight pound, but you don't wanna use so much weight that it wigs out your arm and you bypass the trunk.

Okay, let's do it on the other side, side bend the other side. Now, as we progress in the series, there are other exercises where you will put a heavy weight in your arm and you will do an overhead press or a rear row, but it's all with the understanding of what happened prior to that. Now hold the hand up here, okay. I'm gonna take my leg out of the arm that's lifted, I'm gonna slide it over, so I'm in essence side bending more. Inhale, exhale, bring them both back to center.

Return myself back to center and just pause right there. If I had a sandbag, a small sandbag like a one pound weight, I could of course put it on one leg and do some marching, but again, the key connection is what can I do to maximize this idea of this core control and minimize the compressive forces that are on the spine, all right. So now, I'm gonna take my torso from this flexing challenged posture and I'm gonna take it to the side. So now in the side bridge, right, or the prep for the side plank, my arm is gonna be underneath, my chest is opened. I know it's not Halloween but I needed to wear this shirt today because next weekend, Halloween weekend, I have a different shirt because the course is something different.

I'm not gonna use the weight to start with, but I'm gonna take my torso and lift it up and I'm gonna hold this, pressing down with my bottom leg, because you know, this is a lateral load and I'm holding the lateral load and then I'm lowering down. So, you shouldn't feel compressive forces in your back when you do a side plank okay or a side bridge. So I'm just keeping the level low, we know how to progress this. You can watch the class on all the planks to see how to progress this. But what I'm doing here is I'm just going to get six of these in while we do this.

And then, I want you to pay attention to what's gonna happen under your body, when then you take the load up with the little weight. So now, as I hold the side load and I take this arm out in front of me, now I have a torsional load. So this is why we don't do this in a full side plank because right now, I'm in total control of my pelvis, in total control of my spine, my voice is quivering a little bit and that's okay and then I lower down. Let's do it on the other side. So put the weight down, don't use the weight first.

Build the connection, take time to make that connection okay. So we have time to do that for ourselves, respect for ourselves. Okay, so up, down, six times. Pressing the bottom leg down, as the left arm, underneath the torso, getting this lateral load. (sighing) And now I'm gonna take the weight on this last one, keeping it close to my body first and then if my body can tolerate it, I'm gonna start to take my arm away and I'm gonna hold it.

Now for some reason, this is harder on this side for me, which is fine, I'm okay with it, I am safe with it, I can hold it for about three more seconds, two more and one more and then I'm gonna lower it down. Now if you needed a bigger challenge, you could of course start with the torsional load or anti-rotation or rotation force, all those things are the same, right. And then we can lift up while we hold that load and lower down. Now this is actually a little bit harder and I feel like I'm starting to lose my understanding of what the connection is in my torso, so I'm not gonna do that anymore, but you can review those lateral loads with a weight, okay. Sagittal plane with a unilateral load's safest, then frontal or coronal plane and then torsional plane.

So going now to quadruped. So I like to change the position, so I don't get all the exercise done in necessarily one shape, sometimes people wanna stay in the same position all the time and get everything done. But I like to treat the spine like in a rotisserie method, where I take turns. So first exercise here, we know bird dog, right? We know opposite arm and leg reach.

Sometimes we get a little sloppy, but the whole purpose of this bird dog exercise, is complete core connection while we lift the arm and the leg. So what I like to do, is I like to make a punch with my left arm, into a fist, to engage everything and then take the other, opposite leg out and then I hold that and then I come back down and then I go back up. So when I make a fist, it actually talks to my rotated cuff, we'll talk about that later as well, in a unilateral carry. Switch, so I have no weight right now, but I have load. Now, take the weight in my left hand and now I'm not going to move my leg, I'm just gonna punch my arm.

So my body wants to change but I'm not gonna let it and then I come down. (breathing) Inhale, exhale, get connected. The load itself will challenge your core, your only job is to not move your spine. For some people, they need to kinda connect a little bit deeper into their trunk. For others, they need to have a mirror, which is fine, it's okay to check yourself periodically, but don't become so reliable, okay, on the mirror.

We're gonna do this one more time, hold for eight, seven, six, five, four, squeeze that weight, three, two and one and rest. So that is complete unilateral, it's not arm and leg reach, it's just the arm. Let's switch sides, so you can see that it may or may not feel different. Okay, so I'm gonna punch and hold. So as I hold this arm out, I actually feel a difference.

That this side, my right shoulder blade wants to sag into my low back, but I don't think it is. So I'm gonna try to hold the load for eight seconds, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one and come down. Now I could do it for eight seconds, let's do it again, but take a little breath in between okay, this is sagittal plane, arm directly out in front and punch. Hold, good, now I'm holding my left shoulder blade via my left weight baring into my left wrist but the right unilateral load is challenging my trunk and then I come down and rest. (sighing) Let's rest just a second.

(breathing) Okay, so now we're gonna take this position of quadruped, just give our wrist just a little rest, and we're going to go from the sagittal plane and we're gonna start to make a little diagonal action with the arm, to create a torsional force. Okay, I'm gonna show you first without the weight, just so you understand what it is that I'm doing. So first, my arm will come out in front, just like it did before, then I'm gonna abduct my arm to the side, then I'm gonna lower it down and bring it to the starting shape and then up again. So call it a square, call it a circle, call it a hexagon but just make it be a different position. That's challenging, adjusting the arm by itself right.

So make a fist with that arm out there, connecting through the shins and then abduct out to the side and down. Return to starting, lift up, so I'm creating this load to hold in that position. Let's do it with the legs, remember, no weight moving one extremity is still a unilateral load. So, let's take the left leg out, right, so we're gonna keep our body roughly in this nice, straight line. Abduct, lower, center, raise.

My concentration here is on my trunk. My arms are attracting to each other and towards my knee a little bit. So if the leg's not lifted up, you know by now that that's always okay. So here we go, other side, lift. Do not open the hip, we're not doing an aerobesk, we're actually resisting an aerobesk.

Abduct to the side, come back. If you don't feel like making a square or a circle, then you can just create the torsional force with abduction and adduction. So now we go to the square and the circle, out, down, midline, up, out, down, midline, up. One more time, out and down and midline and up, everything comes down, pause right there. Now that was without the weight, okay.

So I have the weight for my hand, let's do it. Join me with the weight in the hand. So now, we come to the quadruped, take the weight, find your neutral spine, neutral pelvis right, no sagging, no arcing, no tucking, okay. Now, I'm gonna take this arm, sagittal plane. Front, side, down, in, three times.

Up, out, down, return, up, out, down, return, come in and rest, that's enough. These are insurance, okay, so we're gonna go slow and we're gonna do them and hold. So out, down, in, up, squeeze the weight. This side's harder, down, in, up. Down, in and up and hold and then it comes down and then you rest.

(sighing) the ultimate challenge will be to do the arm and the leg simultaneously, okay. So I'm going to try and make those two extremities go out into sagittal plane first and then make some sort of square or box or something. It may look a little corny and it may look a little challenging and it is. Okay, so here we go, left arm punches, right leg reaches, no sagsies. Here's our sagittal plane right.

So we go out, down, midline, up, out, down, midline, up, one more time, out and down, midline, up and reverse, I mean return. You could of course reverse it, but we've got a lot of other things to do, so I'm not gonna reverse it here. Here we go, punch the right, reach the left, no air basking of the open hips, sagittal plane hold, out, down, midline. Out, down, midline, up, last one, out and down, midline, up and return, very good. So you should feel arms and legs tied to the trunk.

So now we have to do that same sequence on our back again. Because what we did initially, is we only did the sagittal plane. So this is the one, again, where I use the little towel because I wanna monitor the position of my pelvis because I tend to be a person that kinda rests into my lower back a little bit and my back is feeling really good these days because I've been practicing all these exercises. So now we're gonna take the weight to the ceiling. I'm gonna use my opposite hand just to kinda remind myself not to move anything here.

So we're gonna go sagittal plane, make a fist, hold, out to the side. Circle around, come up. Now, I know that you could probably do a chest press, which we'll do after for a heavier weight, for the arm in the trunk, but this is a different exercise okay, this is a torsional force using one arm to challenge, two feet are down. Now I'm gonna lift the left leg and I'm gonna use the thigh, so we'll go out, down, midline, up, out, down, midline, up. Creating actually, I can't talk and do this at the same time.

But creating this diagonal, sorry, I couldn't talk and do that all at the same time. Anyway, but you get the gist of that okay. So let's switch hands, out, circle, midline, up. So what wants to happen here, this right side is kinda my challenge side. I'm not gonna demonstrate but you might even see that it wants to kinda let go a little bit, so I actually have to think, heavy down.

As I'm doing this movement with my arm, I have to make an awareness. You know imagery is one of the best ways to make a motor unit connection. I actually read that somewhere, so I'm imagining that I've got that water, dripping down that right side of my bellybutton to the floor. You could do that as well, even if you don't have that problem and I'm squeezing this weight and then I'm gonna lift the leg up, gonna go out, down, midline, up, three times. out, down, midline, up, last time, out and down and midline and up and rest.

Okay, and of course if you had a little sandbag weight, a small one on the leg, you can do that. But the legs tend to be a little more muscular so unilaterally without a weight is certainly fine for that unilateral challenge. Okay, so next, is unilateral bridging. But first, I'm gonna maintain neutral, so neutral bridge lift here. So as I come up into bridge with two legs, I'm gonna start to imagine that there's a band around my thighs.

You could certainly get that band but I can create that with awareness, I start to tighten my buttocks and I lift up without tucking so my pubic bone is not curled up and then I lower down and that towel is right there to remind me where I need to go. Engage out, thinking externally rotate the thighs, turn on the glutes and the butt, and I lift up into a bridge, I hold. I hold and then I'm going to lift up this right leg and then slowly come down. Two legs concentrically engage to lift up, one leg lifts up, lower down. I actually used my arm a little bit for that as well.

Two legs lift up, I mean the butt lifts up, two legs working, trying really hard not to shift the spine. Maybe I just take a little pressure off this right leg and lower down, I'm gonna do that and I'm not gonna use my arms at all. So engage, no curling, this is not an articulating bridge, it's a neutral bridge for load, safe spine. I'm gonna un-weight my right leg, just gonna take a little pressure off it, thinking deeply through my left and then come down, I'm gonna reverse. Press two feet, engage, lift and then I'm just gonna take a little pressure off my left leg and lower down, I'm gonna do that two more times.

Two feet pressed down, engage, lift, up, un-weight, left, lower down. You'll notice in this next one, that if I wanted to lift my left leg completely up, I might have right leg way in the middle, that would kinda change the flavor of the exercise. So I'm not saying that's wrong or bad but what I'm saying is, as we add unilateral load, we have to remember why we're doing it, okay. Spine spearing or spine caring says, neutral lift, keep my heels under my hips here neutral and now, if I lift up my left leg from here, the spine's gonna rotate so I have to press really hard with this right leg and I'm un-weighting my left a little bit and then I lower down. So the goal of course is to lift the leg and get that good challenge, but if I did that today, without crossing this leg-weighted midline, it wouldn't get the exact thing that I'm looking for, all right.

So there's other ways to get one legged bridges, to get the glutes, to do this and that, but I wanna get the combination of the idea, one more time, press and lift, so how about if we stay here and I un-weight the right leg and then un-weight the left. What if I think, more left butt on weight right and then I think more right butt on weight left and no spinal movement and then drop it down. Of course, if you're somebody that can lift the leg way up to the sky and not lift your spine or your pelvis by all means, you advance that unilateral load, all right. Okay, so now, we're gonna come up to standing and before we get into another sequence of unilateral exercises, if you look here, I have this really heavy 100 pound dumbbell, it's not really 100 pounds, it's 15 pounds, anyway. And I know that many of you have seen people walk around the gym, carrying stuff around and wondering what they're doing, but if we think about unilateral load, in the sagittal plane is the safest.

So I'm gonna hang onto this weight, I'm gonna back up a little bit and I'm gonna let the weight hand down by my side and I'm gonna be very careful by my idea of my body, that I'm not gonna let the weight win. So as I walk, the weight of this side, I mean the hip of this side that the weight is on, is my whole glute complex, whether I'm walking forward or backwards, okay, so that this weight is challenging the weight baring leg on the side it's on. Opposite to that is the quadratus lumborum, which is kind of a forgotten stabilizer, your whole side oblique system, your lateral system. And I'm holding this weight and I'm squeezing it because remember I said that squeezing this would give you some information into your rotated cuff. Your arm's going to get tired, you're holding a weight, so do you tell I'm excited about this, good, and then come back, holding the weight in one hand, walking forward and back or walking around, I'm not saying miles and miles but actually some people have done that.

But we're looking at the concept of unilateral load. Now in the left hand, squeeze, it might be your right hand depending on what you're watching on. So now as I walk and you will notice in yourself that sometimes your ankles are different or your toes or you have a little bunion or if your ankle falls in and out, so that this load challenges that glute complex on the standing leg side, challenges the obliques on the other side. So remember, adding load in the sagittal plane is safe and I'm gonna take the load and I'm gonna side bend it laterally and I'm gonna hold, then I'm gonna press into my feet and let it come up. So I'm not gonna shrug my shoulder but I'm gonna use the side of my body to lengthen the side the weight is on, and then come up.

I'm not gonna go necessarily as far as I can, I don't wanna get any pinching, but I'm just gonna go to the distance that I feel an appropriate challenge, okay. So I'm not tucking my bottom, I'm not curling my butt just a little bit, I'm not knitting my ribs together, okay. I'm in my basic, neutral position, which is roughly my pubic bone and my pelvis roughly in alignment, okay. Sometimes we have stuff in the front, sometimes we have stuff in the back, sometimes it's just there but let's monitor where our position of the pelvis is, as we go side and then come up. I have equal weight through me feet, getting this load as I go over and as I come back up.

All right, so now I'm gonna put the weight down, using the loading of my legs to lower that, not my back. So now in this last part of the class, I'll use a weight for some and just my body for others, these are all relatively functional, well I say relatively, but these are functional movements that are unilateral load and you wanna keep the concept of a neutral a spine as possible, being as poorly connected as possible. Okay, so it doesn't mean that you're squeezing your butt and you're lifting everything up. We wanna feel lifted right, we wanna feel that ribcage off of the pelvis, nice ribcage here, lifting it off the pelvis, okay. So the first one is a reverse lunge, we're just gonna do three on each side.

So in the reverse lunge, I'll start with this outside leg, I'm gonna take it backwards and I'm gonna kneel down and then I'm gonna come up, step forward. So the reverse lunge, I bend, I drop the knee, it's the opposite side butt and thigh that brings me back up, okay. So now the other way, so now it's gonna be this butt and this thigh, so I'm gonna step back, kneel down, stand up, step forward, step back, kneel down, stand up, step forward. One more back, one more down, stand up, come forward. Reverse lunges, pretty safe for the knee, you're not sheering that in any direction.

The regression will be just to not go down as far, but still making sure you're getting that load in the front leg, okay. The next one is going to be what we call a deadlift or a single leg deadlift, that's just what it's called. We could call it a hip hinge, one leg, anyway. So this is what it looks like, so first, we're gonna start with an easy knee bend, knees over ankles, okay. We're gonna hold here, I'm gonna start with this leg going back and then I'm gonna push my other leg to stand me up, bring it forward.

So I hip hinge, keep integrity over the spine, step back, stand up, step forward. Bend, step back, push up, come forward. Okay, so there wasn't any spinal movement or jarring motion. Let's do it on the other leg. Hip hinge, if I had a stick or a pole, it would touch me in those places.

Back of the head, back of the rib cage. Step back other leg, step forward. So right now, it's only a unilateral load. One more time, a second, so this will build, okay. So that's after I started with the regression just so you could get the mechanics if you haven't done it.

So now I'm gonna take this eight pound weight and I'm going to turn it into the unilateral one, so I'm gonna bend down so now as I do, it's gonna be the opposite arm from the front leg. So I'm gonna take my other leg back and I'm just gonna lift it up, I'm gonna hold and then I'm gonna pull with this leg to stand up. (breathing) So, the exercise starts with the knee bend and the hip hinge, then that doesn't change as I load the left leg, take the other leg back, power with the standing leg, pull up. One more time, hip hinge, knee bend, shift weight, back goes the leg. I can stay here, I can hold, I could power up.

Bring my right leg forward and then go back again, okay. Or you can do a million of those, unilateral load, appropriate weight, feeling it in the hip, glute complex. Incidentally, since we're talking about spine spearing and spinal health exercises a little bit, as we prop our way through this, many people who have back ache and back discomfort, is because they kind of overwork in a way where they can't find the connections down below, meaning around the glute complex, so here we go on the other side. So hip hinge, bend the knees and then this side's a little harder for me so I'm gonna weight shift and then I can go down, I can come up, I can go over, I can use the wall. I'm actually gonna use the wall because I wanna force the firing in my hip as I maintain my pelvis position forward without rotating it, okay.

So, single leg deadlift, I mean that's what it's called but those are the components of that of course looking at our hip connection there. What we talked about the hip lift or the bridging, that's another one, I'm not gonna demonstrate that again, we've already done that. And then the cat, oh my goodness, let's not forget about the cat. So, standing here, both heels raised, both heels lower, trying not to overarch. Again, this is actually a little bitchy exercise, I should've actually included this in that class.

But this is a double calf raise, right. Now, how do I turn it into a single calf raise if I don't have balance? Well, awareness, imagery, only use my right heal. Only use my right leg. I can lift this leg up and I should be able to do that lots of times, but we have to keep that connection.

It's kind of a forgotten little exercise. There was a class I think with mt colleague Sherry Betts, that was stating we should be able to do 25 single leg calf raises. My left leg behaves much better than my right, so I'm just taking turns going back and forth, not to demonstrate anything for you in particular, but to encourage you to do that and encourage you if you need to go to the wall for a second, just for a little bit of balance, you can take one of your legs and put it behind the other one, okay, and then lift up. And when you're on the reformer or something like that, doing tendon stretch or doing running, take the time to do enough calf raisers, that you feel it from your calf to your thigh, to your bottom. I need to do the right leg a couple of times, because I tend to shy away from that leg, because my ankle and foot and very old injury.

Isn't it funny how we go back and blame our injuries on why we can't do something, rather than telling myself or suggesting, that perhaps I do this exercise just a little bit more and maybe that's a message to myself, and do it one more time lower down. Okay, so sometimes, unilateral load is just doing it with one leg. Okay, so we're gonna go back, as we work down to our knees now. So we're gonna go back down to the knees and as you, oh goodness, okay. So back to our knees here.

So I'm gonna go for it, I'm gonna use this one because I know I can, this is actually one of my favorite exercises. So actually, I'm gonna put the weight down first. Let's just monitor your position here in kneeling. Okay, just let everything go for a second and close your eyes with me and just wiggle your bottom side to side, make a feeling inside your groins, that's where your hip joint is, okay, just so you know. Now, as I do this, your body is going to tend to either arch or tuck, that's just the nature of the beast.

So kind of find where your neutral is, imagine that your rib cage okay, is kind of lifting off your pelvis equally, meaning not only in the front but also in the back. Sometimes you've heard me say before, it's kinda like a little karate chop in the front of your ribs or it's a little hint of 100 beats in those front ribs, okay. For me, that's what kinda helps me, so I'm gonna hold that, take my right arm by my ear and press it up and down. So we do this in the reformer, when we do side arm series, but we need to start it a little early on on the mat, so this will prepare us for what, side kick kneeling right. We talked about that with all the planks and so this is just an overhead press from a stable bottom, sagittal plane.

Okay, so I'm gonna take my 15 pound weight, I'm gonna bend my elbow in, okay, this other hand, I'm gonna keep it out to the side, it's gonna add a little balance for me and I'm gonna press up and down. So with both of my knees down, I have a nice base so that I can do this unilateral arm work and I'm already feeling it under that side there that I felt when I was lying on my back. I'm gonna do one more and then come down, switch sides. Taking care of the spine, in and push up. Doing this on your knees helps you to be more in control of your spine than doing it standing.

My shins take up a little more real estate than just my feet. I'm gonna do two more and then I'm gonna do last one. And bring it all the way down. So now we're gonna advance that and I'm gonna take my right leg forward and the weight, here. (sighing) I hope you're having as much fun as I am, this is a little challenging.

So, we're giving everybody a shout out, so my friend Mariska, you know, she did the whole series on ish, ISH, so I'm gonna call this ish, Pilates-ish, weight-ish, core-ish, finding all the different ways to get the load. Okay so now, right knee up, right arm up, okay. It's a little bit harder to not sheer myself forward as I do this stretch. I'm gonna do three more and two more, now I am feeling my arm and I'm supposed to feel my arm while my trunk is holding me stable, right, switch legs. Incidentally, in this split stance or high kneeling one leg up, other leg down, make a mental note of kinda where your thigh is 'cause I'm starting to lean forward and you should almost feel a lengthening down the whole front line of your torso, see where my vertebrae are on this spine here.

Take it in then press it up and up. My arm can go out, that gives me a little bit more balance and I am squeezing this weight with my fingers. I'm not squeezing with my neck, I'm certainly not squeezing with my jaw but the exercise is a hard one. I got two more and then last one and then lower down, rest, all right. I need a little breather.

The next one is going to be very similar to that but it adds a hinge in the hip, so it gets us ready for sidekick kneeling, it's a part of a Turkish get up series that seems to be going around now. Holding a block up, holding a weight up, trying to lift yourself up, it looks like this. I'm actually going to lower the weight to eight pounds 'cause I feel like I'll have better control of that. So the same side knee, same side hand go up, hold. Now, what I'm going to do here is I'm going to take this hand and I'm going to reach it to the floor, by hip hinging over and I'm gonna look up at that top hand and I'm squeezing it and I'm pushing it and then I'm taking that whole package all the way up three times.

Over, hip hinge, meaning the leg goes back a little bit, the two arms are kind of in line with each other as you press down and lift up and then come up. One more time, shifting into the right knee, going over, pressing down with the bottom hand, up with the top hand, turning the neck and then bringing myself up and then come down. Switch sides, left knee up, again, my side throws me off balance. Okay so my pelvis T shirt, okay so now, left arm up, reach long, right. One class I taught I talked about filling yourself up, fill yourself up with breath, especially here towards the end.

I'm getting a little tired, okay, so I gotta fill up and not grip up. I can grip my hand around this weight up here but I can still breath freely. Hip hinge towards the bent knee side, take the hand over, look up to that top arm, your two arms are roughly reaching away from each other and then I bring myself back. Hip hinge over, look up, hold and then I pull myself all the way up. Last one, grow up, lift up, fill up, over you go, looking up and bring yourself all the way up, bring the weight down, come all the way down.

(breathing) Inhale, exhale, okay, so now we need to come up to standing. So now we're gonna stand up, I'm gonna use the weight in front of me, step the left leg up, stand up, put the weight up and bring it down. Step down with the right leg, step down with the left, switch the leg I'm starting with, I've done this in other classes as well, so we take turns on the leg that's coming up, and down. We did the reverse lunge in the very beginning and we'll do the reverse lunge. Well in the very beginning like 25 minutes ago, with this one, we'll do the last set of reverse lunges with a weight.

(breathing) Okay, so about the hips and about the trunk. Because we know now that strengthening core is not just five sets of 100 beats, it's not just all the ab series, yes all those are important, please don't hear me say otherwise, but sometimes the core is responsible for holding the center while we create the relationship, okay, between our arms and our legs. So now, I'm going to go to the lightest weight, and we're gonna add the reverse lunge and we're gonna do the final bit which is a rotation to the bent knee side, okay. So I'm gonna do it forward, like this at first, so you can see it, and then I'm gonna need my mat 'cause my feet are sweaty. So the weight's in this hand, so that means that's the side of the leg that's going back.

So I'm gonna reverse lunge back, rotate to the bent leg, come back center, stand up overhead and then come down. Same leg again, so it's out and back, rotate reverse, stand up. Back, rotate, reverse, stand up. Other side and back, rotate, return, stand up. Back, rotate, reverse, stand up.

Last one, back, rotate, reverse, stand up and rest. Now finally, take yourself down to the mat. I'm gonna take my little towel here, I'm gonna put it, kinda monitor that position of neutral and now to kinda wind down, I'm gonna bring my legs further away from me. Sorry, little weights there, anyway. And I'm gonna start to rotate my hip joints, so this is gonna be internal rotation of this outside leg, not moving my pelvis, so my ribs and my core connection to my pelvis stay.

As I bring my feet closer and I do this, the information starts to travel a little bit up to the pelvis. So now, at the end of the session, when I go for this mobility through my pelvis and through my spine, creating this torsional unwinding, I can use my arms, right, side to side. I can take them up over my head. Whatever I do here to calm this down, without any load, without lifting my legs and then we're just resting right here. So I hope you enjoyed this class.

You can take tid bits of it and add pieces to your mat class, that's how I started it, that's how I created it and my clients really like the unilateral load, says it ties in together their understanding of the core as it relates to our Pilates exercises as well. (breathing) So, take as much time as you need to rest. I'm glad you joined me and I will see you next week.

Key Connections: The Power of Props


Amy S
2 people like this.
Loved everything about your class, Karen.  You  had me at Anne Lamott :)
1 person likes this.
loved that too..
1 person likes this.
This is a great class for quadratus lumborum.  Glad to hear someone mention this strong lower back muscle that  hip movers need the strength of to have a stable pelvis to pull against.  Really felt it in the loaded side bending.
Lorraine W
1 person likes this.
Tempo your voice & content fabulous...I have back & hip issues & was able to do everything in the class, with enough challenge..I have done your mat class in the past (I will now seek out more of your classes 🕺
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Karen. I was not clear on the 4th exercise at the beginning. When you side bent lying on back did you move the arm also in a side bending up and down following the spine or did you stay parallel to the mat? Did you do this to teach to avoid rotation when later kneeling and standing?

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