Class #881

Mat Exercise Breakdown 7

10 min - Class


Side Kicks and Transition Beats are the next two parts of the Mat work that Monica has been breaking down for us. As usual, Monica delivers all the important information required to execute these exercises efficiently and effectively. You'll also hear and see several modifications and tips for understanding these exercises thoroughly.
What You'll Need: Mat

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So we just finished neck Paul and what you did that was beautiful as you created one long line right from your head to your heel. So a lot of posture work, fixing junk that's going on through here. And we're going to challenge you even more now and see if you can keep that good posture while you're on your side. So just think about this picture, but turn it onto your side and have it as on the back edge of this mat. So we're going to slide back and the elbows going to be their good and you're going to rest your head on your hand. Actually not on your arm, but you had it correct. Yes. And trying to get this as down as you can. Good in your one solid line. I think your hips can come forward just an inch.

Good. And your feet too. That's actually straight. Good. All right, so your box is square. Okay. Clearly this shoulder is a little bit more above here and no, it, it should, I believe as we get a little stronger, we're gonna keep our ribs in more and maybe kind of pull up a little bit more in the waist and then that will help to also even it out. But it's good, however, the head right now, um, if it bothers you at all in the neck, which sometimes it bothers people, you want to straighten that arm and just lie your head down. Okay? But we're going to get into more of what the head's doing in a second. So long straight line. Now keeping your box here, the legs come forward all the way to the front of your mat. Okay? So that's when we're learning our sidekicks, which in an intermediate, you're learning them. As you get stronger, then you're gonna wanna pull them back more. And ideally they're here, flex the fee, and then just bring the bottom, top foot in front of the bottom and slide the bottom one under and then relax them. So that's your ideal position. However, um, that's not very stable. It takes a lot of work up here.

So as we're getting there, you can keep 'em more forward. Okay. All right. So the stomach is in, and like I said, ideally your ribs and your whole organ, all your organs in your stomach aren't just hanging on the mat. There is some lift in there. Not that there has to be a tunnel under you. I don't want to lead you astray, but just that, that's not like flat, you know? Okay.

We use this as a kickstand to balance your body as well as, I love it. As a reminder, right now, your stomach is not touching your arm, but as you do your sidekicks, it's gonna want to. And if it does, then it shows you you're not pulling, keeping in. Same with the ribs. They, they do like to wool forward and the shoulder rolls forward with it. We're not gonna do that. We're going to keep our shoulder girdle muscles working and our stomach, same thing with the hips. This hip bone likes to rock and roll. Okay? So more stable. You keep your body. And if this isn't a motivator, I don't know what is the more stable you keep your body, the more slender your legs get because that's doing the work now.

Okay? Instead of this, I'll do in the work for you. Okay. And that's when you'll feel the exercise. Okay? So the hand starts off with your hedges for resting on your hand. But ideally we're going to change it to the neck pole, which is behind your head and you pushing your head and you feel that stretch in your neck. That's the ideal position. It's not really supposed to be arrest, but while we're learning it, it's absolutely fine. But then you want there and then when you're advanced, you hold all that and then it's the same exact position as neck pole, keeping that posture. Good. All right, so we're going to put your hand back down and you can do whatever you want it there because we're going to focus on this.

Let's lift this like up at hip level. Turn it around. Good. And so I say turn it. Sorry. I turned it around. Turn it out. Because I want to be able to see your inner thigh. I don't want you to hide your inner thigh. I don't want you turn it in. And also this like an all the other exercises that we do implies really make sure that that alignment stays there. Okay.

And you're feeling all the right muscles as you kick forward. You're gonna keep it on the same plane as high up to nose as you can, and then you're going to take it back. Good. Let's, I'm holding you here because I want you to pull those ribs in. Yup. And your stomach and keep that hip right there so that the work comes from your hamstrings and see as you go back and back and back and back. Nice. Good. One time. More like that. One more time forward. Use your belly to pull it up. Aha to a little double poles. One, two, and a little. Double pulse. One, two. Good.

Now let's swing it forward and back and forward and back. Good stomach and length in this more [inaudible] stomach and lengthened. So your ideal, you're going to form more. I want you to always try to make the top leg longer than the bottom leg and reach, keep it long as you kick forward. I think we have one more. Let's just humor me back and then legs together. But there I would say you would inhale and exhale. Aha.

But again, you don't want to be hyperventilating where you're like, cause you're, because there you can add a double pulse if you need an extra stretch like we did or it could just swing and back or it could swing. Devil pulls forward and only and no pulse back. Tons of combinations. And um, do you just don't want the breath to change the rhythm. All right. And so now we're going to go up and down, but I want your hand right here on this hip bone to start because it's super to be aware that we don't lift this leg by shrinking the waist completely. Okay? It's gonna move.

And that's fine because eventually you want to have more Gusto in it and like kick your ear. Okay. But you want to make sure it comes from the right place, at least in the beginning. So we're going to have that like turned out and we're going to use the outer thigh to lift the leg up to the ceiling. Good. Now stay there because you can, I'm just kidding and put your hand back on your hip and I want your belly to pull in and up as you make that leg longer than the bottom. Like so real important opposite forces going on. So push up with this part of your leg and now squeeze my hand down. Great. Three more. Push up and belly in and up. Up, up.

Good to add even length to your next. That posture is beautiful. And last one. Good. All right, so you can always obviously do it with your hand there, but that was just for awareness. Now keeping your box frame. If I was looking at your upper body, I would not know. We're doing this exercise. Do five little circles. We sweep it forward and up and back and together the backs apart.

Everyone forgets. But the tempo is going to be one, two, three. Okay, so here we go. Stomach in and up, lengthening in this direction with the leg. Up a little bit. And four, one, two, three, four. You're almost aiming the heel for the arch and reverse. So you're aiming this top legs healed more though. That was like an incredible extension and two and one. And that's enough and arrest. Great job.

So you've got this beautiful mermaid tail and this great powerhouse. Lift both of your legs as you roll onto your belly and make a small pillow for your forehead. And now we're going to bring your hips over a bit. Sometimes we get a little crooked. So we're actually at a perfect diagonal. It was the deal. There you go. I'm going to help lengthen you so that you feel a little straighter. All right, there we go. And now I want you to keep your belly in and up.

So the transition is same like single leg kick and double leg kick. We're going to lift these legs. Now I want you to open the legs about the width of the mat, which a little shy. And now squeeze my hand together. That's between your inner thighs. Good. Nope. Just want open big. And now squeeze my hand right here. Good.

One more time. Good. And squeeze. Awesome. Now make those legs longer, Huh? And I need you to do double time that one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 more. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 enough. What I loved is you didn't round this up or use the upper body was great. Now you're going to go to your other side. So just roll onto this side and extend this elbow to that.

And you're going to have your back like that. Perfect. And your hand in front of your stomach. I'm coming to get ya. All right. So we're going to bring our legs forward. Good. And it's so great cause now we can see what's on your back, what's going on on your back. So your bottoms at the right place. But um, your shoulders are not, they need to come back and AJ [inaudible] and your elbow to go. Do you feel like you're going to roll off the back and you need to skip forward an inch to feel safer? Hey, no, you can go forward an inch.

Yeah, as long as the whole body moves. Yep. There you go. Good. Perfect. So we're going to keep this shoulder from lifting up and we're going to keep it, um, from rolling forward, right? Perfect. And we're going to try our hardest to keep pulling long on that neck. Great. Great pull. Filling up this area.

It's not like you've popped out those ribs bellies in and those hips are stacked. One on top of the other. Lift that right leg up. Turn it out a little bit. And now we're just going to go right to tempo. Let's just swing. No double t, no double pulse. Swing forward and back and forward and back. Good. Keeping this shoulder aware and forward and squeeze.

So in this leg it likes to go back. So read, shout. Good. You're trying to reach all the corners of the walls. Reach forward. Keep this phone and three and long and two and one more. Awesome. And legs to go. Nothing like having applies instructor on your little side leg kicks.

So now you're going to put your right hand here. Yeah. And we're going to keep lengthening it. So we use our outer thigh to push up to our ear. And then reach long, squeezing those inner thighs so it goes up and then reach a little less up with that hip. Keep it long. Oh, that was good. And now squeeze them all this heel, always reaching and up. Lengthen your neck and up and reach. And that was your last one.

Now we're going to circle forward and up one and two and three and four, and reverse and sweep it. One and two and three and four and five. And let that leg lie down. Now you're going to lie onto your back in the center of the Mat and you're going to bend your knees into your chest and you're going to extend your legs up to the ceiling and you're going to shake them out like you're throwing a Tantrum so that your thigh muscles kinda jiggle off of your bones or they're not gripping anymore because teasers are next. Go ahead and hug your knees in. Good.


There is a black screen so cannot follow!
Claude~ It sounds like you are watching this video in Auto-Detect, a video viewing option located below the video screen, and that your internet connection may be just allowing for sound to reach you. I would try watching this in Low, another video viewing option located below the video screen, and see if you get an image there. Please email if you continue having problems.
This was great is there a fuller version somewhere or to follow ? X
HI Laura ~ What do you mean by fuller version? Do you want more description or is that you want to see it in a class?
1 person likes this.
Dear Monica and Kristi
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the inspiration! I am just a few months qualified and really enjoying adding to and fleshing out my exercise rep and cueing from watching and taking your classes/tutorials.
I miss my studio where I trained so much and I think having this online resource has been a so valuable to keep the creativity flowing. Brilliant
Hi Monica:what I am wondering is how much movement is acceptable in the upper body with sidekick? I realize that the torso is stabilizing so that the legs get the correct work. But when I watch kristi and other advanced teachers do this exercise there still seems to be some movement in the upper body. Also as my clients tend to be in their 40's and up I let them bend the bottom leg to provide more stability rather than both legs together and slightly forward. Do you do this with people just starting out?
Hi Lynn, I know you're not asking me, but I'd love to weigh in on this question if you don't mind... I typically teach the exercise "attempting" to stabilize the trunk so the leg can move freely. This is the most common way to learn the exercise. The idea is that if you can anchor or stabilize yourself at one end, the other end becomes free. Within this situation you will have adaptations (some small movements) or balancing that must occur in the upper body, but if the goal is to stabilize or anchor there shouldn't compensatory (big movements) upper body movement. What you saw me doing was either....
... bad form or me intentionally allowing the side kick to be a full body motion more similar to how we see Joseph Pilates teach it. This is a way I would teach it if I had more advanced students in the room. The challenge being "Can I really throw the leg through flexion and extension seemingly out of control in that my whole body moves, yet still be in control of it?! " In other words, sometimes, many of us believe it is good to challenge our bodies is less "mechanistic" ways. Sometimes its good to see what your body can handle unexpectedly. I remember when this lesson sank in for me. I was taking a class from Niedra Gabriel. I'll look for it, because I know it's on PA, but it was a long time ago. It was also the day I realized that the videos of Joe tossing the leg around wasn't because "he didn't know" what we know today, it was because they could! Having said all that, its very possible I was being sloppy on the day you watched
Here is some footage of Joseph teaching at Jacob's Pillow. If you go to about the 1:28 minute mark you can see him doing the Side Kick..

Jacob's Pillow
Hi Lynn, Sorry it has taken me almost 3 weeks to get back to you...I was enjoying the holidays a bit too much:) Kristi, Thank you so much for replying earlier! I do agree full heartedly with Kristi's explanation. Romana had a wonderful way of teaching us how to practice precision while keeping the movement natural. Keeping the 6 Principles of Pilates in mind (Control, Centering, Concentration, Precision, Breathing and Flow) I would say it is important to concentrate on using our Powerhouse to center ourselves in order to keep control of the movement and therefore execute the exercise with precision.
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