Tutorial #3192

Arm to Back Connection

25 min - Tutorial


Explore the connections from your arms to your back in this tutorial with Dana Santi. She shares a very detailed concept that she used to help her find the correct way to work her muscles after her double mastectomy in 2016. Once you begin to understand the precision and control required for this work, you will be able to carry this over to your Pilates practice.
What You'll Need: Mat, Pilates Pole

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Sep 18, 2017
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Hi, my name is Dana Santi. And today we are going to explore the arm back connection and what that is and how it pertains to the exercises that we do employees and how important it is to carry it throughout the workout. I think a lot of times those words get lost in fruition and sometimes we hear them and we cue them, but do we really, really understand what that means? And um, an August of 2016 I had a double mastectomy and they detached my pecs from both sides. And so again, I walked in a very healthy place teacher and I walked out, you know, a day later and I couldn't move my arms at all. And I think what I've learned throughout recovering from all of this is really truly what that arm back connection is.

Because that was, I had to keep my arms in this specific way in order to get the Pec Muscle to heal and to strengthen all the other muscles that the armor is connected to in order to gain that strength back. So the lovely Meredith is going to be my model today. So Meredith, put your legs here. Okay. So the first thing I'm going to do with her is take the arm and I work in, I call this with my clients a wave. And basically what it is is I'm going to take the muscles and I'm going to activate them up and down like this throughout her arm. Back to her lap.

Okay. The tips of the fingers and I am talking the tips of the fingers. That last little joint in your finger. Okay. Has to be soft and it's not. It's not a claw. Okay? It's soft. And now if this is soft here, so not there, just this. Yeah.

Then the palm, okay. Is going to be lifted and by lifted I just mean presence. It's not, again, there's no crazy movement. It's an activation. It's making the muscles active. Now the heel of the hand is going to go down.

So not your fingers right here. Just the heel of the hand. Okay. That's a lot of work in this little amount of space. So the fingertips go down, the palm is lifted and the heel of the hand is going to go down. So push into my fingers. Not the whole hand, just here. All right. Lower it down a little. Now the forearm, the muscles here are going to activate themselves up.

Okay. The muscles underneath are going to activate themselves down. Okay? You see where she starts to move now from here, Lauren? A little. This is going to go up and you're all going, oh my gosh. She's gonna lift her shoulders. She's not going to lift her shoulders.

What it is is it's a purpose. So you make a presence in this muscle and reach it into my hand. Now you make a presence in this muscle and reach it down. Okay? Yes. And then release. Lot of work. Right? Okay, so try it again cause it's it, it's, it's a concept, right?

And you have to practice it in order for it to make sense. You also have to realize there is a huge group of muscles in the palm of your hand, right? There's gobs of them that go in and out. So why would we compress that and shut all those muscles down? Right? We don't hit them. There's no way to activate anything else beyond there. Okay.

So again, she's reaching her arm out. Okay. Now I'll guide Ya. Fingertips down. The palm is lifted and now the heel of the hand just give me a little love, right? Yes. Okay, so now what do you feel? They're confused. Okay. That's okay. Yeah, that's all right. I mean, I feel connection to my back. Right? But it feels challenging because it's new. Yes, of course, of course. But you can by putting a little, by moving this palm, this way you can automatically feel your back.

And we haven't even gotten there yet. Okay, so now this is up. This is down. This is up. And this is down. Yes. Does that make sense? A little. Okay, so now let's try it with both arms.

So let's face this way. So now we're going to take both arms. Okay. Different view, and we're going to try to make it happen at the same time. So a little light on the fingertips, the poems lifted, and then the heel of the hand put a little bit of purpose in there. So without moving exactly. Without moving the bones. And that's the key. That's the key. You can move the muscles, but you can't move the bones. The muscles have to be what? Move your bones.

Okay? So you're looking at this line and you're making sure nothing's going to move. Now the forearm is lifted, the tricep presses down, okay? The delta is going to go up. Little purpose, just purpose. And now bring this down, okay? And so now she's secure and this is a lot, a lot, a lot of work.

And all we've done is truly activate what is happening here. So the concept being, if all of this happens and functions, that gives us so much more opportunity to work the muscles that need to be working and we will feel them more efficiently. So stuff is going to go to her stomach without me even having to say, pull your stomach in. She just has to in order to survive survival mode. Okay, so now she's here out to the side. So let's, she's out there. Okay, don't think so hard. Just put 'em out. All right, so now make your poem long.

Little bit of the fingertips. Little bit of the poem. And now here's the tricky part, but push into the heel without moving the bone there. So see how that can straighten her wrist out. Up, down, up, down. Yes. Look at those beautiful arms. Okay. Little more. Yup. Now do this one a little bit. Right into here. Hmm.

Relaxed that longer. Yes. Now right into there. Yeah. Now get this down more. Yes. More. Ah, there you go. Much better. Okay, so now we have to actually move them. So take the swing side again for me. All right, so what I'm going to have her do is, is let's, um, replicate some type of rowing.

So take the elbow into the side and now we're gonna make sure that this is on a perfect 90 degree angle. Okay. Lot of times your clients come in and they either are here or they're here and all we want is for this, can't start here just to be straight. Okay. We're just looking at lines simplify. So she takes this, she finds that little wave fingertips palm, he love the hand up back. Right? Cause that's where it would go up down. [inaudible] okay, so it's going to go in the direction of where the position is. Okay. So now let's work the heel here on this side a little. So right into me there. Yes.

So now when I'm gonna have her do is try to keep this position and extend the arms out. Keep it, keep it, keep it, keep it and now bring it back in. Okay. And Maura and then home. Okay. Turn around face this way. Try the same thing. Try One arm maybe. And then the other, we're going to take it fingertips.

Palm heel of the hand. Forearm reaches back up and down. Yes. Now she's going to keep that position and she's just going to try to keep all of those muscles activated in the same way and extend it out. Now stop there. Cause I need more here. Yes.

Now keep going up. This is giving me this right here, here and here. Yup. Keep it, keep it, keep it, hold it there. Now give me presence here and presence there. Yes. And then bring it back and then bring it back in. Okay. Try it again. Let me get behind you. It's hard. This is a lot of work. It looks like nothing. And it's incredibly, incredibly hard.

They're so right under my fingers there. Yeah. And now extend it. [inaudible] keep it [inaudible] and now keep it here though. Yep. You gotta stay with me. Keep going. Keep going. Not Die. Yeah. Even though she goes up, energy's got to go both ways. I had a girl come on more, get me here. That's it.

And then come back down. Give it to me and then bend it right in. Yep. And then home [inaudible] yes. Okay. Now all of that can be working, whether we're lying down, whether we're standing, whatever it is that we're doing. So lie down for one quick second. So if she's on the reformer, okay. Just because her arms are long and they're connected right to the reformer, to the mat, whatever it is, they're still activated in that same way because we're going to have to move them so her fingertips are going to bend down right at the tip.

So not so much. Not so much the middle knuckle. It's really the key is that top knuckle. Okay, so soften it right into there. Yeah. Okay. Your palms lifted, the heel of the hand is down, up, down, presence, presence there. Okay. And if completely, completely just opened it up to where it should be.

Okay. So now if she's rollover into a pushup position, it's the exact same thing. Okay? So make them straight. All right, so here she is. Tips of the fingers, Palms lifted, little presence. This comes to me, this goes back, this comes to me. Give me some purpose here and now this goes back. Yes. Okay. Her arms are strong. They're working, they're working, they're working.

And then bend your knees and come back down. Yes. Alright, flip over. Yes. Likes log. So we may now have to put handles in our hand at some point while we do work on other equipment. So where does this go and how do we apply it? Okay. It's the exact same principles no matter where that, where your hand is. So she's going to take the pole face this way first.

Now I do a lot of things closed. Okay. Because I believe that the equipment is there. Those handles are there for a reason. They're there for us to use them right as a guide. Okay. So she has to take the fingertips.

Flip your hand up. Okay, so I could get this obsessive right and see how her pinky. Okay. Is is folding itself in already? She's, she's off alignment. Okay. I'm going to make her open this up. Okay. So this is even straight across here.

Okay. Boom. You feel that it's hard. Yeah. Okay. But these are the types of things that we don't have to know what's wrong with her arm, her shoulder, whatever it is. These are the types of tricks that if you do this and you make this alignment happen, it doesn't matter what's wrong with their shoulder because it's going to go in Meredith's anatomically correct position. Okay, so that's just for show, but we're going to work on her, right? Keeping this and this straight. Yes. All right, so now bring those arms out. Okay.

Let's go a tiny bit closer just so we can see that line. All right, so the nail beds, right? It's that little last piece is reaching into this pole. Okay. The palm is lifted away from the pole and the heel of the hand has some presence. Okay, so already now her wrists looks so much better.

This is up. This is down. Pushed me more here. Yeah, up and down. [inaudible] okay, she takes it now and she's going to keep this position and just right. Rise the arms up, raise them up, keep it, and then bring it back down. Keep the palms away a little bit more. [inaudible] and now flip the palms this way. Now she can see her fingertips. Okay, so she's going to try really hard to keep them all in alignment. Okay, that pinkies connected back here. All right, so that's there. Okay, now hold onto it.

Extend the arms out. Now just because she's upside down in the wave, it still happens. Fingertips, palms away. Presence in the heel of the hand. Look at that. Already different. Okay, so now there you go. There, there now into here more. [inaudible] now try to not change the fingertips and raise your arms up.

That's it. So now watch this. Yes. Take a peek at your pinky. Happy with it. Keep even pressure right there. Yes. And then come back home. Okay. So each fingertip is allowed to have equal pressure. We can't give more to the index finger and less to the pinky. Okay, try it again. So now start with them. Even start.

Start like you're gonna Win Meredith. Okay. There you go. Okay, so now this, yes, you have to keep the whole hand attached. Okay. It's the equivalent of keeping five toes on the foot bar. Had a girl. Keep it even. Keep it even.

Keep it even bump up up. You're losing me here. Yeah, look at that. And then come back. Keep it even. Yes. And then bring it in. Okay, so now take it here again. Elbows in [inaudible]. Okay, so now see if you can find it. Where's this same angle?

So if your elbows are here, right? Let's move the palms in a little. Okay. Find all your points. Fingertips, palms lifted away. Heel of the hand. And now extend them out and keep it. Keep it. Keep it at a girl.

Okay. Palm lifted away a little bit on this side and lift your palm away more. Give me your fingertips. There it is. And then bring it back home. Yes. And then one more time so she can see. Okay. Exactly. So see where this is.

So we need again, show him. Okay. She's here and this all ready is turning away. It just wants to leave. This bar wants to leave the party and I need her to keep it there. So I'm going to tell her she might have to keep a little bit more pressure in this little nail bed of the pinky. Okay. Ready? Annex then that's it. Don't let it go.

Don't let it go. Okay. Keep it all connected and then bend the elbows and bring it back in. Yes. Okay, last thought. So she's going to take it again and we're going to flip her hands. Now here's this energy. Okay.

But in Claudia's, you can't ever, when you lock a joint, you lock the door, right? And you can't get it. So I can't have her. I can have her bend this last little joint. Okay. But I can't let you stop the movement there. So the energy here on this handle is going to go into the handle, right? But now the tips of the nail bed are going to reach away.

So wherever your arms are that the last joint goes in and then the energy reaches away from it. Okay. It's a tricky concept and honestly, I have not perfected the correct queue so that my clients deal with it. But in, in a way, think about the nail bed. It's as if I was brushing the nail this way. Okay, give it a whirl. There you go.

Now keep it in in a way and just raise the arms up a little [inaudible] now go back down again. It's still the same thing in in a way. And then bend the elbows and now it's still, even though she's going towards her, that energy is going in in a way. And now last time, try it this way so doesn't matter again where the hands are. Same thing. Okay?

So in with the tips of the fingers and away with the energy, look at that. Look at that. [inaudible] so much work. Okay. Keeping that all connected on the sides and now bring it back in. Yes. And release. Yes. So be patient with this.

Take some time to explore what, where the muscles are and what you feel and how to connect them into anywhere throughout the studio, anywhere within the work, anywhere in any piece of equipment. Um, you have to be patient and, and once you feel it in one place, you'll start to feel it in a few more. Thank you girl.

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2 people like this.
Excelent so interesting
congratulation Dana
This was a very profound tutorial Dana and I am processing it all just now in all my Pilates and yoga practices. Thank you so much for your generosity x
1 person likes this.
Love the wave!
1 person likes this.
So fabulous, would love more of this, especially the feet. thank you
1 person likes this.
Centering, Breath, Concentration, Control, Precision and Flow in simplistic beauty! Thank you for this awareness!
2 people like this.
W O N D E R F U L C L A S S!!!
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed this tutorial, it was a great way of being able to connect the arms and the back. I did find I had neck tension through it though so I think I maybe need more practice of doing this without trying so hard. Thank you
1 person likes this.
So Great! Thank you!
Cate D
Have been using the fingers, palms, wrists part of this in Leg Pull Front & Back for a while. Gleaned it from outside Pilates & found it really helpful for preventing wrist pain. Will definitely try & take it all the way to the lats, as I can see how brilliant it is for connecting all of the arm into the back. Thank you Dana.

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