Tutorial #3569

Extension Connection

50 min - Tutorial


Look at two different bodies to see how we can improve extension in this tutorial with Karen Sanzo. She discusses the difference between what it means to tuck the pelvis versus bringing the ribs back and how these affect your alignment. Whether you are trying to elongate your spine or go into a full backbend, it is important to bring all of the important pieces so that you can create a good extension in your spine.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Mat, Towel, Reformer Box

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Oct 07, 2018
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Hi, I'm Karen Sanzo and today we're going to do a tutorial. It's going to be a little lengthy, but it's going to be a good one. And it's called the extension connection. In one of my previous films, I did something called the fluxion connection. And what I mean by that is so many things have to come into play in order to get a good extension. There's your belly and your butt and your back and your blades and all those things have to come into play.

And in order to get a good extension, whether it's elongation or whether it's a full back bend, we have to go through a series of mobility for the ribs and the trunk that help us make that. So I have two people today, they're going to come on camera and they're going to come over here and I just want you to see them both and we're going to make an extension connection. So we have two lovely women that both do blotches on a quasar regularly basis, right? And what we're going to do is we're going to create extension connection in both of them. And you'll see plots is for all bodies. So if you could turn around for a second and then just take your hands in front of you like you're reaching for the ocean. Good. And then from here, take your hands up as high as you can and don't care how far it is. So what we're going to look for is what's happening in the back of the thighs, the buttocks, the back, the blades, and the neck.

All these things are what we're looking for to make a clear extension connection. And we're going to do that. Go ahead and take your arms down and then turn to your right and turn sideways. And now take your arms out to the side like a tea. Turn your palms up, and then reach your arms all the way to the ceiling. So in this picture here, you'll just notice where the arms are. You'll notice where the ribs are, some people's ribs go forward, some people's ribs come back.

We'll discuss the difference between what it means to Tuck the pelvis to get support or bring the ribs back to get spinal support. And we'll see what that looks like in both these individuals. And then take your arms all the way down by your side. All right, so in doing this, I'm going to take the client number one first that has a little bit of challenge in the upper back and the shoulders. And then we'll take client number two after. So in quiet number one here, we're going to have her come off of the edge of the table and she's been a lie down on her belly. And the first thing that we're going to create here is a differentiation of what I call spinal extension and hip extension.

So we need good activity and hip extension and good glute activity. That's going to be our base for upper body extension. And the way we do this is in this section right here. She is very much over the edge of this bed. So I really want you to kind of go ahead and bend your knees for a sec. Good.

And then your booty out just a little bit and then pull yourself forward just so you can, yeah, there you go. So that you're really supported by the table. You can also do this on the long box. We'll do this after and just a little bit. So in this differentiation exercise, now I'm gonna take my hand. I'm going to put it in the low back and in the low back. I don't want this low back to change. I don't want it to divot it down.

Simply being on your belly and prone is an extension force of the spine. So I'm going to leave my hand here. I'm not gonna worry about the shoulders right now. We're going to do that in a little bit. Taking this outside leg, reach it behind you just a smidge and start to lift it up off the ground. Good. So pause right there.

If I asked her if she thought her leg was level with her pelvis, she might actually say yes, but it's not level yet. So you're gonna reach that leg long pause right there. What am I looking for? I'm looking for Phi activation. I'm looking for glute activation and I'm looking for not to have a divot in the spine. Hold your leg there. It should be getting a little bit tired. Is that right? Yes. She says that's right. Now, one of the keys here is how do I support the no divot? Well, I still have to pull the belly button up.

The idea of navel to spine is okay, but I don't want her to change her spine, so I'm going to actually ask her to do a Kigo as well. That's really good. So you say, how do I know she's doing it because she's not dividending the spine and then lower the leg all the way down. I think my eyebrows are really raised on on that one because I feel I feel really strongly about this exercise. So now let's do it again. Take the leg out. Always important. Ask Yourself, why am I doing this? I'm doing this there. Now it's getting better because sometimes it just motor planning that gets it.

So can you reach this leg very long. Good. So you can see she's got good muscle tone in this glued here. She's not dividend her spine and she's going to make that like any longer, any longer, longer long s big, big inhale there. Exhale, lower it down slowly. This would be found in Quadra pet opposite arm and leg reach when we often get that sagging of the spine. So by having her over the edge of the table, it helps take away that compensation that could occur. So now take the same leg out again and now listen carefully.

Watch this without dropping your thigh. Bend your knee very good. And now it's press your thigh to the ceiling from the action of what your glute with the knee bent occupying the hamstring. It's less she's quivering right now. It's all right here in the bottom. There's no dividend. Her spine, and I'm going to say, can you live this? There you go. Doing really well. She wants to change something up here, but we're going to deal with that a little bit later.

Right now I'm making this connection between hip extension. You're doing really well and then lower that leg all the way down. Building the butt awareness and the back awareness to prepare for spinal extension and all the forces that come with it. Okay, so now you're going to come onto the table, onto your knees, and I'm going to take the long box. Actually, can you turn around in the other direction? Yes. So go ahead and go around the other direction and we're going to come this way. And I know this sounds like a picky thing, but when you have your feet over the edge of the table, what we're going to do here is just take away the ankle.

That's a whole tutorial on ankle mobility, et cetera. So we're just gonna let this come off of the edge here. Now your hands are going to come out on the box and kind of crawl forward with your hands up. Put your forehead down here. There you go. Good. Nobody was harmed during the preparation of this course. And this is, this is real time, but it's really good work to straighten the elbows here.

Good. So what are we doing here and why? It's extension connection. So why are we inflection? Well, we're inflection because when the arms come over the head, that shoulder flection, when the arms come over the head, the dividend wants to happen. So the way we minimize the dividending, I'm gonna give her a little hug here. The way we minimize the dividend is to make a little fluxion for the sake of creating extension. Later in this position here, her shins are pressing down. She's going to take big breath in this whole circumferential breath is whole idea. Now what you need to notice here is that this shoulder is nicely up.

This shoulder has been working through a frozen issue and teaching her this tutorial of extension for her upper back has really made a huge difference. She would not her head yes if she were standing up. But for right here we're gonna add some rotational mobility because in creating a rotation mobility that creates an axial or a spinal elongation. So go ahead and take this hand behind your back. So I'm going to tell her to, uh, be aware of her own dividend. So that means that the belly is going to, yes, that's it. Now take the shoulder blade and lift it up, and then let your head rotate to the left. Good. Now pause right there.

That's a little stiff in there. So I want you to turn your whole chest towards the camera. Good. And now take the biggest inhale you can. And then exhale, rotate your spine back down. And then again, gather this blade back towards your spine. Good. And then open your whole chest. I don't want to do it for you. I want to do it. I want you to do it some more and then lower down.

You're gonna do that one more time. Hand presses down, gently. Come on. You gotta pull the shoulder blade towards your spine because the blade isn't overhead in this position. It can navigate towards the spine, even, even on a little bit of downward rotation. And then rest yourself right there. Put that hand back on the box. We'll quickly do the other side just as we prepare. So on this side, now her hand is in her low back. Can you give me a little more action through this arm right here? Good.

So now you're going to open your chest towards the window, looking for the sharks open and then down. So can you see indirectly this relationship all through here, which will become Latisse and miss lengthening, twist your trunk again, inhale, and then return. Feel how your body wants to shift to the left and try not to let it shift. Okay, so awareness, we have to make a notice before we make a change and then lower yourself all the way down. Very good. And then bring yourself all the way up. And now we're going to crawl forward. And you're going to lie on this box with your tummy right here.

And put your right hand down. Actually, let me have your glasses for you for a second. There you go. And put your hand on the box and put your forehead on your hand. So now here we are combining these two positions together. So now she's going to press her shins down, ankles over the edge in case somebody has a ankle mobility challenge. And now we're gonna start our blade awareness for how we create extension and the upper back. So she's prone or in Quadrat pad.

This arm right here is going to come by your side. And I like to say like a soldier. So it's nice and long. So this right here is an exercise. Okay? And now she's going to take her blade and bring it towards her spine. There you go. Just like that. So now she's asked to, she has no dividend her low back.

So now we're starting to build the blade awareness on the thoracic spine, right? Can you feel that there? That's very good. And then lower your arm down. Let everything that's good. And take it towards the floor over there. Way Down there on the table. Good. What exercise does this look like? Well, in its advanced form, this will become pulling straps again. We'll get to that later. So blade comes towards your spine, arm reaches back behind you. Very good job.

Stretch long tricep working like mad blade, working like mad. Now press this right arm downward into the box. Start to lift your chest upward from here. Good. You hold that. Now pull your tummy in because you're not gonna divot that spine, right? Not gonna Debit the spine. Very good. And then slowly lower yourself down. Very good. Take two arms down by your side.

So because right now she looks a little Hanky in her head. I'm going to put this little towel here. You're going to put your forehead on this. So now we're gonna do both blade awarenesses. So with her arms in front of her, this is just her blade at 90 degrees so the blade can come and snuggle itself on the rib cage. Okay, now two arms pull back. She's holding herself right here. Her Shins are pressing down. This is work.

Your blade action will help direct your arm. Your arm action does not direct your blade. So important from here. Now I'm going to hold this tail. You're just going to lift your head up and lift your chest up. Good. Pause right there. Notice how your head wants to go faster than your chest, right? Don't let it lift the chest. You got it.

Take the biggest inhale you can. Biggest exhale. Reach your arms long and slowly, slowly lower yourself down. Chest, then your head. Good job, good job. And then the head comes all the way down and then rest five more. 50 more. How about one more? Okay, I'm going to watch the Devitt shoulder blades come together. Arms pull back. Why is this important?

Because if you didn't pay attention to the body type and shape up above, it'll go right to the divot. Not sure it really ever said divot before, but it makes sense. It's not dividends. So her belly button is like a vacuum and it's like pulling up a little tiny cotton ball underneath. Yeah, she's not tucking or anything like that. And then pull the blades back. Reach your arms long. Come on, lift the chest. Shyness necklace forward. All those. Hold yourself right there. Now give me the blades. The blades are your challenge. That's the blades.

The blades are her challenge. More blade. Hold the blade, reach your arms long. Hold the blade. Big Inhale. When you lower down, lower this part first, then your chest, then your chest, then your head. Everything comes all the way down. Whew, that's really good. Okay, so that's the shoulders preparation. So now how do we make this harder? For a beginner, you're going to take this away. Hands come underneath the head.

So we've just moved the lever arm from way down here to up here. So now with the arms and the elbows here, as she lives her elbows, her shoulder blades are actually in a position of upward rotation. There'll be another tutorial on upward rotation and swimming and those kinds of exercises. But for right now, just suffice it to say that her blades are in upward rotation. Her base is set from her shins pressing her pelvis is heavy. She's not a big Tucker. She knows how she has to be corely aware.

What is core aware? Core activation. Core relationship, right? All these things are so important. Sometimes it's not more core. Sometimes it's more relationship. Now lift the face. We'll take your hands to your forehead. Hold yourself there. So in this position right here, I want her to take her thoracic spine and lift it up.

Yeah, like this distance we'll get shorter. So come on, come on up. You're doing it. Big Inhale right there. Hold right there. Oh, you want to lift your head so bad and then lower yourself all the way down. Very good like that. So all that has to be understood before we just start pulling the heck out of those straps. And then the shoulder blades internally rotate and all that. Got To get all this set up. Next awareness, take your arms out to the side. Kind of like a goalpost.

Take this towel back here. Please. Put this underneath your forehead. So yeah. So why is this important and why am I putting that? Tell you I don't want her to hang down. Right? So this just, there is a normal curve in the spine. She has a little bit of Kyphotic, which is fine, but we just still have to work on this extension as I chat. She's exercising. Oh, see how that shoulder there still a little bit limited. Notice the position of the wrist, how the wrist wants to extend.

That's just because the shoulders having a hard time rotating, but it's so much better than it was. Can you hold that there? Good. Now start to grow yourself long before you lift up. Leave your arms where they are and now lift your face. Good. You're okay. And then lift the chest. Good. Now lift the arms. Okay. Fabulous job. That's the work. Still working on extension in the spine.

External rotation in the shoulders. What would be next here? Shooting the arms over her head, but we're not going to do it because it's not safe for her. And then lower herself all the way down. Very good. Swimming. Not a good option for her to do right now because her arms can't come level. Okay, so last exercise, um, for this extension connection is actually going to be come off of the box.

It may not be the last one. [inaudible] we'll just see. So I have this little towel here and what we're going to do here is I'm going to roll this up. [inaudible] she's going to lie on her belly. Go forward please. Until your ankles are just at the edge. Again, the ankles at the edge, just, just trying to get, um, uh, in case there's any ankle sorta tightness.

So now you'll see in this position there's a little space under here. So now lift up your bottom for me and we're going to put this towel there and, and she's actually going to help find where this goes. So let this come up a little bit higher. So this is now taking the place of, um, the edge of the bed. Okay. So what it's doing, let it come up just a little bit higher. Yeah, there we go. Okay, so, and then, and then length in your bottom. Okay. Can you feel that in that space where it was? You have to let me know.

Is that in about the same as place there was. Okay. So that's in about the same place. So what did I do? I don't know why I'm doing that except for, this is really fun. Anyway. Um, so, but what am I doing? Because people ask me that all the time. Although the sunny mineral students ask all the time, well, why, why? I love that question. Why?

So this towel here is underneath her hip to fill the space that's created from a tight front hip. And some people try to get away from that by tucking their bottom. And we that that's not going to ever change that, that talk. So what we want to do is we want to fill this empty space because we're building a relationship and we want to build a relationship from the legs of the pelvis, the pelvis to the spine, spine to the blades and the blades to the arm. Three Day workshop, right? But the bottom line is we have to give it support.

Just like any relationship, it needs support, it needs time, it needs attention, it needs time apart. You need days where you don't exercise, you just do your movement or go to the beach or something, right? So building a relationship takes time. It's not just the a bunch of exercise that you can do and all of a sudden you get better. You have to notice things first before you can make a change. So now with the towel underneath here, she's going to reach this leg long and then lift the thigh up. We'll do this kind of quickly. There you go. And lower down.

Do that again because what you can actually see is how the, yeah, there you go. And then rest. And now bend the knee. And now with the knee bent again, this is isolating the glute a little bit more. So lift the fire off. Good. Hold that right there. So I'm not really, it looks like I'm stabilizing her, but she's actually stabilizing herself. I'm just making a notice of this is working back as not dividend. Very good. Lower yourself all the way down. Now can you reach both your legs long?

Good. Okay, so now we have to prepare for Swan, right? So now we have the base here, which is, which isn't just squeeze your butt, right? It's take the center of your butt down. Almost feel like you're lifting your legs up, right? They don't have to lift, but it's just kinda that connection there. You're going to pull your belly button from underneath like your little Tommy has a little vacuum, right? You got a little cotton ball there. And now take your hands by your shoulders and now your elbows tucked into your side, your blade stay put. Push down on your arms to lift your chest up. Good.

Just pause right there. Don't need to change anything. Doing a good job. This is long a great job. You feel this predominantly now in your arms, right? Yes. And then in your blades, right? Good. But now feel your chest kind of go up your nose a little bit so that you get, yeah, there you go. Hold yourself right there. Now lift your head a little bit. Hold yourself right there. Now lower yourself down.

Lower this part of your tummy down. Then your ribs. Then your chest decelerating the motion. So what's happening now? This is assisted spinal extension from the arms. Stable base tidy up here. Good. Pull your belly. Press the hands. Lift up. One more time. Good. Now you're going to hold this now. Okay.

Now to make this active, she's going to get her shoulder blades back and now she's going to hover this hand off of the box or off of the mat. Hold yourself right there. Feel your thought. Yes. Yes. Good. She's sweating. Lower that arm down and then lift this arm and then this is alternating, right? So then lower that down and then take your torso down and then restaurant there. Whew. Okay.

So now we built assisted spinal extension from her arms, taking all the props away. Now let's take this away. [inaudible] I said swimming wasn't appropriate for her, but I'm going to show you the swimming that is appropriate for her because that is an extension connection. So scoot yourself to the left. Hmm. And let your arm hang off the bed and then let your arm come down here. Okay, so in this position here, okay, her shoulder blade is in a protracted position. It's down there on purpose, okay? Which is fine as she takes this arm.

Oh like that. That's going to be her swimming. So now there isn't any change here. There isn't any. I mean we keep my hand here on her head, no change here. So now her exercise is, hold this arm up. Don't let me move it. You can feel that in your shoulder, right? Don't change the dividend. You're back. You keep holding it good. Lower it down.

Hurt or hard or hard. We want the exercise to be hard, but we never want it to hurt. Take the arm out again. As that arm is reaching, this blade is coming around. Yes. And upward rotation. It doesn't lock down her back. It doesn't go into some joint. It moves. It's a very shallow joint actually.

I think that's actually a little bit higher. And then lower it down, lifted up one final time. Now as an exercise here, I'm going to keep my hand on the back of her neck. You know, like a little a mama cat holds up a little kitten because I don't want her to dividend or neck. So, and she's not, but I'm just monitoring that. And now from this position, raise your arm to touch mine five times up up three. Come on, four last time. Five lower all the way down and rest right there. Alright, and bring yourself back onto the table and have a sit back on your knees. And then just rest your spine. Very good rout. Relax your shoulders. Nice job. Okay, so next we're going to build this extension connection on somebody in some more intermediate to advanced exercises. But understand this is all where it starts.

Okay. So here we are with Sarah. Now she's going to come to her hands and knees and we're going to start to build our extension connection for more intermediate to advanced person. So the first thing that we have to be aware of is what is an extension force and when does it happen? So in this quadrant head position, what I'm going to ask first is go ahead and just sag this down like a divot. Typical people do this, not bad, but we don't know where the support is. So we have to kind of build the support.

So as these ribs come to the back of body, the ribs are kind of over the back of the pelvis. Okay? So it's not like pull your nail, your spine, support, everything. I mean all that happens, but we have to get a little awareness. I have this little, this little flat thing here. And so I'm going to come to her lowest part of her ribs and, and you're going to see there's a little space. There's a really good, that's fine.

So what I'd like her to do is just stay there and just notice what is hard about this. Gently press the shins. I'm going to take this away cause sometimes it just gets irritating. The blades are in a beautiful position so now she's supporting herself face down. So yes, it's front body core. Yes, it's front net core. This is actually a deep flection exercise and remember you need flection to make a connection for extension. So just holding this right here is the start of extension force at this level holding my hand here and her back.

You saw in the previous body how we don't want to make a divot. So we're going to take one leg, reach it out long and the first reach is only going to be for her to get an awareness of when this divot wants to happen. Everything else is challenged here. The neck has challenged, the thoracic spine is challenged. The lumbar spine is challenge the hip extensors challenge. She is working hard. You have to trust me. Bend the knee, bring it all the way down.

Do not bypass this exercise. I'm going to put my hand here so she doesn't need this. But sometimes for a client I make like a little, like a little pulling in of my top pan. I bought him like Kinda like a little sandwich. Take that same lake out again. Now that she has this awareness, she can do the broadening of the collarbones and all that need, but she doesn't really need that. So don't over cue your people.

Blades are in place. Ribs are back. This is the hardest part for her right here. Just to let you know, it's where these ribs are. Butts working. Fine leg is approaching full extension. Let's see it. No divot change. Come on. No dip pole. You're there but out. Pull your dividend. There's or debit coming up. Good.

Hold yourself right there and then lower the leg. Come all the way down. You want to sit back for a second? Rest are you okay? Okay, she's good. She's holding here. Take the right leg out. So I'm just gonna take the other leg out behind her. Okay. Soften the toe. We just don't need the big old pointed toe here to do anything.

What we're looking for is this extension connection in the hip. Oh my gosh. You should have felt the front of her belly. Did you? You felt that right there? Good. So he's just gonna keep this. Now let's go to this opposite arm. Okay, so this is real time just in a tutorial. So you're going to take this arm out in front of you so we're not going to like make this a big workout. We'll do that later in a mat class. Whoa. So now, yes, she's just correcting. She's correcting her Devitt she's doing it. Her ribs are coming back. Alternate left arm with right leg, right?

So she's not getting higher. She's just getting longer. She's getting x seal lengthening. Very much work stabilization, right shoulder blade. Very much work connecting through her back ribs, lower everything down. Rest right there. Please come up to kneeling. So now what happens? We need to make a connection in kneeling because now in some of these advanced exercises like pulling straps, back, bend by stretch, those kinds of things, we have to differentiate five from pelvis. Okay? So let's go ahead and take your right leg and put it right here in this offset position with the left leg back and the right leg forward.

There's a normal thing that Kinda sorta wants to happen. So go ahead and let it happen. Let your belly arch forward. There you go. And we did that, that she doesn't do that, but this typically happens to Clinton and they want to lunge and kind of get some stretch or whatever. But you know, we're not looking for that little stretch. We're looking for an awareness because oftentimes this stretch, um, that people feel is just like hip capsules, not really muscle awareness. Okay? So just stay there for a second. I'm going to take my little, uh, wooden piece again here and I actually think I'm going to come right here.

So this little board here, just have a look at what you see right there. Okay? And then what you see, I'll tell you what, can you hold this right here? Yeah. Now what I want you to see is that there's a space here. Now her body wants to Tuck to fill that space. Show them what that looks like. Okay? Now that Tuck is a thigh bulge.

Don't want the thigh bolt. Let that go. Now let me position. You're going to come back and your thigh. You're going to feel a little off kilter. You're going to come back in your thigh. There you go. Now to get rid of that space, I want you to push the middle part of your butt forward, not your, there you go.

Come on. Get it forward there. That's it. Good. Now I'm going to take this away. Take your arm, kind of like a soldier by your side, and now I bet she feels some kind of stretch, but it's not the kind of stretch that you think you get when you do a lunge. Okay? Because now her knees bent and you see this Phi here. This thigh is still forward, isn't it? So we're going to take, yeah, she could take this thigh even further back. You can put this head on this thigh for balance.

Such a key part here because this will come into play in five. Stretch, kneeling, arms, front, kneeling, arms back. Let's look what's happening here at the ribs. She's doing a really good job. She's corrected her Devitt right? You've already, we didn't even meet beforehand, right? So she's correcting her divot and is she just sucking her guts in more? No, she's positioning herself. She's making a notice before she makes a change.

So now let's go ahead and take this left arm to the ceiling and, and feel the length. Okay? Because people have to understand and recognize length also called axial extension before they go into extension. Now for some people, this is enough extension. Look how long this line is here. Center. The Butt Cheek is forward. It's not tucked there. Now she's going to start to lift her chest like this necklace is going to shine up and she's going to do a little arch in her upper back without bringing the abdomen forward. So what? Supporting this extension? The Butt on this side. There you go.

And then bring yourself to level and then lower your arm down. Let's just do the other side quickly so that as we get into some more advanced exercises in this tutorial, your both, your sides will be warmed up here. Okay, so the first awareness here again is the rib cage, right? So the back ribs over the back of the pelvis. So we're not going to go for a tuck. We're going to go for a lift. Can you feel that there? Good. Pressing this shin down. Okay.

So just as an exercise here, this is, this is just so important. Trust me, her thigh is really vertical. Now take your right arm up to the ceiling. Good. Why don't take both arms up. So it'd be a little balanced challenge as well. Right? So as this left leg presses down, so does the right shin, and then you eat long, get yourself up, and then you take a back bend. So the chest is lifting good. The blades are an upward rotation, they're kind of cuddling, kind of placing her ribs forward. And then bring yourself down. Rest, come back to your knees and just do that one more time.

Just to make a statement here. So can you see that if I took this shape of her body right now and I moved her on her belly, she would be in swimming or she would be in the end of breaststroke or she would be in double leg kick with the led version, not the arms because the arms go down by your side and then take your arms up and then lower yourself all the way down. Rest right there. Okay, so that's building an active feeling in the upper back while standing. So now just come in life flat on your belly. So boom, quadra pad to the belly. So now ankles are fine. They're not over the edge, okay? Because your ankles aren't tight. Remember just lying on your belly is an extension force. So then I make this assessment and I say, is there space here?

Do I need to fill that space or can she activate? Can you take this hand under your head just for the sake of the camera? Do I need to fill that space with a towel or can she activate that by thinking front of the hip crease down, barely lift the thigh up. Okay. That's so key. We have to be so careful that, um, I'm going to go ahead and ask her just to tuck her bottom because you'll see if she tucks her bottom. Excuse me. She's not even glued, she's just tucky and thigh bulgy. Okay. And then release, because that's really not what we want. Okay. So we want center of the Bud crease y center of the buttocks because it's the front of your hip joint.

And then as you think about lifting the leg in anticipation, that's what creates that awareness. Can you feel that there? Okay, so now take your hands by your side. You're gonna do just a little baby swan here with your hands. So in the lower body in preparation, we can go and squeeze the heels together like we typically do. That makes a nice connection here. Okay. And then she's going to use her hands. Take your hands back a little bit further. There we go.

Now as she lives up into extension in her upper body, I don't want this divot down here to go down into the ground. Okay, so she has to pull the belly button up. Yes. And now she's going to tuck her elbows into her ribs and she's going to keep lifting. [inaudible] good. I'm going to touch right underneath her belly. She's going to hold right there. She's quivering. Now the belly is still working in this e long gated position and she'll tell you it is. And then slowly lower yourself all the way back down.

Easy peasy for her. But you know where she's working really hard is all down in here and not to divot arms down by your side. So when you watch this body do this work and it looks like it's a certain way, understanding it is hard. It's hard to kind of make these connections and not just shove yourself into, um, you know, a saggy kind of position with the arms down by the side. The belly button pulls up. Keep your arms down first.

Let's talk to the blades first. The blades come together, then the arms hover a smidge. Good. And now reach your arms as long as you lift your chest. [inaudible] there you go. That's it. So resist squeezing your butt. That's it. Now it's happening automatically. Can you feel it? Yeah. Yeah. She shook her head. Yes. Good. So keep this lifting good.

And now as you lower down, still reach back. You got it. And that will become pulling straps. Good. And then lower yourself all the way down. Now take your hands under your head. Shorter lever arm. Moving it up to the center here. Okay. Uh, tidy up the legs. [inaudible] there you go. Now hover the belly. You got it.

And then lift the chest. Lift the head. Not As high. Just hold yourself right there. Think of yourself long. Let these blades come out through your elbows. Let the you got it. Just like that. Now from here, take your arms long into that swimming shape. Palms down. You're going to hold yourself right there. Big Inhale. Big exhale.

Light everything all the way down. Very good. Okay. Bring yourself up to your hands and knees. Making another connection now. Okay, so we've established that she can actually do active extension against gravity. So now you're going to come on here and lie your body over this. Yeah, there's another tutorial that I do. I'll just plug it here.

It's called long box with benefits. Lots of different things we can do on the long box to get different connections. Okay. So you saw our other client on here working, uh, for different reasons. But now on this more advanced body, what we're going to do is actually take her further off of the box.

[inaudible] yeah. And, and she's actually going to come into what I call like a little makeshift hundred [inaudible] connection, right? So she's actually going to be inflecting you can put your hands on the edge of the table here just to kind of support yourself. Okay. So she's in this flexed position here because what I want to teach a more advanced body is how to journey. Okay. From this flexed position to just a lengthened position, legs are engaged. There's no space here. You got that right.

So that's really good. And again, um, she has to be an external rotation. You know, for me right now, it doesn't really matter right here because I actually prefer right here for them to be in a little bit of internal rotation. And that way the booty doesn't grab as much. So okay. So let's, and again, I'm not stabilizing her, I'm just a very kind of hands on teacher, so I'm just giving her body feedback here. So now using your hands first, bring your body up to what you think is level. Yeah, family, but a little bit of divot. Can you see that? So it's really hard to go from [inaudible]. Okay. And then lower yourself down. Rest. Y'All right there. Okay. I'm going to give you a little cue here now.

Okay. You feel my hands on the back of the ribs. I actually want you to lift your back ribs physically up into my hand. Nope. This part like, yes, there you go. So it's this part. So she's actually having to think of more flection. Right? So she's keeping her hundred [inaudible] connection in, in lifting up her ribs.

Now she's gonna hold that while she eat long gates, the front of her body. And isn't that what extension is? Is He long getting good now? Can you hold that hover one arm up? Good. Even keep it close into your and then hover the other arm up. Yeah, no divot change. Can you feel that? No divot change. Keep the belly, keep vacuuming that little cotton ball up. Oh, she did it. Good. And then lower yourself all the way down. Why is this important?

Because if I let her go, she could just throw her head all the way back. We want to build this relationship around the circumference of the core, right? So core, um, it's, it's just a relation. It's gotta be integrated to what your arms and what your legs do. Okay. I've held her here long enough. Uh, come on over here. We're going to put this on the reformer now and going into long box pulling straps and breaststroke, progressing the extension connection onto the reformer.

We're going to do long box. So you're going to come on your tummy here on the long box facing the straps. I'm starting this with a red and a blue spring because I want it to be heavy. Okay. Just to regroup here briefly, she's over the box and I'd like her to be a little over the box like we created just a second ago. So first I'm going to have you grab Kinda high on the strap. Grab right where that tape is. Take your straps off, put them down by the side.

What's the connection here? What is the extension connection here? Size Center. The Butt Cheek. No divot meaning the belly is still pulled in. Ribs are there. They're not off of the box, but they're not sagging into the box. Okay. Start to pull your arms back. You're not going to lift up high.

Pull the arms all the way back. It's heavy spring. I want it to be heavy. I want to challenge her. She's going to hold this. She's going to breathe in. She's not going to come up into extension yet. Yes, she's growing long. You're going to hold that good. Slowly. Lower your arms down slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly hurt her. Hard. Hard. Okay, good. Pull it again. Tidy up the legs, right? Yes, there you go.

And she's really not like over squeezing her bottom. She's letting the front hip crease go down. Now that I know she's got the arm strength and the blade awareness. Go ahead and start to journey your chest up into extension. Go ahead and let your head lift because this is extension.

She's holding your arms really strong and then lower yourself all the way down. I didn't mean to yell, but it does get exciting. Stay right there for me for a second. Now I'm going to lower the spring to one red, so it's going to be a little lighter, but I want her to do arm extension and spine extension simultaneously. Ready? Inhale, pull back, lift up. That's your inhale. Come on.

Inhale. Inhale, inhale. Inhale, inhale, exhale, pause. Inhale, circumferential breath. Exhale, slowly lower yourself all the way down. Chewing it a little bit differently. You all right with me? Pull your arms back. Inhale, lift yourself up when you lower down. Don't drop your head first. Lower your ribs first, then your don't lower that head. Then come down. That's it. Chest, chest, chest, chest. Feel the difference. It's a sequence. Okay. Now, same thing. Sequencing up. Don't lift your spine first. Gather your arms, gather your arm strength. Gather your lat strength, your bet. Come on.

Full pull pulls. Lighter spring, pull, pull, pull, pull, pulled. Now lift the chest. Lift the face, lift one last big inhale. Exhale, slowly, slowly, lower down. Slow. No, drop that head. Don't drop that head and then everything comes down. Got It. One more time. Inhale, pull. We're going to change it up at the end here. Pull your arms. There's your arms. That's it. And I do shoulder extension.

And now lift up the chest and now lift up the head. You're going to hold that right there. Take a big inhale. Take your arms out to the side, like a t. Palms down. You're going to hold that right. They're going to stay as long as you can, and now don't lower your arms, but lower your chest with your arms simultaneously and then go all the way forward over the box into flection, and then let your arms rest. Let the straps go. Stay there with me for a second. The straps go.

She's now inflection over the box. Now as an exercise for this upwardly rotated shoulder, let me have this arm as an exercise. You're going to just lift your arm like that. Hold that palm down. Please hold that right there. This blade is an upward rotation. Now as she lives this arm, it's all the blade doing the work because I'm not letting her extend her spine, so she's using can you feel that in your arm? Good. Lower yourself to him. Woo.

Let's do the other one again because her spine is now inflection. It's allowing her shoulder to lift up. To get the shoulder blade is actually a lower trap exercise, but it's just to get that arm lifted. And now can you lift your chest, lift your arms in front of you? Yeah, there you go. I know I didn't say that. Lift your arms. Lift your chest. Yes.

And then lift your chest. Lift your face. That's it. Now tighten the thighs. Lift your back ribs, all those pieces. Now just get long. Front, body, long, front body. That's it. And then bring yourself all the way down. Come on off the box. Turn in the other direction. Plays. Okay. All right, so in the other direction, she's going to lie on her belly. So bring yourself a back just a little bit. Okay.

Now the handles are on here. I'm just going to make a point here relatively quickly. Uh, we'll go ahead and just rest your head where you're comfortable there for a second. Just so I can make a point here. Bend this right knee. I usually would use a strap. What'd you going to put in the handle? Just going to make a little point here. As we do a hamstring curl. If I concentrate more on lifting the thigh, whoa.

Then we're going to see the center of the butt cheek and we're going to see no space here. Okay? So as I do this exercise like this, I feel the button, the thigh connection, and then I release it. Okay? I'm gonna do it in the other leg. Why? Why am I making a hip extension connection? Because we're getting ready to do a breaststroke and we got to really find where there's buttocks is. So she's going to do a little lift, a little lift of the thigh, holding the buttocks right there, and then lower the leg down. She's quivering. And then bring yourself all the way down.

Great. So now we have the stabilization of the buttocks coming into place. Now bend both of your knees for me and then, and then flex your feet and lift both your thighs to the ceiling as if the straps were there. Good. And now press your arms into the front of the box and lift your chest up. Okay, so now this gets to be a little more of an extension connection here. Take one arm out in front of you, take the other arm out in front of you, and then hold right there, right? And then everything rests down. And now we're ready for breaststroke. Okay, our final exercise. So she's on one red spring.

I'm going to take these straps, I'm going to pull her carriage, but your hands right here. Grab bind by your side and leave your hands back like that for me. Okay, there you go. So lift your face just till it's level with your spine. Turn your palms down to the floor and do a bicep curl to pull your arms forward. Pause right there. There's the start of our load. Release your arms. Turn your palms back up to the ceiling.

It's a full exercise thighs, long center of the butt cheek. No space, no divot. Turn your palms, bend your elbows to a bicep. Good. Now, as you start to push your arms over your head, don't lift your spine yet, so do an overhead press with your arms. There you go. Beautiful job. Push your arms long. Don't pull your shoulders down your back, but push your blades away from you. Slowly release the arms. Bicep. Curl your arms to come back. Take your arms behind you. Pause yourself right there. You're doing all right. Okay. That bicep.

Curl your arms, tidy the legs. Reach your arms in front of you. Now continue to push your arms forward. Lift your chest up. I'm going to push your legs down. Hold yourself right there. Open your arms out to the side and then lower your trunk. Chet, not the head, the chest, the shoulder blades, the head. Turn your poems. Very good. Last time, Bicep, turn your palms down.

Bicep curl, pause. Got To get to the overhead press. Can't miss this. Overhead prices is a big extension connection here. And then we go ahead and go up into extension, look out that window over there, push your arms, push them up, up, up, up, up, good. Open your arms, out to the side. There you go. And then lower your ribcage and then your chest and then [inaudible] your head. And then we are [inaudible].

So in this extension connection tutorial, um, I'm trusting that you see the challenge of different bodies doing [inaudible]. I believe holidays is for all bodies and we work to create connections, uh, building it at [inaudible]. Um, when I say lower level, it doesn't necessarily mean it super easy, but a lower level awareness helps the person become mentally prepared. Like, where am I supposed to feel this? What am I supposed to do? How the heck am I going to do it and where am I going? So in its fullest form, the extension connection would be something like standing up straight to go all the way back into a back bend, you know, from the arms all the way over your head and going backwards, whether we ever get there or not. To me doesn't really [inaudible] but it's the journey into how we get there.

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1 person likes this.
I always learn so much from you Karen. You make it all very accessible. Thank you.
Laura B
1 person likes this.
This was very informative. I appreciate how you used 2 different bodies with varying abilities to show how to help each one achieve extension properly. Thank you!
Karen Sanzo
1 person likes this.
Thank you both for the first two comments. This tutorial could've gone on a long time. I have a lot to say as we progress into backbending over the short box and into active backbending following thigh stretch.
Stay tuned.
3 people like this.
Love this, so much information... I will be watching this many times over to get it all into my little brain! Love you!
So great to have another class from you, [Karen Sanzo. Such important work for all of us.
Karen Sanzo, this is such great information! Thank you!
Karen thank you ! You really have a wonderful teaching voice :)
1 person likes this.
Awesome thank You thank You :)
1 person likes this.
Karen, this is so helpful to breakdown all the details so clearly. when you get to the exercise this makes sense working hard where you should.
1 person likes this.
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