Today I’m going to introduce you a piece which I like to teach in my Pilates classes, called the Side Twist. I like this Pilates mat exercise because there aren’t many exercises that involves spinal rotation in mat Pilates, hence this gives balance to a mat Pilates workout. In addition, it is a challenging exercise which includes a large number of muscles in the different parts of this movement.
Tips when doing the Side Twist in Pilates classes
1. Press the support arm into the Pilates mat to reach your weight back towards the legs.
2. Think about lifting and rotating the pelvis up then rotating the lowering the pelvis back down.
3. Rotate the ribcage more to reach the arms when up.
4. Keep the pelvis high up to allow for more rotation.
5. Keep the legs straight to allow stretch to the back and outside of the standing leg.
Why rotate in Pilates classes?
With the massive usage of computers at work, a normal working person could be facing one direction for hours. This means the spine does not get any other movement other than bending forward to look at the screen closely. Hence rotating from side to side gives the spine another direction of movement. In Pilates classes, most teachers emphasize on doing the exercises equally on both sides and so this will allow both sides to be equally flexible. A very effective way of increasing flexibility is when you are in a ‘closed loop’ when exercising, which allows you to be at your end-range of movement and this exercise allows that.
There are also another group of people who needs this; those who love sports such as golf or tennis. They may be fanatics who play more than once a week and these sports involve a lot of rotation or twisting. Since these sports are typically power driven, it is easy to get injured if you over-exert yourself without being flexible or good in rotating. It is more crucial to have a good range in rotation than a pair of strong arms when generating power on the ball hence I highly recommend this piece!
What if I don’t do the Side Twist in Pilates classes?
Well you can do other mat Pilates exercises that are similar such as the Saw, Spine Twist, Criss Cross and Corkscrew. However I personally feel there are a whole lot of Pilates exercises that involves twisting the body if you are not restricted to just the Pilates mat workout. There are many Pilates equipment such as the Pilates reformer, Pilates chair, Cadillac, Spine corrector or even the signature Towelwork and Floorwork from Fletcher Pilates. There is so much more out there so don’t miss them!
After watching this video, please comment on your experience of this piece in your Pilates classes.