Foundations: Maintain Hip/Spine Alignment
Quick Intro: Marching & Toe Taps
Essentially these two exercises are the same, though Marching is easier than Toe Taps because you’ll only have one leg n the air at one time, the other is resting on the floor rather than being held in Tabletop position. This means that the Deep Abdominal Activation required to keep the abdominals active and pulled in is significantly greater for Toe Taps.
What’s it good for?
🌟 Both these exercises are help to strengthen all the muscles and fascia that help stabilise our pelvis.
🌟 In addition they introduce us to the idea of creating abdominal activation and coordinating breath with movement – two skills that will pay dividends as we deepen in our Pilates practice.
🌟 One difficulty for many people is keeping the knee perfectly stable at a right angle. Resisting the urge to bend the knee is a challenge that teaches us “Precision” and “Control” – two Principles of Pilates.
Toe Taps are more challenging!
Both legs are held in tabletop position simultaneously! Maintain a stable pelvis and don’t let the abdominals pop out -just as you lift the knee – sink the abdominals in deeper!
A quick “how to”…
🌟 Lying face up, push your heels out so that you have a 90 degree angle at the knee. Do a little Pelvic Rocking to identify where your neutral position is. Alternatively, you can think of connecting your tailbone to the mat and your lower ribs, leaving a slight space under your lower back.
🌟 Sink your abdominals in towards your spine (see fingertip abdominals).
🌟 Take a sip of breath through your nose and begin the movement by exhaling through your mouth.
🌟 Keeping your knee at 90 degrees, elevate your leg to tabletop position.
🌟 Again, take a little sip of breath and initiating the movement with your exhalation, lower your leg back to the floor.
Hints & Tips:
🌟 Imagine that helium balloons are attached to your legs as they float up.
🌟 Imagine you have a bowl of hot soup in your abdomen – don’t spill it as you legs rise up!
🌟 Imagine you have a pulley attached to the base of your spine and the rope is attached to just below the knee joint. Slowly, turn the pulley to tighten the rope, that lifts up the knee…
🌟 Keep your pelvis from rocking backwards and forwards.
🌟 Keep the abdominal muscles pulled in so that they don’t pop out.
🌟 Keep your hip joint and knee at 90 degrees.
🌟 Point your foot.
🌟 Before you start:
- Practice your Rib breathing
- Practice Fingertip Abdominals
these will help you to achieve the deep Abdominal Activation / Connection that really helps with this exercise.
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