Focus of the Week 4.4 - 4.9

Sculpting with Sidebends 

Longer waist
More flexibility in the spine 
Better shoulder girdle placement 
Less stiffness in the upper and mid-back. 

Here is what to focus on in class to give you the side bending results you want:

1. Focus on bend in the upper body. It's all too easy to do it all from the neck and low back. 
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2. Avoid the side crunch, stay as long as you can on the under side of the bend. 

Avoid the crunch...       Go for length! 
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3. Integrate your shoulders. Use your scapula (shoulders blades) down the back to help you side bend. 
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4. Avoid combining lateral flexion and rotation in the lower back 


Anatomy of a side bend

Side bending or lateral flexion movement of the spine from side to side. When side bending each vertebra in the spine goes through a sliding motion relative to the vertebra above and below.

Notice in the image below...the facet joints slide on each other.

For example if you bend to the right the facet joints close on the right and open on the left. 

The importance of each facet working as it should greatly improves your ability to go into extension and flexion. (forward bends and back bends) Another words side bends will prime your spine for better movement. 
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Let's take a look at some do's and don't do's. The strong tendency is to bend from a place you are already good at bending. Most fitness classes do not encourage an even bend through the spine and fitness enthusiast learn to bend in the same area over and over again. This creates a shorter waist and the repetitive motion creates too much mobility in the lower back and stiffness in the upper. 

Notice this image. The red dots placed on her spine are not making an arc, ideally the spine should be where the green dots are. 

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