Note: The exercise links within the text will lead to Youtube. For links directly inside the Encyclopedia, scroll down to the end of the post.
I love challenging spinal stabilizers on the transverse plane with weight distribution exercises.
For example, I’ll be teaching Knee Folds or Marching. You lie on your back and lift or hover one foot above the mat without rocking your pelvis. Many of my students initially don’t notice that their pelvis is unstable and falls to the side where the leg lifts. After they feel that it’s happening, they might be able to correct it, but they might not. Taking all the weight off one foot might be too much load for the core and spine stabilizer muscles to deal with.
So we regress. We start with 50 percent of the weight on each foot, evenly distributed. Then we shift 60 percent onto the right, which leaves 40 percent of weight on the left foot. At this point, they might still be able to keep the pelvis from tipping to the left. Alternate. If that works, then we’ll move on to 70/30, then 80/20 and so on, until they are able to lift the right foot fully off the ground. If you(r student) is deconditioned then this might take a while, weeks, months, years. #bepatient
Another fun way to practice this technique is in Bridging. After rolling up into the Bridge position, start to transfer 60% of your weight onto your right foot without shifting your body. There shouldn’t be any visible movement. One of my students said, “Oh, you want me to keep it secret.” Yes! Exactly.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a huge fan of regressions as a tool to build true foundational strength in good alignment.
Here are the direct links to the exercises mentioned in this post in the Pilates Encyclopedia:
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