Being tech savvy takes a toll on the body. With all the time we spend staring at screens, our peripheral vision skills are severely underdeveloped. And plenty of exercise programs, like treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals, keep our eyes glued forward while our bodies aren’t moving anywhere at all. Unfortunately this all adds up to a lack of proprioceptive skills. Difficulty in applying motor control and coordination in spatial navigation—that is, knowing where to move a body part without looking at it—can make it tough to teach sagittal/coronal plane reformer exercises in a group setting.
I absolutely love the side-over on the reformer. Except when I hate it. On the one hand, I love the feeling of shooting through the air like a torpedo with only my outer ankle pressed against a thin strip of fabric. On the other hand, I hate feeling like no matter how hard I try, if there isn’t a mirror, I can’t tell if I have rotated, extended, or flexed my spine instead of easily gliding through lateral flexion and extension with a neutral spine. That’s a proprioception problem. This conundrum sparked me to design a workshop that would prepare me and my students to practice the side-over without always feeling unsure of our place in space.
One of the many exercises I teach in my Pilates Deconstructed™ Side-Over Workshop is called the “Buoyant Boomerang.” It is a wonderfully relaxing, dynamic side stretch that I learned from my friend and colleague Louis Jackson. I love it because it mimics the movement of the side-over while providing feedback from your hands to your feet and the ground beneath. Watch the video below and give this “sliding side-over” a try.
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