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I Love Rotation

When exercising most people use the same basic bilateral movements. A bilateral movement is performed when the body squared and you are using both arms and legs simultaneously - squats, pull ups, running, rowing and spinning. However there are virtually zero challenges in daily life or sport which are simply bilateral in nature, real life requires rotational movement.

Rotational exercises can improve safety and functionality in daily movements. Activities such as climbing stairs, getting into your car, throwing a ball, picking up a child, cleaning etc all need a varying degree of rotation. Therefore it’s necessary to integrate rotational movements into your exercise routine or attend classes where you move in this way. Rotation is one of my favourite movements, not only do a I feel great when my waistband has been rung out like a towel but my back and hips thank me later.

Not only are rotational exercises great for every day function and to mitigate pain, these exercises will better prepare the body for unpredictable scenarios like shovelling snow, climbing out of a tricky situation, helping someone in need, and other situations life presents which we are not prepared for by only performing squats and planks. The types of situations you say afterwards ‘I’ve done my back in’. 

Unfortunately as bilateral movement dominates in life and many fitness programs, rotation ends up being one the those 'if you don’t use you lose things'. As we age, we become unable to move in certain ways and most of the time is usually because we’ve stopped practicing them. Here are some exercises you can do from home

Rotation Exercises Mat Pilates

1) Knee Rocks - lie flat on your back with the knees bent and feet just wider than hips. Place your arms in a goalpost position with the elbows at shoulder height. The idea is to keep the shoulders grounded, as you rock your knees heavy to the left the right shoulder blade should be cemented to the mat. Then do the same the other way. It’s best to hold the knee drop for as long as you can and breathe in to the lower back and ribs.

2) Low Lunge, Torso Rotation - in torso rotation we pivot the ribs over the pelvis. In order for that be achieved the hips have to remain still, very still. Using a starting position where it's challenging for the hips to move is the best place for torso rotation. In this low lunge the left leg is boxed forward and the right knee is on the mat under my right hip. Confirm that your joints are stacked as when the knee and foot are too far away from each other or two close the the midline balance will be difficult (think train tracks instead of a tightrope). With my hands behind my head I rotate the ribs to the left keeping my legs and hips stabilised. 

Rotation Reformer Exercise

3) Reformer Low Lunge, Single Arm Row - this is where it gets wobbly! Instead of the hands behind the head, the same arm as the forward leg pulls the resistance loading the rotational force. This fires into the obliques moving the machine forward, therefore the legs and hips are forced to stabilise to support the body. 

Rotation is a long journey, when keeping your hips still your ribs may not move much that’s okay. You’ll increase range over time, it’s more important to start with a stable base.

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