Adding Rotation to your Pilates Mat repertoire
Joseph Pilates said "If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30 you are old, if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young." I believe in this idea so much that I always incorporate rotational exercises into every class, alongside flexion, and extension.
Twisting exercises improve the flexibility of your spine regardless of your age. Our days are filled with seemingly simple tasks such as shoulder checks while driving or reaching for something behind you. Twisting exercises focus on your oblique muscles and your range of motion. By doing them you will gain strength and increase your ability to do these tasks throughout your day. If you do not, you run the risk of becoming stiff and inflexible through your spine, making these tasks increasingly difficult.
The Pilates mat repertoire includes both active and passive twisting exercises:
A passive exercise means the weight of the legs or arms moving through space facilitates the rotation of the spine. Tic Toc, Corkscrew and CAN-CAN are all passive exercises
An active exercise engages the oblique muscles and spinal rotators by working/ twisting the torso. Seated spine twist, SAW and Criss Cross are all active exercises.
It is important to include both active & passive rotation exercises when doing Pilates. When combined you will benefit from strengthening your oblique muscles and by continuing to use the range of motion you have through your torso, keeping you strong & flexible for those everyday tasks!