Standing Side Reach

This is a great way to lengthen the spine in pure lateral flexion.

There are different ways of cuing this movement, some people do it from the head but personally I feel you gain more core focus and control by initiating the movement from the ribs.  So in class we talk about lifting the bottom rib away from the hip keeping the pelvis still, and for the return the focus is on the core returning the rib first.

Remember to keep that underneath shoulder released by allowing length in that bottom arm.

To keep this a pure lateral flexion try to prevent the top shoulder rolling forward taking you into thoracic flexion. Imagine your shoulder blades are in contact with a wall behind you throughout the whole movement.

The demonstrator is flexing her wrists which can lead to unwanted tension in the arms and can take the focus away from the movement, so try to keep your joints in good alignment. Keep looking forward also, your head and then spine will go where your eyes lead!

Variations:

Deeper flexion – take the legs wider.

Balance – keep legs together in parallel or Pilates stance (1st position if you’re ballet minded) narrowing your base of support.