Workout by Louise Taube – Stretch Band Strength
Weather running on St Kilda beach daily or working at your desk, find that oh-so-important connection between your shoulders, lats and core.
I have often been asked to create at home programs. Here is one I created that focuses on the connection between the arms, shoulders and deep abdominals; something often lost with runners and full-time workers alike.
In our daily life we do a lot with just our arms, but there isn’t a connection to our core. These moves are designed to help you improve that connection and thus move more productively and smoothly through out your day, assisting with repetitive tasks sitting at the computer or more supporting tasks such as holding your posture upright while running on the beach. Using the stretch band will help you feel and improve the connection right through your arms, lats and core. Enjoy!
a. Lie on your back with you legs bent. Place the stretch band over your feet. Anchor your elbows on the mat alongside your waist keeping tension on the band. Keep your shoulders open. Inhale.
b. Exhale and extend your legs out to a 45-degree and, keeping your back flat on the mat. (If your back begins to arch you have taken your legs too low, lift them up a bit higher.)
c. Inhale as you draw the longest arc through space hinging your legs toward you while keeping your tail firmly anchored. Return to start in the same inhales. Repeat 6 times in this direction and then try it in the reverse.
a. Lying on your back with the band over your feet or hooked over a pole for support. Keep your shoulders wide into your back. Inhale.
b. Exhale and lengthen the back of your neck. Draw your abdominals in deep to your spine. Roll up articulating with segmental control through each bone in your spine.
c. Keep the pelvic as neutral as possible for as long as possible to really work your core.
d. Inhale at the top of the movement sitting high on your ischium. Exhale to reverse back to the start position. Inhale at the bottom and repeat the sequence 6 – 12 times.
Back extension with shoulder abduction
a. Lie on your stomach holding the stretch band behind your back, palms facing up. Imagine your spine becoming longer. If you feel discomfort in your lower back place a pillow under your tummy to allow more length through your lumbar spine. Inhale.
b. Exhale: lengthen through the crown of your skull lifting your upper body up off the floor, drawing your abdominal wall close to your spine while lifting up through pelvic floor, and pulling the stretch band sideways.
Inhale: lengthen even more and return to start position. The lumbar spine should not over extend – so there should be a little activity through the glutes, but you are not squeezing them, just activating them enough to stabilise the pelvis. Repeat 6 – 12 times.
a. Standing on the stretch band in Pilates stance. Bring the inside thighs towards each other as much as you can, with the toes slightly apart. (If Pilates stance feels uncomfortable in your hips work with your legs parallel and your toes and knees pointing forward.) Holding the stretch band firmly. Lengthen through your spine and imagine growing into the space above you. Inhale to prepare.
b. Exhale abducting your shoulders reaching the arms sideways, keeping length through your spine. (If you feel your shoulders lifting then make the move a little smaller).
Inhale to return to start position slowly. Don’t let the stretch band pull you back quickly. Control the movement to return. Repeat 6 – 12 times.
a. Standing on the stretch band, holding the band firmly. Lengthen through the spine. Inhale.
b. Exhale and pull the stretch band up, lifting your elbows and keeping your shoulders down, like you’re zipping up a jacket. Inhale and lower your arms back down to the start position. Repeat 6 – 12 times.
Remember to get the most out of your Pilates sessions you must come to the studio twice per week and practice two more times at home.