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How to Do Side Bends in Pilates

Learn how to do side bends, an advanced Pilates Mat exercise, from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.

Transcript

Next is side bends which occurs after the kneeling sidekick series. So,
you'll turn to face the side of the mat and get into your mermaid position.
So this exercise graduates the mermaid. It's a more distal, more balanced
approach to mermaid and therefore more strenuous and advanced. So you'll
start with your left palm on the mat, your wrist under your shoulder and
then extend your legs to the sides and lift your hips. So you're getting
into a side plank position with the feet stacked and your top arm is long
over the top leg. Now look up towards your top shoulder and from here,
lower your hips toward the mat and lift them. Do two more times and lift.
Lower the hips and lift. On this last one, lift your arm up toward the
ceiling, then turn to look over your fingers in a nice long stretch.

Then with control, lower your knees, lower your arm and then transition to
the other side. That's it. And from here, you'll slide your right hand
underneath your shoulder and extend your legs back out to your long side
position, side plank position. From here look up towards your top shoulder.
Then keeping your body as long nice piece, lower your hips toward the mat
and lift. So your arm is a guide. It’s support that's helping you so you
don't let your body completely drop down to the mat, keeping everything
very linear, shoulders hips, ankles, stacked. Then on this last one, you'll
lift your arm up, look over the fingertips, hold it here, stretch from your
fingers all the way to your heels, then bend your knees and have a seat to
the mat.

There is a modification if the straight arm version is a little
too challenging, you can lower down onto a forearm. So you can bend your
forearm, that's it, and just bring your fist forward along the mat, just like this.
That's it. And then extend your legs nice and long and lift the hips here.
So this is a more preparatory approach for you. And then lower the hips right back
down and come up to seated and that's side bends.

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