Fit Tip: Discover deeper alignment in Reverse Plank by using your breath.

TDM Master teacher trainer Maggie Calegari in Reverse Plank

 

Reverse plank is a very challenging position, especially when done correctly, and it’s one of my favorite challenges to add into a class. Reverse plank works your entire body and emphasizes chest opening with the added benefits of gaining powerful back body strength.

Here’s your set-up:

  • Sit with your legs straight in front of you, internally rotate your thigh bones in your pelvis and press your big toes together.
  • Place your hands directly behind your hips with your fingers pointing straight towards your seat (if your chest is tight you can fan your fingers out slightly as Maggie is doing above).
  • Bend your elbows backwards, tip your pelvis under, and lift your hips as high as you can.
  • Focus on finding one straight line from your toes to your head, lengthen the sides of your neck maintaining a neutral cervical curvature.
  • Use the strength of your back body to keep pressing chest, hips and legs upward.
  • If you need a modification bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and press your hips up from there. Aim for a straight line from knees to crown of head.

Once you get yourself aligned in position, use your breath to help you deepen the pose and discover the ability you have to align even deeper and additionally stay in the position a little longer. Find your new edge. Breathe to aid in helping you stay more aligned while finding new levels of challenge each time you resume this position. 

  • As you inhale reach your toes (or knees if modifying) and head as far away from each other as possible and feel the sides of your ribs lengthen.
  • On the exhale root down into your hands, broaden your collarbones (roll your chest open) and press your hips as high as possible. Repeat with the emphasis on your breath. Aim to hold for one minute.

Remember – breath is a powerful tool that allows you to work through difficulty and can help you discover then push past self imposed limitations. You are stronger than you think!

Word of the Month: Discover

WOM: Discover

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. Cicely Tyson

I love this picture of Master Teacher Trainer, Katina Griffin. It shows the power and capabilities we have to discover our own personal edge. There is so much thought and integration working throughout her entire body to hold this challenging position in phenomenal alignment. She’s focused and consistently discovering how she can align or engage deeper to reach her best potential – today.

Self discovery and experiencing new things are true passions of my own and I’m excited for our June word of the month: Discover. There’s so much in life to discover, to see and do and feel. I love to travel, be introduced to new cultures, experiences, sights, and to meet new people. I also love to play with movement. It allows me a chance to learn something new or experience something familiar in a very different way. So much of what we do at The Dailey Method is to help you discover what is inside of you. Our workout provides you opportunities in every class you take to uncover your best potential.  It calls on you to discover new challenges in a way that helps push you past your edge and onto greater achievements.

Here’s a few ways for you to “Discover” this month:

  1. Discover how your breath patterns can change the way an exercise feels. I tend to think generally the best technique is to inhale as you lengthen (move away from your center line) and exhale as you shorten (draw towards center line or the more exertive portion of the movement). But try it the other way and see if it changes the way you can engage. Or play with lengthening out your breath to see how that feels.
  2. Take different types of classes offered at your Studio or online this month. If you stick to Dailey Basics, try a Dailey Barre class. If you’re a Dailey Cyclist try a Dailey Interval class. If Dailey Interval or Dailey Fusion are generally you’re choice, try a Dailey Basics or Dailey Gentle instead. You may surprise yourself with what you discover which will inevitably help you gain even more out of the format you prefer.
  3. Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done. This can be as simple as going to a movie by yourself or as big a challenge as skydiving!
  4. Stop and smell the flowers. (such old advice, I know!!)
  5. Discover a new body part to focus on today in a position where you tend to think of the exercise as only one-dimensional. An example: In Narrow V thigh work – work on engaging your gluteals and hamstrings more as you squeeze your heels together. This will allow you to feel how the back body and inner thighs can work as hard as  your quadriceps during thigh work. Especially on the upward part of the movement.
  6. Transform your Dailey Method practice by discovering  new ways to shape “your edge”. And “edge” doesn’t always refer to intensity. Today, maybe you opt to take a couple more resets versus pushing through a difficult part of class. Try it! You could discover a segue to inviting more allowance for recovery time in every class you take therefore opening the door to a 4-5 day a week TDM practice versus only 1-2.  

There are so many things out there to enjoy and discover.

Have fun exploring!!

Jill

 

 

 

Fit Tip: Postural support through scapular strength

Great posture is something everyone would like to achieve. But it’s difficult for many because they haven’t been properly taught how. We’re generally instructed to:

  1. strengthen our back muscles
  2. work on core strength; primarily abdominal exercises
  3. stand up straight
  4. draw shoulder blades together and down your back

All of these (except possibly #4 if done too aggressively) are beneficial. But one thing that isn’t always emphasized is how integral the muscles that support our scapulae (shoulder blades) and rib cage are for our posture. Having these muscles both strong and flexible can tremendously help support proper alignment, spinal support and shoulder health.

The scapula, is the flat hand shaped bone that sits on top of the rib cage. It creates the shoulder joint where it meets with the head of the humerus-the bone of the upper arm. The scapula is an incredibly mobile bone that can move in six different directions. It’s nestled in sheaths of muscles that act alone or work together to create these movements.

In several different sections of my classes I like to teach a variation that is a functional movement of the scapula to draw attention to this part of your posture and help my students stand tall more effortlessly. Recognition is the first step to deeper strengthening and support of our muscle groups. The primary focus should be to keep your shoulder blades flat on your ribcage and move your shoulder blades around in circles on your ribcage. Try not to use your arms or the muscles of your neck to do the work.

  • stand in neutral spine
  • jawline drawn back
  • ribs back to confirm thoracic curvature
  • keep your shoulder blades wide and flat on your back
  • arm bones held in goal post position
  • slowly rotate your shoulder blades around in a circle 8 -12 times up/back/and around. You can do this with or without weights depending on your strength. Your arms will move but only because you’re moving your scapulae.

Now click to see it in action 

WOM: Action

Word of the Month: Action

A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement. Bo Bennett

 

This week I’m integrating back into my business after the annual Dailey Method Owners Summit; which is possibly my favorite weekend of the year. I love to see and be in the same room with the amazing people who have chosen to be part of this community. Who have the passion and drive for all things Dailey. We learn, laugh, toast and workout together for 4 incredibly full days. As a result, we each return to our businesses feeling inspired, rejuvenated and excited for all that’s to come. Ready to continue to act in and on our businesses.

This year, so many amazing partners participated! Each of their contributions are paramount to our ability to inspire our TDM communities through action. It’s a constant evolution behind the scenes in the same way you watch incremental changes to our class content. Without these two elements working together, none of us would be able to continue to grow. 

When people think about The Dailey Method, the word “action” is prominent. It’s exercise, it’s based on our bodies in movement. But what I challenge you to think about this month is the intention behind the action. We all know, or have heard multiple times that “actions speak louder than words”. One of my consistent goals is to be the example I want to set. People learn from what we do so much more than what we say. If you have children this is probably already very clear to you. It’s much more effectual to demonstrate the behavior we desire, act on it, instead of just saying it. It’s similar when I lead a team of students, owners and teachers worldwide to be their best for the TDM company. I know I need to do my best to practice what I preach. I know that everyday it’s about the small actions I take that make the largest impact.

The TDM class is a consistent work in progress. Speaking of actions, I’m grateful and excited to continually innovate and expand the Method. I can’t give it away, but I’m certain you’ll be as thrilled as I am to see the exciting things we have to offer you over the next few months. Your workout, body, mind and overall experience at TDM will always continue to evolve and expand. 

I believe the act of postural awareness and alignment we teach in our classes is an amazing way for you to demonstrate and act how you want to be portrayed. It’s real. When you have better posture and feel better in your body, you demonstrate that through confidence and ease. And we can guide, lead, be an example so much more when we are physically comfortable.

And to end – one of my very favorite actions is the act of smiling. I know when I do that I make other people smile, other people feel better than they might have a moment before. I hope you take this month to think about how you act and how you can use that to impact.

Jill

 

 

 

The Dailey Method Fit Tip/ Parallel Squat

Fit tip/Parallel Squat

Knowledge is power! At The Dailey Method we understand that the more knowledge we can give you, the more power you each have to continually evolve within and deepen your practice. Education is a primary key to changing the way we all move for the better.

Take Parallel Squat as an example:

This is an exercise that has been around for a long time and it is highlighted in many different types of fitness classes because of its effectiveness. It’s primarily thought of as a thigh exercise but at TDM we consider it one of our “thigh/seat” combos because there is tremendous strength to be gained in your gluteals and hamstrings on the upward part of the movement. These muscles live at the base of your spine and help you stabilize in all movement. They assist you in achieving better balance and do a huge job with respect to supporting a healthier spine as you move through life.  

Like all of the exercises we teach, Parallel Squat is a functional exercise. While aligning and maintaining neutral spine during the movement you are training your body to bend and lift in its most supported state. This translates in so many practical ways and applies to your everyday activities in life. Picking up your kids when they need you, or sitting down and getting up off of a chair are only a few notable and integral ways to understand the importance of the health and strength of these muscles. Your mind and body will work together to create this movement safely and efficiently because you’ve already practiced the training in our classes, online videos or on your own.

Parallel squat is also an exercise that provides you with the tremendous benefits of strengthening your knee joint. This can help offset or rehabilitate knee problems, especially the more common ones that are medial or lateral to the joint.

It’s pertinent to know that there are subtle differences in the location of the acetabulum (the socket of your pelvis where your femur inserts) and the length of the femur (thigh bone). This results in making different squat variations more or less challenging in different bodies. Always prioritize alignment and active muscular engagement over depth and range of motion. Your neighbor may be lower but you’re both doing what’s ideal for your own body type.

Here’s how to do the perfect Parallel Squat.

  1. Feet are parallel and hip distance apart. This can be visualized by lining up the center of your foot with the bony protuberance in the front of your pelvis (ASIS).
  2. Feel your weight distribution evenly through all four corners of your feet, bend your knees as deeply as you can. Your knees will come forward of your ankle joint but must stay behind your toes.
  3. Lift your torso as upright as you can, maintaining neutral spine. It will be a parallel angle with your shins but the more you focus on lifting your torso upright the more capacity you have to
  4. While extending your legs focus on the energy of pressing upright from your gluteals and the energy of dragging your heels behind you to engage your hamstrings. On the lowering position envision the elongation of your quadriceps. This will keep them engaged throughout and help encourage a longer, stronger muscle.
  5. As you bend your knees, keeping them aligned over the centerline of the foot gives you the support of both the inner thighs and the outer thighs. Pay attention to hugging your inner shins towards one another while pressing your inner thighs away from each other at the same time throughout the bending and lengthening. This action is referred to as “shins in, thighs out’ and helps you maintain engagement of both inner and outer thighs so you’re hugging muscle to bone and optimizing stability and power – front to back, side to side. 
  6. Stay present in your movement. Use your mind to focus on how your body feels and your teacher’s words to help you achieve optimal alignment in order to get deeper into your position.

In future fit tips I’ll visit a wider squat stance in a turned-out squat so that you can note the difference and determine what feels best in your body!

Happy aligned and engaged squatting!

Jill

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