Spine Rotation & Twisting: “Secret” Training Tips

by | Feb 26, 2013 | Functional Movement, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips | 0 comments

Centerworks® “Secret” Training Tips for Mobilizing the Ribcage
Part Three: Ribcage and Spine Rotation and Twisting

Pretty young woman exercising

When we twist the spine, all sorts of crazy things tend to happen!  Our hips and pelvis try to do all the work, we side bend, hike a hip, lead with an elbow or shoulder, shift our weight, arch the back, just about anything we can do to avoid actually moving the spine and turning the whole ribcage.  In a seated position, think of the spine now as a vertical “rotisserie.”  Since the ribs are attached to the spine in the back, and breastbone in the front, the only way to turn the spine is to rotate the entire ribcage!  If you are twisting to the right… the right side of the cage is moving backwards, and the left side of the cage is moving forwards.

Remember, the front ribs are attached to the breastbone, and the breastbone is one solid piece.  As your spine is turning, your breastbone must rotate too! 

Think of the breastbone like a paddle or revolving door.  One side has to be going backwards, while the other goes forwards to move the front ribs.  Again…if the Pec muscles are held tight it will restrict movement of the front ribs and breastbone on one side to go back in space, limiting the amount of rotation you are able to achieve.

Hike a hip, lead with the elbow and shoulder, or any other “cheat” you might try and do instead of mobilizing the ribcage, and you’ll discover that you hit your end range of motion quickly.  But get every segment of your back moving, and the whole ribcage and breastbone turning with you and you’ll be amazed at how far you turn.  Spot check your progress by paying attention to what you can see behind you when you rotate your spine!

You’ll find some excellent twisting tips and techniques in the Centerworks® 6-Dot Strategy for Effective Rotation of the Spine Webinar.


Check out the entire Mobilizing the Ribcage Series:

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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