RollDown into PushUp – Exploring External Rotation versus Parallel
Pilates’ purpose is to assist us in regaining our balance.
Joseph Pilates’ aim was that our legs remain in “parallel” during most exercises with a few exceptions, such as when we bend our knees out to shoulder width (to the limit of our Box).
Even though some Pilates exercises require/benefit from a slight external rotation (The RollDown into PushUp), it’s important to remember that if you spend your workout (or indeed day) in an External Rotation all of the time, you will make yourself largely imbalanced. Take Note: Ballet dancers who live in External Rotation all of the time find themselves eventually needing hip and knee replacements.
In constant External Rotation, you WILL end up tightening and compressing your lower back, over working your rotators which might be overly developed any way, and eventually changing the shape of your pelvis:-
From the top looking down, your pelvis ought to be an ellipse. When you CONSTANTLY rotate, of hold the position and continually squeeze your glutes/sitbones, etc., then you’ll change your pelvis to more of a triangle: wide in the front and narrow in the back. That compression in the back is the opposite of balance and what we work towards in Pilates. Plus, which of us wants to be wider in the front?
In qpilates classes, you will use this rotation as a tool coupled with developing your awareness that eventually everything ought to eventually return to “parallel”.
Examples of when we use External Rotation
- When we need a tool to lengthen the hip forward: i.e. Single Leg Circles, Side Kicks (Front/Back, but only use it for the front portion), Tree, RollDown into Pushup.
- When knees open the width of the shoulders: i.e. Frogs, Pelvic Lift
- When we need greater support in standing.
NB: When standing in “parallel”, 2 versions of parallel which I will talk about in a later blog:
1. Parallel and together – This isn’t really parallel at all, it’s when toes are connected to heels all the way.
2. Parallel and hip width apart – hip socket width.
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