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Spine Corrector

complete

A FULLY ILLUSTRATED MANUAL

Original copyright © 2004 by Merrithew Corp., Toronto, Canada. Reprinted 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including photography, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher. STOTT PILATES; Intelligent Exercise. Profound Results.; Flex-Band; Fitness Circle; Merrithew Health & Fitness; Stability Chair; STOTT PILATES Network; The Professional’s Choice and ZEN•GA are trademarks or registered trademarks of Merrithew Corporation.

INTELLIGENT EXERCISE. PROFOUND RESULTS.®

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basic principles BREATHING The STOTT PILATES method incorporates modern theories of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation through the Five Basic Principles. As the basis of the exercises in the technique, these biomechanical principles are related to body awareness and proper alignment. Rather than being separate entities, the five principles – breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and stabilization, and head and cervical placement – work together to create Intelligent Exercise that is both safe and effective. Teaching clients the principles at an early stage in their program ensures that they will become aware of how the body moves and functions. This will help enhance skill level and mindfulness, and ensure focus and control, allowing them to reap the full benefits of this method. BREATHING PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

Incorporating proper breathing during exercise may help relax the muscles and avoid unnecessary tension. A relaxed and full breath pattern can encourage focus and allow concentration on each task. Proper inhalation and exhalation may also help achieve dynamic stability during exercise. In all exercises the initial breath and awareness of stabilization should occur before the actual movement.

This will provide more complete stabilization through the pelvis and entire lumbo-pelvic region. Anatomically, during exhalation, the rib cage closes in and down while the spine flexes slightly. For this reason, an exhale is suggested to encourage spinal flexion. During inhalation, the rib cage opens out and up while the spine extends. Therefore an inhale is suggested to encourage spinal extension. An exhale may be used during spinal extension in order to maintain abdominal recruitment to stabilize and support the lumbar spine. Although this type of breath pattern is specifically useful while practicing STOTT PILATES, other types of breathing may be more practical when performing other activities. Developing an awareness of breath patterns will facilitate adaptation to any training necessary. BREATHING PRINCIPLE EXERCISES

The following movements demonstrate the principle of breathing. 1. NOTICE NATURAL BREATH PATTERN

With body supine, breathe smoothly, noticing natural breath pattern. Is breath affecting one area more than others? Consider the abdominal cavity, upper chest, sides and back of rib cage.

The breath pattern used during STOTT PILATES exercises should contribute to the execution of the movements rather than hindering them. Breathing shallowly only into the upper portion of the rib cage may cause overuse of the accessory breathing muscles and create tension in the neck and shoulder area. We encourage a more three-dimensional breath, expanding the rib cage posteriorly and laterally. There should be light engagement of the abdominal wall, and the diaphragm should depress, causing the abdomen to expand slightly. It is also important to breathe into the lower lobes of the lungs, because there is more efficient gas exchange.

2. BREATHING FLEXED FORWARD

INHALE

through nose, feeling sides and back of rib cage expand.

The breath pattern used in STOTT PILATES should encourage the engagement of the deep stabilizers of the torso. This involves activation of the transversus abdominis first, followed by the oblique abdominals. Simultaneous engagement of the pelvic floor and the multifidus with the transversus is encouraged during both the inhale and exhale.

EXHALE

through pursed lips, allowing rib cage to close.

This may encourage breathing into the sides and back of the rib cage. Start sitting in a neutral position, weight on top of sit-bones. Arms relaxed. INHALE

to prepare.

EXHALE

initiate from top of head and sequentially articulate spine into forward flexion, relaxing over legs.

Then …

Complete 3–5 repetitions On last exhale, initiate from tail and sequentially articulate spine, rolling up to starting position. Repeat.

Breathing Flexed Forward

start sitting

6

flex forward

BASIC PRINCIPLES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

return

© 2012 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

basic principles SCAPULAR MOVEMENT & STABILIZATION SCAPULAR MOVEMENT & STABILIZATION PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED

Stabilizing the scapulae (shoulder blades) on the rib cage is extremely important as they serve as an anchor for the arms as well as support the cervical spine. When this is not done, there is a tendency to overwork the muscles around the neck and shoulders. Be aware of scapular stabilization at all times: a) when the spine is neutral and the arms are resting; b) when the spine is flexing or extending; c) when the arms are moving in any direction. Due to the lack of direct bony attachment to the rib cage and spine, the scapulae have a great deal of mobility. In making a greater range of motion available to the arms, the scapulae can glide upward (elevation), downward (depression), inward (retraction) and outward (protraction), can rotate upward or downward, or perform any combination of the above. Through the whole shoulder girdle, a sense of stability, not rigidity, should always be maintained. A sense of width should be maintained across the front and back of the shoulder girdle.

The shoulders should not be allowed to give in to excessive movements. The scapulae should lie flat on the rib cage and glide across it without winging markedly (this refers to the medial border of the scapulae coming away from the rib cage). Keep in mind that the scapulae will react to movements of the arms and thoracic spine. For example, the scapulae will naturally elevate and upwardly rotate during overhead movements and protract during thoracic flexion. Be aware that a neutral placement of the scapulae may be slightly different from a particular individual’s natural resting position. An ideal working alignment must be established for each individual. Scapular stabilization should be part of the initiation of all exercises, and established before the movement of exercise begins. When flexing the torso off the mat from a supine position, scapular stabilization will discourage neck tension and excessive protraction of the scapulae and medial rotation of the humeri. Spinal extension should be initiated with stabilization of the scapulae while reaching the top of the head away from the tailbone. This limits the tendency to over-exaggerate movements and decrease dynamic stability through the whole upper kinetic chain. Throughout this manual, when describing the exercises, we will refer to the scapular stabilizers collectively rather than naming individual muscles. The focus is on serratus anterior, trapezius, rhomboids, levator scapulae and pectoralis minor.

Scapular Elevation & Depression

elevation

depression

Protraction & Retraction position 1

neutral

12

protraction

BASIC PRINCIPLES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

retraction

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warm ups BREATHING SIDE STARTING POSITION

Seated on step, facing side. Both legs flexed in mermaid position. Leg closest to barrel laterally rotated and resting in front of step. Other leg medially rotated and resting on mat. One hand resting on barrel, palm up; other hand resting at side. Scapulae stabilized.

EXHALE

start to lean out over barrel, reaching arm farthest from barrel out to side. reach bottom arm away and slide torso out until completely resting on barrel in lateral flexion with head resting on bottom arm. Simultaneously, reach top arm overhead.

INHALE

breathe into top side of rib cage.

EXHALE

rotate upper torso forward, allowing top arm to relax toward mat, turning head toward back if comfortable.

INHALE

breathe into back of rib cage.

EXHALE

rotate upper torso back so torso faces away from barrel, allowing top arm to open out to side, passing through laterally flexed position.

INHALE

breathe into sides of rib cage.

EXHALE

rotate torso to laterally flexed position, top arm overhead.

INHALE

reach top arm toward ceiling.

EXHALE

reach top arm out to side, and lengthen torso to begin coming back up to sitting. Continue all the way up, lowering arm.

EXERCISE INHALE

ESSENTIAL

Complete 1 repetition to each side. ESSENCE TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; abdominals and erector spinae to prevent forward flexion or extension during lateral flexion; top side internal and external obliques eccentrically on lateral flexion, concentrically on return; top side external and bottom side internal obliques concentrically on rotation forward; erector spinae concentrically on return through center; top side external and bottom side internal obliques eccentrically during rotation back; scapular stabilizers STABILITY:

spine during articulation and rotation; scapulae

MOBILITY:

spinal articulation and rotation

Breathing Side

20

1. starting position

2. lean

3. laterally flex over barrel

7. return to lateral flexion

8. reach top arm

9. begin coming back up

EXERCISES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

© 2012 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

sitting SCISSORS

INTERMEDIATE

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Seated on apex, facing away from step. Arms straight, extended behind body, hands on corners of step. Weight back of sit-bones, lumbar spine slightly flexed, thoracic spine lengthened. Legs straight, adducted, parallel and flexed at hip to be as close to torso as possible. Scapulae stabilized.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; obliques to maintain lumbar flexion and pelvic stability; upper and mid-back erector spinae to maintain lengthened thoracic; obliques and multifidus to prevent rotation of pelvis against reciprocal leg movement; hip flexors on one side eccentrically as leg reaches away from torso, concentrically as leg hinges toward torso; scapular stabilizers (particularly rhomboids, mid and low trapezius) along with latissimus dorsi and teres major to prevent sinking into shoulders

EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

reach one leg into extension at hip, bringing other leg into flexion at hip, pulsing twice with breath.

INHALE

start to switch legs so they pass by each other.

EXHALE

reach second leg into extension at hip, other leg into flexion, pulsing twice.

INHALE

start to switch legs so they pass by each other.

Complete 8 –10 repetitions.

STABILITY:

torso; scapulae, shoulders and arms

MOBILITY:

hip flexion and extension

ENDURANCE:

stabilizers of torso, scapulae, shoulders and arms

FOCUS ■

allow hip flexors to lengthen as legs lower; avoid gripping and losing pelvic stability

keep front of shoulders open and scapulae stabilized to avoid sinking into shoulders

maintain oblique connection to prevent pelvis from rotating or tilting anteriorly

MODIFICATION

Complete exercise maintaining lateral rotation at hip joints throughout. 1. LATERALLY ROTATED.

Scissors

1. starting position

2. scissor legs

3. switch legs

© 2012 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

4. return COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL • EXERCISES

37

prone SWAN DIVE

INTERMEDIATE

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Spine extended with pubic bone on apex, facing away from step. Legs straight, laterally rotated and abducted just wider than shoulder-distance apart, extended at hips. Hands on mat slightly wider than shoulders, arms long, keeping torso lifted. Scapulae stabilized.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; erector spinae, gluteus maximus and hamstrings isometrically to maintain extension; obliques to prevent overextension of lumbar; scapular stabilizers

EXERCISE

STABILITY:

spine and hips in extension; scapulae

ENDURANCE:

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

INHALE

spinal and hip extensors to maintain bow shape

maintain bow shape with spine and hips in extension and initiate by reaching legs back and up to rock torso forward. Allow elbows to flex.

FOCUS ■

engage obliques constantly during spinal extension to prevent overextension of lumbar spine

maintain bow shape and scapular stabilization, and extend elbows to rock torso up to starting position.

maintain scapular stabilization throughout

initiate rock forward by reaching legs back and up, not by dropping head and shoulders

start with torso only as high as abdominal support and scapular stabilization can be maintained

avoid overextension of cervical spine

emphasize hip extension

Complete 5 repetitions.

Swan Dive

1. starting position

2. rock forward

70

EXERCISES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

3. return

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side-lying SIDE LEG LIFTS 1. TOP LEG ABDUCTION STARTING POSITION

Side-lying on barrel, side of pelvis directly on top of apex. Pelvis and spine neutral. Legs straight, adducted and parallel, above step and in line with torso, ankles plantar flexed, toes gently pointed. Bottom arm flexed, forearm on mat, palm down. Top arm at side. Scapulae stabilized.

ESSENTIAL

EXERCISE INHALE

maintain plantar flexion and abduct top leg as far as pelvic stability and parallel legs can be maintained.

EXHALE

dorsiflex ankle and adduct top leg to bottom leg.

Complete 5 –10 repetitions on each side.

Top Leg Abduction

1. starting position

80

2. abduct top leg

3. dorsiflex ankle

4. adduct top leg

5. plantar flex ankle

EXERCISES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

© 2012 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

supported on hands PUSH UP

INTERMEDIATE

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Push-up position, facing mat, one long line from feet to head, pelvis and spine neutral. Legs straight, adducted and parallel, weight on balls of feet. Arms straight, hands on top of barrel in front of apex, directly under shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Scapulae stabilized.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; obliques to prevent extension; gluteus maximus, hamstrings and hip adductors isometrically to stabilize pelvis on femurs; triceps and pectoralis major eccentrically as body lowers, concentrically to press up; scapular stabilizers, especially serratus anterior

EXERCISE INHALE

EXHALE

for 3 counts. Flex elbows more with each count, angling elbows diagonally back to lower torso toward barrel. Maintain neutral spine. extend elbows to full push-up position.

Complete 5 –10 repetitions.

STABILITY:

torso; pelvis on femurs; scapulae

ENDURANCE:

torso and scapular stabilizers

FOCUS ■

maintain stabilization of torso to avoid flexing or overextending lumbar spine

pull patellae up with quadriceps

stay wide across shoulder girdle and focus on scapular stabilization

maintain cervical spine in neutral; continue line of rest of spine

maintain adduction of legs to help stabilize pelvis on femurs

avoid pelvis lifting or sinking out of neutral

allow scapulae to move, while still stabilizing

Push Up

1. starting position (shown with hands holding handles) 2. flex elbows

3. extend elbows

Modification 3, Arabesque

1. starting position

86

2. flex elbows

EXERCISES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

3. extend elbows

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supported on hands LEG PULL

ADVANCED

STARTING POSITION

ESSENCE

Reverse push-up position, face up. Arms straight, hands forward of apex of barrel, supporting torso, scapulae stabilized. Legs extended, adducted and laterally rotated, ankles plantar flexed, toes gently pointed. Pelvis lifted. One line from feet to lower rib cage. Slight thoracic flexion to prevent overextending shoulders.

TARGET MUSCLES: transversus abdominis to compress abdomen and stabilize lumbo-pelvic region; deep pelvic floor to aid in firing transversus; rectus abdominis and obliques to maintain slight thoracic flexion; obliques to maintain pelvic stability; obliques and multifidus to resist rotation; gluteus maximus and hamstrings isometrically to maintain stability of pelvis on supporting femur; hip flexors concentrically as leg lifts, eccentrically as leg lowers; scapular stabilizers; latissimus dorsi and teres major to stabilize shoulders

EXERCISE

To prepare, inhale... EXHALE

INHALE

flex one hip and reach leg as high as stable pelvis and spine can be maintained. dorsiflex ankle and lower leg to just above mat.

Repeat lower and lift 3 times, plantar flexing ankle on last repetition to place foot on mat.

STABILITY:

torso; supporting hip in extension; scapulae and arms

MOBILITY: hip flexion and extension; ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion COORDINATION: ENDURANCE:

hip and ankle movements with breath

stabilizers of torso, scapulae, shoulder and arms

Complete 3 – 6 repetitions on each side.

Leg Pull

90

1. starting position

2. lift one leg

3. dorsiflex and lower leg

6. lift other leg

7. dorsiflex and lower leg

8. plantar flex and lift leg

EXERCISES • COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL

© 2012 MERRITHEW CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

complete SPINE CORRECTOR LEGEND:

= essential level

▲ = intermediate level

= advanced level REPS

WARM UPS

BREATHING FORWARD

BREATHING SIDE

SCAPULA ISOLATION

ARM SCISSORS

ARM CIRCLES

REPS

PRONE 2 TO 3 REPS

SINGLE LEG EXTENSIONS

1 REP

LOWER & LIFT

3 TO 5 REPS

LEG CIRCLES

8 REPS

5 REPS

SCISSORS

4 SETS

3 TO 5 REPS

BEATS

4 SETS

SWAN DIVE

5 REPS

GRASSHOPPER

5 REPS

8 TO 10 REPS

SWIMMING

4 SETS

SITTING

5 TO 10 REPS

SIDE BEND

ROTATION WITH PORT DE BRAS

3 TO 5 REPS

SPINAL EXTENSION

PORT DE BRAS

3 TO 5 REPS

ROTATION PRONE

OBLIQUES WITH FLEXION

5 REPS

ROTATION WITH ATTITUDE

5 REPS

SCISSORS

8 TO 10 REPS

SIDE LEG LIFTS

BICYCLE

8 TO 10 REPS

SCISSORS

LOWER & LIFT

6 TO 8 REPS

ONE ARM PRESS

LEG CIRCLES

5 REPS

HIP TWIST

3 REPS

INVERTED POSITIONS

SCISSORS

8 TO 10 REPS

BICYCLE

8 TO 10 REPS

WINDMILL

LOWER & LIFT

FROG

OBLIQUE CAN-CANS

ROLL OVER

6 TO 8 REPS

SHOULDER BRIDGE

2 TO 3 REPS

BACK ARCH & BRIDGE

6 TO 8 REPS

6 TO 8 REPS

3 TO 5 REPS 5 REPS

SIDE-LYING 123

5 TO 10 REPS 4 SETS 5 TO 10 REPS

SUPPORTED ON HANDS

PUSH UP

LEG PULL FRONT

3 TO 6 REPS

LEG PULL

3 TO 6 REPS

5 TO 10 REPS

3 TO 5 REPS 5 TO 10 REPS 5 REPS 5 TO 10 REPS

m e r r i t h e w. c o m 2 2 0 0 Y O N G E S T R E E T, S U I T E 5 0 0 , T O R O N T O , O N , C A N A D A M 4 S 2 C 6 . 4 1 6 - 4 8 2 - 4 0 5 0

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COMPLETE SPINE CORRECTOR MANUAL • WORKOUT CHART

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