Move of the Month - 'Table Top Scissors'
This month we’re giving focus to one of the original Pilates exercises created by Joseph Pilates: the Table Top Scissors. The abdominals engage to lift the upper body and keep it lifted while the legs move. There are two schools of thought as to how you should do Scissors, both challenging and benefitting pelvic stability and hamstring flexibility to slightly different degrees.
One school says that legs should move evenly, like a pair of scissors, so that the leg coming toward you will be moving as much as the leg moving out. Because many people have hamstrings so tight that just reaching the legs toward the ceiling with a neutral pelvis is very difficult, this version of Scissors can be particularly challenging.
The second method involves letting the front leg reach toward you as far as possible without compromising your alignment, and letting the bottom leg reach as far away from you as it can, again, without breaking alignment. Now don’t get us wrong, it’s still a challenging move, but it may be easier for some of you than the first method, especially if you don’t want to overload your hamstrings.
There’s no right or wrong way to do it; both have their benefits, so if you’re up to the task, why not try both out.
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Start on your back, knees bent, heels in line with your sit bones. Your arms reach by your sides. Pelvis in neutral.
[if !supportLists]2. [endif]We shall be breathing in through our noses and out through pursed lips. Unlike usual, breathing will take the form of inhale, exhale, exhale.
[if !supportLists]3. [endif]To get into position, inhale into the sides of the ribs, allowing the abdominals to drop toward the spine.
[if !supportLists]4. [endif]Exhale and lift one leg to table top position, followed by the other.
[if !supportLists]5. [endif]Inhale into the sides of the ribs, ensuring the head is in neutral.
[if !supportLists]6. [endif]Exhale and lift the upper body by hinging from the bottom rib. If your neck starts to get tight or tired, lower your upper body to the mat.
[if !supportLists]7. [endif]Inhale.
[if !supportLists]8. [endif]Straighten the legs toward the ceiling whilst exhaling.
[if !supportLists]9. [endif]Inhale.
[if !supportLists]10. [endif]Exhale twice as one leg comes in towards you and the other one moves away.
[if !supportLists]11. [endif]Inhale whilst both legs come back to centre.
[if !supportLists]12. [endif]Exhale and switch legs.
[if !supportLists]13. [endif]Inhale back to centre.
[if !supportLists]14. [endif]Do 5-10 sets, alternating sides.
[if !supportLists]15. [endif]On your final one, inhale back to centre and bend the knees to table top.
[if !supportLists]16. [endif]Exhale, lower your upper body, then one leg followed by the other (pelvis still in neutral)
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