Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Core Sequence, Part 2: Lower Body Linear Movements

If you haven't already, first read Core Strength and Me and Introduction to Isolating Movement.

Linear movements are fairly simple and easy to do and a good way to get yourself ready for more complicated movements like figure eights and snake-like rolling movements (called "camels" in belly dancing).  Lower body linear movements work exactly how they sound.  They involve moving your hips back and forth or front to back in specific trajectories and articulating from varying points.  The articulation point determines what area is not involved in movement, meaning from which point your body will be staying still.

Don't forget that all of these movements should be initiated with your legs. The core work will come from keeping your articulation points still. And keep your eyes on that mirror! It really makes all the difference.

VIDEO LINK!

Back and Forth Slide

The first movement is a simple back and forth.  Starting from good posture (lifted chest, tucked hips), give your knees a little bend and get low in your center.  You will articulate from the ribcage (at about the diaphragm) down.  Slide your hips to one side as far as you can without moving the ribcage.  This movement will be done with your legs.  You should feel a little stretch in your side.  Once this is achieved, push the other hip out to the other side.  Again, nothing from your ribcage to your head should be moving.  Keep a close watch in the mirror to make sure this is the case.  You will notice that the muscles in the ribcage are working not to move your hips but to counter the movement in your hips.  This is a result of having an articulation point above which nothing moves.  This is where the core work comes from.

Up and Down

Starting from good posture and low in your center, you will be lifting one hip while lowering the other simultaneously.  The articulation point in this will be a single point located in the center of your pelvis.  The movement will occur by bending one knee, and then bringing it to neutral while bending the other knee.  This is an important motion to get as it will be the basis of many other related movements, so give it some attention and make sure it feels comfortable.  Your torso should not be moving.

Pendulum

This motion will combine the previous two.  Slide your hip out to one side.  As you reach your full extension, incorporate your up and down motion so that your hip lifts on the side of the extension.  Because of the extension, you may need to come up on the ball of your foot a little on that side, but the other foot should be firmly grounded.  Let your hip come down and you return to the neutral position and repeat on the other side.  With your ribcage still, your hips should appear to swing as a pendulum would in the mirror.  Check to see if your movement looks like this.

Inverted Pendulum

This movement is a little trickier than the pendulum because it feels less natural and involves a bit more of a stretch.  You will do this exactly the same way as the pendulum only your hip will drop down instead of lift at the extension of the hip.  Again, make your best efforts to maintain posture and not allow your ribcage to move from around the diaphragm up.  At the very least, your head and chest should be still and he ribcage will follow with practice.  If you were not moving side to side, your articulation point would be at your pubic bone.

Front to Back Slide

The concept here is exactly like like the back and forth slide only it is front to back.  Try not to roll over your heels or toes.  Do your best to keep your ribcage from moving.

Pelvic Thrust

Men love this one.  Try to articulate from about your belly button down.  If you were to do this sideways in front of the mirror, it would bare resemblance to the pendulum motion you were doing a moment ago.  Start from the neutral position.  Bring your pelvis forward and slightly up as far as you can go without moving anything just above the belly button.  Now bring it back to neutral and mirror the motion for the same distance in the opposite direction.  You should feel a squeeze in the lower abs when you move forward and probably a little butt squeeze as well.  You should feel the same thing on the lowest part of your back as you move backward.  That's it.  You've got it.  You're a rock star...

Pelvic Rock

This one is also really good for your lower back and is excellent for training yourself to keep your pelvis centered (not tilted backward, which is the tendency).  Like the Inverted Hip Circle and Inverted Pendulum, the articulation point will be at about the pubic bone.  Rock your pelvis forward from that point so that your belly button pushes forward as far as you can without losing technique.  Now reverse the motion pushing your lower back out while pulling the belly button area in.  Your pubic bone should not be moving forward and backward in space and the ribs up should not be moving either.  This is a tricky one so give it some time and practice.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  Since linear movements are done on both sides of the body, all linear movements must be done twice as many times receive equal attention as neutral movements like circles.  Left and right or front and back each count as one.  So, if I were doing ten each of my circles, I must do ten per side or twenty total of each linear movement (and figure eight, as you will see in the next installment of this series).

NEXT IN THIS SERIES...
My Core Sequence, Part 3: Lower Body Figure Eights

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