Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Core Sequence, Part 1: Lower Body Circles

If you haven't already, first read Core Strength and Me and My Core Sequence, Introduction to Isolating MovementIf you're having a hard time with circles, start with Lower Body Linear Movements.  It may help you get a feel for it.

There are many ways to make lower body circles.  You can articulate your circles from different points on your body, but they are all circles.  That means that whatever part of your body becomes the widest part of the circle, it should stay an equal distance from the center line you would have if you were standing up straight.  This is important for the circle to stay fluid and also important to ensure that you are working and stretching the muscles on all sides evenly.  For example, if you push your circles more out to the front than to the back, you will be doing more work on the front than on the back and, therefore, develop unevenly.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  Remember to keep good posture throughout the movements.  Lift your ribs and tuck your hips.  Letting your back or shoulders sag or curve unnaturally can put undo strain on specific vertebrae, which can cause you pain or exacerbate pre-existing injuries.  None of these movements should hurt.


Big Circles

Big circles articulate all the way from your head.  Your stand from good posture and lean to one side while sticking your hip out to the other side.  Try to keep your head in the same place.  It will be impossible to keep it in exactly the same place, but do your best.  Now try it on the other side.  Once you see how this feels and looks, try it to the front and to the back, making sure that when you stick your hip out in any direction, the end of your movement places your hip at the same distance from your center line as it would in any other direction.  Once you have a feel for that, try taking your hip in a big circle connecting all the dots from side to front to side to back.  Do maybe ten and then try it in the other direction, making sure that your head is staying in the same place as much as possible.  Big circles should resemble the big hip circles one does to stretch before working out.

Upper Hip Circles

The idea of these is exactly the same as the Big Circles only instead of articulating from below the head, you will articulate below the ribs as viewed from the front (so right around your diaphragm).  That means that from the ribs up, you should not be moving.  Your hips will still be the outside of the circle.  You may just jump into this if you feel up to it.  Otherwise, try the same approach of feeling each side individually before connecting the dot.  Do the movement slowly in front of the mirror.  As you move in a circle, you will notice that the muscles surrounding your given articulation point will engage in attempt to keep that area still.  Those muscles are countering the movement that you are doing.  Keep your movements even and controlled and those muscles will build strength and control all the way around your body.  Do ten in each direction.

Middle Hip Circles

When you first start, it is difficult to drive distinction between upper, middle, and lower circles.  When you get used to it, you will see that they engage very different muscles.  Middle Hip Circles are exactly like Upper Hip Circles only the articulate from a lower point.  This point should be around where the lowest ribs are (located on the back side).  On a woman, this will be around your natural waist (smallest part of the waist).  On a man, this will vary.  Same as before, feel it out carefully and then do your circles, ten in each direction.

Lower Hip Circles

Same thing.  Your articulation point should be around where your belly button is.  You will notice that the circles are getting progressively smaller.  Try to keep your good posture.  Do your ten in each direction.

Sexy Hip Circles

These circles are a little bit different.  Some people find them easier and some people find them confusing.  Imagine your pelvis is a plate, parallel to the floor.  You want roll around the edge of the plate.  To illustrate, drop a coin on the table.  Once it falls to once face up, it will roll around its edges (staying in one place) before finally laying to rest.  This is what you will be doing with your hips.  If the center of that coin or plate was in the middle of your pelvis, facing up, you will be making that same motion.  Everything above that area should be still.  The movement will be coming from your legs, as usual.  You should feel the muscles working very low on your abdomen and back.  Do your ten in each direction.

Inverted Hip Circles

This is the most confusing one and the one my ladies will probably find very useful.  This one articulates from below the pelvis (around the pubic bone) up.  Everything until this point has been from a given point down.  The widest part of your circle will not be your hips, it will be probably around the height of your belly button.  At first, this is all you need to worry about as it is difficult enough to figure out what you're actually doing in this movement.  Once you figure it out, try to do it keeping still from at least the chest up.  For a visual, imagine that your pelvis is a bowl.  Do the same rolling motion with the bottom of the bowl that you did with the plate.  Do your ten in each direction.

My Core Sequence, Part 2: Lower Body Linear Movements


  1. o_O I don't understand at ALL. Did you mention there were videos? But then, I did really suck at belly dance classes when I tried taking them for a while.

  2. Oh wait. Dur. Missed the big, blue "VIDEO" link. *blush*

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