Take care you are not training a pot belly
Do you have a suspicion that each time you bring that second leg up into tabletop position you get an abdominal bulge or doming?
As tabletop legs is the starting position and foundation for so many of the advanced pilates and core exercises it is absolutely essential to master the art of getting in and out of the position without doming the abdomen. Otherwise, if each time you move up into position you bulge or dome – what is it that you are actually training? It could be a pot belly.
Done well, tabletop legs will help correct a divarification
This is a really important technique to master if you want to correct a divarification and protect your pelvic floor.
It is a hard challenge to get right – but so satisfying when you do. You will know when you have got it because suddenly the whole action feels weightless and even effortless, the pelvic floor area feels included and the back feels safe and relaxed. And it makes you want to smile!
Tip 1: put your feet on a step. Practice during the week at home with your feet on a small step (eg child’s step). This slightly flattens the neutral spine and means you ‘start’ 1/3 of the way into the leg lift. This allows you to experience the ‘correct’ feeling over and over again until your brain is happy with the sensation of not needing to ‘flick’. Then take it down to a phone-book height and last of all back to floor level.
Tip 2: go onto tip toe first. Sneaky little manoevre (but a better cheat than ‘the bulge’). First leg up, then move onto the tip toe of the second leg before you try to lift it. Your brain will feel the sense of the weight to come and make some subtle core adjustments to half prepare you so that the full lift will be easier.
Tip 3: you get what you think about! I say this over and over again because it is so true! So here is my, as usual bit out the box, visualisation.
Boats on a beach
Visualisation to help get legs up into tabletop without a bulge
You are on a pebble beach that slopes down to the water. Think of the first leg coming up as a light-weight rubber dingy which you have to pull by its rope up the beach. All it takes is a light tug and up it comes. Now take the rope of the second boat – a big speed boat – much more unwieldy – if you just tug that rope you are not going anywhere – you will just get a jolt – so rather take up the slack, lean into the rope, let the tension build and build below the surface, until the boat ‘wants’ to come up the beach, then once you have got that initial momentum started – you’re off!
Are you more of a visual learner? Here is my first ever video, showing the 3 tips. Even a Playmobil boat (and dog) to help with the visualisation.
Did this post help you? Please let me know in the comments below if any of these tips worked for you? Or do you have a trick yourself that would inspire or help others? Your comments give me ideas what to write about next. Thank you.