On Wednesday I wrote about the importance of preserving spinal alignment to get the most of your side lying work. Once you have mastered the side lying position – here are a few of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® exercises to awaken, stabilize and strengthen your sides and hips.
1) Stimulate your lateral seam blind spots: Roll and awaken the tissues on your sides with a Coregeous ball. Roll up and down the side seam of your body, from upper arm to hip, rocking forward and backward to provide your sides with some feedback, not only from your bodyweight, the texture of the ball, but also with your ability to breathe on your side. Spend some time here, it feels wonderful!
2) Tubularize your core while side lying: Place a toted pair of YTU Therapy Balls of any size on your side waist and lay down. Attempt to contract your abdominals to “push” the therapy balls out. If executed well, the external oblique on the bottom side of your body will attempt to lift slightly away from the YTU balls. Do not worry if your side waist still has some physical contact with the balls – look for the engagement of your obliques and then relax. Repeat this several times and mentally note what each side feels like – is one side stronger, quicker to react, easier to engage? Tubularizing your core with a different orientation to gravity is a fantastic way to differentiate the imbalances between your sides and enhance your proprioceptive map. This activation will allow hip and leg movement to be much more efficient because stabilization will be optimal.
3) Rainbow Side leg Raises with Internal rotation: Lay on your side against the wall, with your spine and pelvis in a neutral position, like Tadasana (see picture). Maintain stability and your position against the wall while moving the top leg into as many positions as possible. Internally rotate your hip and focus on keeping toes turned down towards the floor to maximize hip strengthening. Try sliding the heel up the wall or moving the foot out in front of you. Move slowly and aim for control and stability to better target your core, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae muscles. Repeat several times and alternate to opposite side. Make it more challenging by adding a resistance band around the working foot and holding on with your hands.
An incredible amount of hip strengthening that can be attained if your side lying posture and core musculature work are all responsive. Next time you are in a barre or a pilates class and are asked to perform 5 or 45 repetitions, focus your attention on your posture and ability to stabilize. You will feel your efforts much sooner and with more efficiency. Enjoy your golden hips!
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I will try the Rainbow Side Leg Raises with Internal Rotation next time I practice. Opening and getting a larger range of motion in my hips has made my day-to-day living and experiences at the gym so much better. I cannot wait to try more things to add to my routine.
ooh, I can’t wait to try those Rainbow Side leg raises with IR! I like the variation you offer.
Golden hips are so much better than a pot of gold 🙂
Thank you for sharing, Amy. I cannot wait to try the tubular core engagement side lying with feedback from the YTU balls. What a great way to sense the abdominal contraction!
Thank you for this! I’ll definitely be able to incorporate your suggestion to use therapy ball feedback with side lying tublular core not only for side lying workouts but also as a “snow globe” variation to check for understanding with students who may not be grasping tubular core in tadasana. I also love the exploratory nature of your rainbow raises. The mobility available to me in squats has in many ways blinded me from proper muscle activation – these exercises focusing on the glutes make all the difference for me.
Thank you for the great post. Love your advice on activating tubular core while side lying by using the YTU therapy balls under the waist!
Love these hips poses! I’m always looking for ways to stimulate my outter/hips glutes and the Rainbow Side leg Raises with Internal rotation totally hit the spot! Definitely enjoyed the integration with the coregeous ball and tune balls to help further stimulate the lateral seam of the body.
I tried this sequence and wow did it wake my hips up! It was a feeling that made me want to jump up and bolt. In other words I would say that specifically rainbowing my leg spoke a lot of truth for me. I recognized my blind spots here for sure. My hips hold a lot of gunk and this was a killer at first but later when I went for a walk I felt a new normal and it was very clear that I needed this in my life!
As a person who suffers on and off from SI joint/piriformis issues on my left side I really like the crossing of the thigh onto the floor leg to increase the stretch. Just this morning I was on the wall using my Alpha ball to relieve my left glute/ piriformis/ hip area and I will absolutely incorporate this version into my routine!
This is a great article! I can not wait to try Rainbow Side leg Raises with Internal rotation as I have never tried that one!
I have never tried rainbow side leg winder against the wall. Ive been working on my external oblique strength during some yoga privates. This will be a great exercise to add to help me further build my strength in what was once a muscular blind spot.
I will definitely incorporate “Rainbow Side leg Raises with Internal rotation” to my personal practice and to my classroom. Just by reading the description, my muscles have started to “drool”… a pavlovian response!
Can’t wait to try these ideas–particularly the rainbow side leg raises with internal rotation. Not only will I access weak areas, my back will wake up from a different orientation.
Je pratique ces exercices très régulièrement! Excellent pour conserver notre équilibre! Merci!
I tried using the corgeous ball across the sides of my ribs and had such an easier time detecting the alignment of my torso during side planks. Doing small drills like that can be so beneficial for not only making you healthier but also for optimizing your own athletic performance.
Definintely will try the rainbow side leg raises as I need stronger inner thighs!
I really like these ideas. Just learning about tubularizing my core this weekend in a training. One of the toughest things has been not jutting out the upper ribs. Love the idea of placing the balls at my side waist and lying down on them. And anytime I can use my corgeous ball is a great time.
These exercises are great! Through my YTU training I am learning that I need to tubularize my core and strengthen my hips in order to relieve my SI pain that has been bothering me for years. I was often told I needed to stretch the area that was painful but actually it is all about strengthening to gain more stability and support in the hip region. Thank you for the post!
These exercises are great and will definitely improve my ability to maintain a neutral spine with greater ease! Thanks
Thank you for this post, I am becoming more aware of blind spots in my lateral line and appreciate the focus on tubularizing the core in side lying. Looking forward to doing this sequence to excavate more attention defecit areas!
I have a tremendous amount of difficulty with this range of motion while standing. I am so excited to try this lying down with a closed chain! I have snapping hip syndrome, and I am trying to strengthen muscles that are difficult to target especially when they are super weak and tight. Thank you for this!
Thank you for this. I am a pilates instructor so it is wonderful to be inspired by adding the balls and the tubular core which is new to me will be very fun and interesting to add to the side work. I like the idea that the core will want to push against the floor and lift you. Looking forward to trying it!
Thanks for providing this great rolling sequence. I think this would also be a great sequence to prep for the Jithara Parivartanasana variations. Obliques play such an important role in those postures and these roll methods are a perfect way to draw attention to the areas that will be activated. I also love your point about using the balls to build your proprioceptive map – again, as you go into more dynamic postures, you’ll already be aware of potential trouble spots.
Your advise on how to use the balls to point out blind spots and aid in tubularizing the core while lying on the side by giving direct feedback is spot on. Looking forward to more effective leg lifts!
I like the term “tubularize” when you discuss proper engagement of the core. In neurorehab we refer to that as proper lumbar stabilization or engaging the “cylinder” necessary to improve stability and decrease strain or overuse of the extremities. I love that although its different terminology its being used in a context that can be easily understood by everyone. However, would it be helpful to extend the hip to focus more on the glute medius? I find that performing sidelying leg lift this way can put more emphasis on the lateral quadriceps and TFL which can in turn increase ITB tightness.
After properly learning how to tubularize the core in class today, I’m really looking forward to working with the Therapy balls tonight and seeing if I can “push” them out. I definitely need all the help with properly aligning and stabilizing the “hips” as I can get!
Thank you for reminding us all that we also need to find our side seams. I focus on my front and back, but love the corgeous ball and will begin to roll on my lateral side seams as well.
Great post: 1) Stimulate the side seam blind spots with coregeous ball.
2) tubularize the core in side lying orientation while doing Rainbow side leg raises with internal rotation
There is so much that I love about this post! I was really abel to experience the effect of tubularizing the core and then relaxing to allow the balls to sink more deeply into the fascia. I also love the idea of using the rainbow side leg raises to help strengthen the hip joint. I have a client who I know will benefit from this and I’ve been looking for a safe and stable way for him to strengthen his hips for a while!
Side lying leg raises is a fundamental Pilates exercise too 🙂 Using the wall behind is a great idea to provide feedback on position, particularly to get the head in line (99% will round the head in), it’s worthwhile to further progress it to balancing without the wall.
Strengthening my obliques with exercises like the side lying tubular core has helped me mitigate anterior pelvic tilt and back pain. I’m excited to try rolling the obliques with my courgeous ball!!
Hi Amanda! YES – you can utilize a wall for the side body rolling exercises. There will be less pressure, but you can also experiment with different YTU balls in addition to the Coregeous ball to enhance proprioception. The Alpha YTU ball is great at the wall because it is large enough that you have space between your body and the wall – Also, I have had clients who have successfully worked their side seam on the YTU balls in their beds at home – (as part of their homework). Happy rolling! Amy
Hi Rachel ~ you most certainly could try this hip exercise with your mother. If her hamstrings are restricted in a manner that does not allow her to keep her pelvis and spine in a neutral position, she can bend the leg. The range of motion may be limited, but see what range you can explore with her. Also, there are so many great YTU ball rolling sequences for the hip as well that your mom could attempt on the floor or against a wall! Hope this helps you out! Best to you, Amy
I love these exercises. I need as much hip strengthening as possible and I have also been working with people who have limited range of motion in their hips. With that said, I hope you can answer my question: Can these exercises be done by someone who has had both hips replaced?
Is there a way to do these exercises on the wall as opposed to laying on the floor? Or is this type of attention strictly for those who can easily access floor rolling? Just wondering. I have people in my life who are not able to roll on the floor, but need help opening these areas of their bodies.
Will you explain what you mean by “tubularizing” your core?
This is an interesting idea!
This is a great post! I/m wondering if it’s an exercise pose that I could do with my Mom who suffers from arthritis in her hip?