Saw is another one of those deceiving exercises! It can sometimes be overlooked as an “easy” exercise. However, the common mistake is similar to the one we make in Spine Stretch. It isn’t simply a bend at the waist to reach as far forward as possible. While this may seem impressive to be able to touch your toes, it is far from beneficial unless you are connected in your center, utilizing oppositional energy from your head to your toes, and focused on your breath. In Saw we take it one step further and add a twist. With each repetition of Saw, your spine will release tension and feel less compressed. You will also experience a stretch of the hamstrings, especially if you maintain the heels reaching away from the sits bones as you curl forward. Let the breath create the rhythm of the exercise, too, with each inhale and exhale you are squeezing every atom of air out of your lungs.
The Benefits of Saw
· Decompression of the spine and release of tension in upper, mid and low back.
· Works the internal and external obliques.
· Works rotation of the spine.
· Full capacious breathing to help circulate oxygen and blood to surrounding tissues.
· Satisfying stretch of the hamstrings and low back.
· Ability to stand taller and maintain better posture.
How to Perform Saw
1. Start by sitting up tall as if your back was against a wall. Legs should be out in front of you and opened a little wider than shoulder distance apart. Knees and toes will be pointed to ceiling and heels reaching away from you to create length and oppositional energy.
2. Your arms in lifted and out to the side of your body with finger tips reaching, palms down. Gently roll your shoulder blades down your back to create space between your neck and ears.
3. After a deep inhale, begin exhaling as you curl your head, neck and then upper spine down the imaginary wall while pulling your abs in. Continue to stretch and rotate to the right. The left arm and fingertips reaching towards the right little toe. The right arm is reaching behind you on the right side and the palm reaches up towards the ceiling. Similar to Spine Stretch you are curling over a round barrel towards your toe.
4. Next, inhale as you begin rolling back up the “wall” starting with your tailbone, low back, upper back and then neck and head returning to the starting position feeling taller than before.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 going to the other side. The right arm reaches towards the left little toe.
We love The Saw as it is a staple to any mat workout. It is a great exercise for introducing the rotation of the spine and feels so good to work on getting the spine moving in all directions! It’s good for that early morning workout, when needing a break while working at your desk, or before bed for instant relief, relaxation and stretch. Stay tuned for more exercises and tips!
· Reduce reps
· Keep knees slightly bent if the hamstrings are too tight.