I had never realized how little I engage my core throughout the day or my lack of a proper posture—or should I say “neutral spine”—until I had the privilege of trying The Dailey Method with founder, Jill Dailey. Slouching, be gone!
With a background in dance and Pilates, alongside her knowledge in injury prevention and rehabilitation, Jill has evolved her training from the West Coast’s first barre class back in 2000 to a franchise with 46 studios (and counting)! The full body workout focuses on kinesiology and alignment principles while combining ballet barre work with yoga, core training and orthopedic exercises.
Each micro-bend and extension slims, sculpts and aligns every muscle group. These moves, while constantly pulling in your abdominal wall for stability and elongating the spine, are designed to deliver the toned results we are all aiming for.
The flow and innovative uses of bands, balls, light weights and, of course, the ballet barre took slight movements to a whole new burning level. I am famous for always eyeing the clock or considering my mental to-do list during workouts but did not have the opportunity to think about anything but my body in this class. I was too busy focusing on dropping my hips and engaging my abs! Plus, regular choreography changes and updated playlists keep the challenging hour fresh every time.
Read on to try two of Jill’s favorite moves.
Neutral Spine Plank:
Photo courtesy of The Dailey Method
- Start on all fours, hands directly underneath shoulders and knees directly underneath hips. Spread fingers wide and curl your toes under.
- Focus on maintaining and elongating the natural curve of your spine and your neck.
- Pull the entire abdominal region up to stabilize the spinal position and lift knees half an inch off of the floor.
- Keeping the spine stabilized, lift knees up an inch then down an inch hovering over the floor 10 times; balancing on your toes. Set your knees down and reset your spine, engage abdominals deeply again
- Draw your knees in toward each other an inch and out an inch to hip distance 10 times. Focus on inner thigh contraction.
- Hold inner thigh contraction for three full breaths, lengthen your spine on the inhalation and tighten abdominals on the exhalation.
Benefits: This position teaches proper spinal alignment and strengthens the small intrinsic muscles that stabilize that alignment, while working all four layers of the abdominal wall.
Seat Work on All Fours:
Photo courtesy of The Dailey Method
- Start on all fours, hands directly underneath shoulders and knees directly underneath hips.
- Spread fingers wide and curl your toes under. Keep your chest open and tip your hips forward into a pelvic tuck tolengthen out your low back.
- Extend your left leg straight behind you, keep hips facing floor. Lift your leg as high as you can, maintaining lower back stability, pointing toes.
- Keeping your leg as straight and high as you can, press it up an inch. Pulse 30 times.
- Keep hips facing floor and extend your left leg slightly out to the left side then as far to the right as possible; repeat 10 times.
- Keeping your left leg lifted, reach your right arm straight in front of you and move it out to the right then back in; simultaneously pulse your left leg out to the left. Do 10 reps. Keep these movements slow, as high as you can and maintain complete stability of your hips the entire time.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Benefits: The Daily Method Seat Work tones all three gluteal muscles and tones the inner thigh. It also does wonders working the spinal extensor muscles, which are integral for spinal health and good posture.
To find a studio near you, visit The Dailey Method’s website or purchase one of The Dailey Method DVDS to try it out for yourself at home.
Tell us: Have you ever tried a barre class? How do you work on improving your posture?