Ballet, Cues, Posture and #GreasetheGroove

Greasing the groove is all about practicing a skill daily with the intent of improving that skill over time. We asked you to take part in our #GreasetheGroove challenge by selecting ONE exercise that you want to get better at and do 5 reps or spend 30seconds working on it daily. It isn’t a lot to ask, but it does require daily discipline and conscious effort for 30seconds. For the month of March I have selected an exercise I’d like to improve at and using the #GreasetheGroove method and I am seeing great improvements in just a week. The exercise I selected will surprise most of you. It isn’t a traditional strength exercise. It isn’t a “new” strength exercise, if there is such a thing. It comes from the art or sport of ballet. It is called First Position.

About two weeks ago I was finishing up some self myofascial release and mobility work before going to bed and I stood up tall and got myself into what I thought was first position. My girlfriend Robyn danced throughout her youth and is an excellent teacher/coach and had briefly taught me this ballet move a few years ago but when she saw me two weeks ago she asked “what are you doing?” I said “First Position” and then the corrections came fast and furious. I hadn’t practiced First Position apart from the one time she showed it to me, how naive was I to consider what I was doing at the time to be an accurate representation of First Position. After cuing me up she said I was pretty close and that if I wanted to really get First Position I would have to spend time practicing it like she did for 30minutes a class every class she took for 10years.
Robyn has great posture, far better than mine and it must be from years of practicing the skill and art of dance. I don’t plan on being a ballerina anytime soon but I know I can always use some work on my posture and having another postural tool/cuing system to use is both beneficial to me personally and my clients. Take a look at the picture below to see what first position is all about.

I have always had a pretty heavy lordotic curve at the lumbar spine so this exercise was a challenge for me and these are the cues Robyn used to get me to stand in First Position:

• Feet 45
• Zip up your inner thighs (LOVE THIS CUE)
• Bum underneath your hips
• Fish Hook under your ribs
• Chin on a shelf (LOVE THIS ONE TOO!)

She said nothing more and gave me some hands on attention. I could last about 3seconds before something fell apart and she would say “shelf” or “zip it up” or “Bum” and I would make the necessary correction before another 3seconds would pass by and she would cue me up again. It was difficult for me, but her coaching made it fun and most importantly made it work. I have spent the last week greasing the groove with First Position and am proud to say I can hold it for about 15seconds now without something falling apart and at the same time I am starting to recognize how I can use what I learned from Robyn in my own training and that of all my clients.

I’d love to hear what exercise you are greasing the groove with, please feel free to share it on our Facebook Page or post it to our @stayfitanywhere twitter page and don’t forget to tag your posts with #GreasetheGroove for your chance to win a prize.
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
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