11. The Saw
This exercise is not at the top of my favorites list. However, the saw requires mobility and stability when the spine is flexing and rotating (one could argue sidebending as well). Quite a few spine injuries occur when the spine flexes and rotates, so stability in that range of motion is important to maintain a healthy spine whether we like to saw or not. Saw is a combo of spine twist and spine stretch forward. We have not visit spine twist yet, so I am not sure why Joe decided to put the saw before spine twist in the classical order of exercises. It is not appropriate for those with osteopenia/osteoporosis.
Click here for The Saw VIDEO
Classical start: seated with legs as far apart as possible, arms to the side at shoulder height.
Recommended start: seated with legs a little wider than mat width/shoulder width apart, arms to the side at shoulder height.
1. Inhale to rotate thoracic spine to the left.
2. Exhale to flex spine and reach right hand to left pinkie toe. left hand reaches backwards.
3. Inhale/exhale to “saw” the left pinkie toe with right pinkie finger three times.
4. Inhale to return to sitting and exhaled to untwist the spine back to start position.
5. Repeat the entire sequence to the other side. Three repetitions to each side.
Tips for success: keep equally weighted thru both sitz bones throughout the exercise. Twist first, then bend the spine. Bendy people can start with legs a little wider. Less bending people use a narrower start stance.
Modifications: for tight hammies, same as spine stretch forward.