[dropcap]A[/dropcap]re your children hooked on Drill yet? Hopefully by now Swedish Drill has become an established part of your school day and your children are eager to learn more movements to add to their regimen. Let’s give them what they want, shall we?
We’ll be adding another five new exercises to your drill repertoire in this post. In the Introductory class of movements we will learn Lunging Sideways. Like Lunging Forward, side lunges are an excellent exercise for balance as well as strengthening the musculature of the hip and thighs. I believe it places a greater demand on proprioceptive awareness than forward lunging does due to the need to maintain the “stationary” leg in full knee extension. You can see the incorrect and correct examples of this exercise in the video below. You will also hear me trying to correct the issue by giving not-so accurate instructions. We were on our sixth take of this one and I was getting frustrated. That never happens in your house, does it? Regardless, the boys understood my cue and corrected the movement nicely.
Hips — firm.
Right side lunge — place.
Recover — place.
Left side lunge — place.
Recover — place.”
(Repeat 5-10 times each leg, alternating sides each time.)
Next we’ll review an exercise in the Heaving category known as Arm Stretching Sideways. In addition to strengthening the shoulder musculature this movement requires body awareness to ensure that both arms are raised to the same height. A mirror can be helpful for this exercise if your child is having difficulty accomplishing this. Please also note that while your child is performing an activity with the arms this is not done in isolation: he must maintain trunk stability by engaging his core musculature to keep his feet firmly planted on the floor and to prevent his spine from moving along with the arms.
Arm Stretching Sideways.
Arms sideways — stretch!
Arms downwards — stretch.”
(Repeat 10-20 times.)
Our next exercise is Arm Parting, which falls under the category of Dorsal — or Scapular — movements. While your child will continue to strengthen shoulder musculature — including the oh, so important rotator cuff muscles — in this exercise, there is an added benefit of activation of scapular musculature as the arms part during this exercise which creates a stable foundation from which your arms can perform the wide variety of movements necessary in every day life. Technically the arms are supposed to be promptly returned to the sides with the “recover” part of this exercise, as demonstrated by my younger son. My oldest son was trying to be intentionally silly and I decided to ignore it.
Please do the same. 🙂
Arms forward — raise.
Arms parting — 1, 2.
Arms downward — lower.
(Repeat 5-15 times.)
Next we move on to Trunk Rotation, which falls under the category of Lateral Trunk Movements. This is a tough movement to master, so don’t be surprised if your kids have trouble with this one. The value in this movement is that it teaches the very important concept that the legs and pelvis remain stable while the spine itself twists from the waist. It is difficult for many people to demonstrate this dissociation of body parts and is particularly challenging for children. In this first video you will see the way children commonly demonstrate the movement with a first effort.
So how do we teach this? That is the big question. It may be advisable to initially teach your child to twist from the waist while seated in a chair. Normally this is not advisable, as the loads created in your spine in sitting while combining it with a twist are extremely high. In this instance, however, it is being performed in a controlled situation as a teaching tool and is acceptable. Your child should be instructed that he is attempting to twist around an axis — just like the earth spins around an axis! — that goes from the top of his head through the bottom of his seated pelvis; ie his spine. This movement is initiated from the waist, and the movement is initiated by engaging the core muscles (sometimes pretending to blow out a birthday candle in order to draw the belly button towards the spine is helpful with this) and twisting at the waist as if ringing out a washcloth. The chin should remain aligned with the sternum (ie breast bone) throughout this movement; in other words, the child should not twist his neck to accomplish trunk rotation, nor should he lead with the shoulders to accomplish a larger range of motion.
Instructions for this movement are as follows:
Trunk to the left — turn.
Forward and to the right — turn.
Forward and to the left — turn.
Forward and to the right — turn.”
[Continue side to side 5 times each, then end with…]
“Forward — turn.
Finally, we will learn Trunk Falling Backwards. While this falls in the Abdominal category it also works at the hip by creating valuable stretches to the quadriceps musculature. This exercise is one of my favorites. I love that it is a form of abdominal strengthening that requires the spine to remain in a neutral position and that it creates a magnificent stretch across the front of the hips, which tend to become very tight from all the sitting we do.
Instructions for this movement are as follows:
Trunk Falling Backward.
[Then choose to say either]:
- Half kneel — right foot forward — place. Tall kneel — place! OR
- Kneel standing position — place. 1, 2.
- and THEN Wing position. Hips — firm!
Trunk backward — fall.
Trunk — raise.”
(Repeat 5-10 times.)
That’s all for this post’s “How To.” The post next month will be the remaining exercises to master in order to conduct two entire Drill routines!
If you would prefer the Swedish Drill information found in past and future posts in one easy to read place, my eBook Swedish Drill Revisited is 50+ pages of Swedish Drill information, a complete open-and-go curriculum that will assist you in instructing your children two complete Swedish Drill routines. It’s entirely self-contained and has everything you need to make Swedish Drill happen consistently in your homeschool or co-op. Click here to read more or here to see sample pages or click here to purchase.
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