The Saw is an essential Pilates exercises for beginners. It works all the rotators of the spine, as well as the abdominals. It also provides a hamstring stretch. Follow the step-by-step instructions for The Saw below, or follow along with instructor Jaime Rutt in the accompanying video demonstration.
To prepare for The Saw, sit on an exercise mat with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms raised out to either side, palms forward and shoulders relaxed down.
- Inhale as you rotate and twist your body to the right, keeping your arms raised.
- On the exhale, bring your left arm down to touch your right foot, while you reach your right arm back behind you and pull your abs in.
- Inhale to straighten back up, sitting up as tall as you can with your palms forward.
- Exhale as you undo the twist and return back to center.
Repeat The Saw on the other side, this time bringing your right arm forward and stretching your left arm back. Continue to alternate sides. If your hamstrings are tight, sitting in this position may be difficult. Instead, you can do a variation of The Saw by sitting cross-legged while you follow the steps above. With practice, your hamstrings will become more flexible, and you should be able to perform the full exercise, with your legs outstretched.
Those with shoulder injuries may want to try another variation of The Saw, which involves performing these same steps with your arms positioned up on your chest or off to the side, with your hands resting on your shoulders.