Sideways Martial-Arts Movements



Because they contribute to structural reversal, I use the two martial-arts warm-ups shown here: “The Scissor Walk” and “The Rocking Horse”. Both make it easy to train and shape your body, are enjoyable and efficient, and allow you to develop muscles while out for a walk, and require only a few feet of space (and so can also be done at home).

By moving you sideways, they give you a break from constant forward movement, awaken, work, and develop rarely used side muscles in a way that forward motion cannot. When moving forward hurts, do one or both of these movements. As always, let your body tell you how many of each to do, and when it is time to change. Each is extremely valuable for

  • unlocking, relaxing, developing, and strengthening the hips
  • working the love handles (that result from ignoring our sides)
  • relaxing the ankles
  • developing the oblique abdominal muscles
  • strengthening, grounding, and relaxing the body while moving.

Relaxing while Moving

You might not associate relaxing with an activity like moving (walking or running), but these warm-ups do relax body parts that need relaxing.

The Scissor Walk

Turn sideways, with one side facing the direction that you are heading, and continue at a slow run, with one leg crossing first in front of the other, and then behind, in a scissoring motion. Small, deliberate movements give you more command of your hips and shoulders. It is similar to some moves used in line-dancing and other types of scissor dancing. Start out at a walk until you become more comfortable with the movement.

Allow your arms and shoulders to swing contrarily to the torso, hips, and legs (left arm forward, right leg forward) like a lazy-Susan pelvis, with the upper body and lower body swiveling in opposite directions. This works the oblique abdominal muscles (aka banana or six-pack muscles). Continue to keep your weight in your thighs, as this prevents you from twisting your spine too far.

The Rocking Horse

This sideways Velcro-style action helps to build arches and wakes up muscles in your feet and the insides and outsides of your legs. Turn with one side facing the direction you are heading, with your feet parallel and 2 to 3 feet apart (maintain this distance throughout the movement), knees bent and above your toes. Be careful not to let your knees cave inwards toward each other.

Take small skip-like movements—no more than 3 or 4 inches at a time—in a slow rocking motion (as if you had rockers or runners under your feet, like a rocking horse). Keep elbows near ribs, and tucked in at the waist, with shoulders down and relaxed. Very little ground is actually covered with each step. The entire movement is initiated by the hips and waist that move the legs and body in a slow sideways galloping motion. Stay low with your weight in your thighs.