Day: December 5, 2010

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Swan Dive

Purpose:
The Swan Dive strengthens the muscles of the back and stretches the hip flexors. This is an intermediate/advanced exercise performed on the Pilates Ladder Barrel. A SAC Certified Pilates Instructor should assist with this exercise.

Starting Position:
Lie prone (on stomach) with upper body draped over the barrel. Arms are long. Knees are bent. The balls of the feet are on 1 rung and the heels on the rung above; heels together toes apart. (V position)

  1. Inhale, keep heels together; lift upper body off barrel, forming 1 long line from feet to head (dart position); reach arms long, palms down. Legs will straighten.
  2. Exhale, lift upper body even more– reaching chest and arms up toward the ceiling forming an arc. Bend knees, keep thighs pressing against barrel. Arms open slightly; turning palms to face each other.
  3. Inhale, straighten legs, lowering and lengthening the upper body to the dart position, reaching arms long— continuing the long line, palms turn down.
  4. Exhale, bend knees, and lower body to starting position.
  5. Complete 3 sets.

Focus:
Come to the longest line possible in dart position before lifting upper body into extension.
Engaging abs is critical in order to protect the back and achieve the arc shape.
Bending knees is important to avoid overextension of the lower back.

Modification:
Lengthen out to the dart position only, return to the starting position.