We all need to work on our extension. But the reality is many of us don't know where to extend from! And we are so conditioned to just press our lower backs down and do all the work from there. However, we already do a great job extending from there! It's important we learn how to let the extension climb up our backs into our thoracic spine. But, what if you need to a prep for that? That's where Swan Prep on the Pilates Mat will help you.
Press tops of feet down as you lift your head and chest up and forward.
Laying on your stomach layer your hands under your forehead. Stretch your legs long on the mat. Make sure that you're not turning them out or separating them. If you have lower back issues it's ok to separate them about a hips distance. Keep them parallel. Reach your tailbone for your heels and your front hip points should feel like they could lift away. This is impossible but you want the energy of them lifting up. Double check your shoulders are out of your ears and on your back.
Without lifting your legs or pressing your lower back down lift your hands, elbows, head, and chest off the mat. However about one or two inches and then lower back down. Repeat. If your legs lift up with your upper body it's a sign you're using your glutes and lower back. Our goal here is to focus on using just your upper back and everything else is working our center long and strong. If going well and you're feeling the muscles around your upper back working then try to lift your legs. However, if you lose the connection to your upper back when you do that leave your legs down. If, when you lift your legs everything remains connected hold the position and breathe. Your body will start to rock front to back slightly. This will help set you up for a future Swan dive!
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!