Swan with a Ball on the Mat
Swan on the Pilates Mat is a delicious extension exercise. But, it’s also an easy one to cheat on. Finding the length, the strength and maintaining the connections of your arms to your back can be tricky. Using the Triad Ball or another squishy ball is a fabulous way to focus on your length and connection without feeling stuck or frustrated. I love adding a prop into your Mat practice to help you explore where you can connect more and where you need to connect more. Try the Swan with the ball and then try it without the ball.
Reach your tailbone away from your heart and keep length in your neck.
Laying on your stomach with straight arms in front of you, place both hands on top of the ball. Leg long behind you with your legs ideally hugging together. If that affects your lower back, you can separate your legs. In either leg position, spin your inner thighs up to help you get more of your hamstrings and inner thighs. Before lifting your chest, feel your shoulder blades come down your back and connect your upper back muscles into the exercise.
Pressing into the ball, lift your chest forward and slightly up. Focus on reaching your chest forward instead of trying to rise as high as you can. Then press your hands into the ball as you lower your chest down and reach your chest longer. Your legs remain hugging together and pressing down into the mat. Do this 3-5x and then remove the ball and try to do your Swan without a prop. See if you can reach your arms from your back. If you can try the dive! If you cannot repeat this exercise with the prop and then try again without it. You may not get up as high but the goal is to be long and connected.