Pilates Exercise Focus on The Swan

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Swan on Cadillac

The Swan is one of my favorite Pilates exercises and one that can be performed on almost all of the apparatus. An “extension” exercise, it is referred to as the Swan Dive (on the mat) and variations include a rocking swan, a simple Press Up, and Swan Dive Prep. The muscle focus is on the spinal extensiors that run vertically up and down the back, scapular stabilizers (shoulder blades), triceps (“chicken wings”) and stretching the abdominals. It is performed prone (on the stomach) with inhalation on the extension part of the movement and exhalation on the return part of the movement. On the Reformer, the Swan is performed using the Long Box and works the back, hips and knee extensors. On the Cadillac, we can use the rolldown bar to faciliate greater extension, which is a more advanced version. The Swan can be performed on the Chair, face down with the hands on the pedals which uses the elbow extensors and triceps. I enjoy performing the Swan on the Ladder Barrel as the padding is comfortable on my hip bones and I can finish by letting my body relax into a stretch resting my body over the barrel. These exercises can be modified to accommodate different levels but using caution with the spinal conditions including neck and back injuries or weakness, disc issues, etc. and should not be performed if pregnant or pressure on the abdomen is contraindicated.Swan on the Ladder Barrel

 

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