Exercise of the Month
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
In Pilates this exercise is commonly known as the Swan Dive. To properly execute movement into spinal extension we must recruit muscles from our posterior chain. Often these muscles are lengthened and weakened from living in a forward reaching world. In order to maintain the muscular balance necessary to keep us pain free we must be conscious of this fact and include extension in our daily activities. With temperatures on the rise consider swimming this summer. Specifically the breast stroke as a non-mat based way to take your spine through a similar movement pattern. If you are a yoga enthusiast you will find the Pilates Swan Dive similar to Upward dog. In the picture below Karen is using the aid of a Pilates arc barrel to encourage mobility through the upper back. This is a great variation for patients with postural kyphosis commonly known as a rounded upper back. Note when performing full spinal extension it is important to turn the knees out/laterally rotate the femur in the hip socket. This allows for the required pelvic mobility to achieve the desired range of motion. Inhale as you move into extension and Exhale while lowering to the ground. The pattern compliments the required opening of the rib-cage during the extension phase.
Always consult your doctor prior to beginning a new exercise program to ensure it is a safe choice. This exercise would be contraindicated for some populations such as those with anterior or anterolateral disk injury.