Exercise #1434

Swan Dive

2 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals, back and hip extensors.

Objective: Strengthen the back and hip extensors and stabilize the powerhouse.

Start Position: Lie on your stomach with legs together and hands placed by your head. Lift your abdominals away from the floor while sending your tailbone to the floor.

Movement: Press through your hands into Swan, maintaining a long spine and lengthened neck. Release your arms straight to the side as your body rocks forward. Maintaining the arc position of the body, the legs will lift off the Mat. Rock back onto the thighs, lifting the chest, and maintaining the extension and arc position of the body. Repeat.

Precautions: Avoid lifting the chest and extending the spine so much in Swan that you feel a pinch in the lower back. Maintain the length in the back by lifting the abdominals to spine and sending the tailbone to the Mat. Prevent the legs from releasing the arc shape by engaging the glutes, inner thighs, and back extensors. Swan Dive should not be performed until you have learned and practiced the Swan and Swan Dive Prep.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Apr 28, 2014
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

The next exercise is called Swan dive. It takes a lot of back muscle control. It opens up the chest to create an atmosphere of exhilaration and excitement. Obviously it's an advanced exercise. So to go through the basic mechanics of it, first of all, Christie's got her hands right on the side of her head a little bit wide. Now pull the stomach in and up and press down with the hands to lift your chest up, opening the chest out, pulling the shoulder blades down your back and make sure that you're tightening the muscles. So from your heels up through the crown of your head, you're in a locked position.

Now keeping the shape just rock forward to the arms or bent. Lift the legs up to the ceiling and then press back up. That's the movement. But she will do it without her arms. So as you fall forward, now you will take your arms to the side. This you can only do fast. So here we go. Christie, take a breath in and then on an exhalation, fall forward and inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale. Last one. Inhale and come back down to the mat.

So obviously it's a rhythm exercise. You have to trust your body, you have to lock everything so you're not flopping around as you fall forward. Cause it is a fall. You have to think of the legs lifting you. So creates nice firm bottom, nice strong open chest. Things to watch out for is if the legs are disconnected or if you feel a pinch in the lower back. Not everybody has a long open, lower spine. In that case, you take the legs wider apart so that there's room for the sacred to be buried.

And now Christie, lift up one more time, making sure this is buried, but the stomach supports the lower back. It just twice going forward with the legs apart to show how it's done. So fall and up. So easier to get the legs up. That's right. And then come back down, sit into child's pose and stretch your lower back out. So you have a nice elongation of the spine.

So very useful exercise to create strengths in the skeleton. Strengths in the back of vertical feeling. When you stand up straight, it's called Swan Dye.

Related Content


Why are the arms to the side rather than reaching forward?
Niedra Gabriel
Good question Safiah, we were looking to duplicate the exact version that is done in Return to Life ( original book written by Joe Pilates where he describes how to do ever of the mat exercises ). Normally I teach advanced students to do this with the arms forward and I consider it the most advanced interpretation of the swan dive.
New to me too!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin