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Extension (ADVANCED)

This week we are building on from our lesson in week 2 on the basics of Extension to more advanced classical Pilates exercises involving Extension of the spine.

The two exercises demonstrated today ‘Cobra’ and ‘Rocking’ follow the same principles of Pilates described in week two. However, as the exercises become more demanding with a bigger range of movement these Pilates principles become more important.

Alignment is key. These fundamentals are a neutral pelvis, abdominal recruitment to support this and thoracic breathing to maintain trunk stability and ensure the neck and shoulders remain free of tension.

In the movement phase we bring in the use of the powerhouse, which maintains support and alignment of the frame during the exercise.

Opposition further strengthens the powerhouse and ensures the moving muscles work with length and strength. This is how Pilates is renown for its benefit of developing long, lean muscles.

When moving on from basic or simple movement patterns as in weeks 13 it’s important to keep the movement small. Pilates works from the inside out, so the exercise itself works to challenge the powerhouse. As a movement becomes bigger or more advanced, the powerhouse has to work harder to support the movement and maintain alignment.

Therefore when beginning these two exercises it is important to keep the movement small, until the core or powerhouse becomes stronger to support the increase in movement.

These two back extension exercises are wonderful for opening the chest and stretching through the whole front line. As a consequence, the whole back line i.e. the back extensors, gluts and hamstrings etc strengthen and lengthen.

Do feel free to contact me if you would like further advice or explanation and as always with Pilates, do speak with your qualified Pilates Instructor first about changing or adding to your routine, to ensure the movements are appropriate to your individual, unique and beautiful body.

KSJ X Asquith

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To find out more about Katharine go to or @ksjbodycontrol

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