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Pilates transition is to maintain length in the spine during flexion

Transitions as Progressions

teaching skills Dec 31, 2018

In last week’s blog post I talked about how transitions are fun but can contribute to poor form if introduced to the wrong person at the wrong time. If you haven’t yet, read it here before moving on to today’s post.

Let’s take a look at the transition into Hamstring 3 (Washer Woman 3) on the Chair. You might have learned to reach your arms up overhead and then forward and down towards the chair pedal while rounding your spine and rolling down. The purpose of this transition is to maintain length in the spine during flexion. Unfortunately, most students have poor shoulder girdle awareness and end up with their shoulders up by their ears (elevated).

I’m sure you’ve noticed how many of us mistake thoracic spine flexion with scapular protraction. Both of these movements achieve a felt rounding of the upper back, but two very different things happen, anatomically speaking. Most of us widen our shoulder blades on our back to give us the feeling of more rounding. Since our shoulder blades make up part of our shoulder joint, it will leave our arms and shoulders in a position that’s too far forward.

In your next session, why don’t you skip the lifting of the arms until the rest of the exercise is familiar.  Add the additional challenge of the transition back in a few weeks.


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