U = Upper Body Positioning and Exercises

During the warm-up or preparation phase of a Pilates class there are certain key exercises and positioning exercises that assist in warming up muscles and joints.

School Of Pilates Posted Sep 14, 2015 Future Fit Training


U = Upper Body Positioning and Exercises

They also help with placement of certain bones and posture such as the positioning of the upper body and shoulders. This is to avoid the build-up of tension in the upper body such as the upper back and neck areas. Also, the upper body should be warmed up sufficiently prior to performing any exercise.  The following 2 exercises are examples of what could be included:

Scapula isolation (protraction and retraction of the scapula)

This exercise can be performed standing, seating or lying. For this example we will look at the seated version as in lying position the mat can sometimes hinder movement of the shoulders blades for some kyphotic clients:

  • Sit tall on a block or mat in neutral position with the knees slightly bent and hip-width apart, feet relaxed
  • Arms reach toward the ceiling palms facing inward, hands above the shoulders
  • Chin should be tucked in, neck long and shoulders down away from the ears
  • Inhale and start to widen the shoulders (protracting the scapulae); the hands will come together slightly
  • Exhale and bring the shoulders blades back to neutral
  • Repeat the above 4 times then move onto the next phase, shown below
  • Inhale and start to draw the shoulder blades together (retracting the scapulae)
  • Exhale and move the shoulder blades back to neutral
  • Repeat 4 times then relax and lower arms down

Shoulder lifts (elevation and depression of the scapula)

  • Sit tall on a block or mat, relax the shoulders down and back visualising that V shape
  • Lengthen the neck and nod the chin down and in slightly
  • Relax the arms down, palms pressing slightly into the mat
  • Inhale and lift the shoulders up toward the ears, elevating the scapula
  • Exhale and depress the shoulders back down
  • Repeat 8 times then relax

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