One of the most popular exercises that you will see in all magazines is the ‘Plank’. In Pilates, we call this the Front Support as the entire front of your body is supporting you. Front Support really does bring a lot of value to your exercise regime where it incorporates all the muscles in the front of the body as well as the muscles that are responsible for good shoulder stability. However, this exercise must be performed correctly in order for it to have the desired effect. If not done correctly, it can place unnecessary strain on your lower back and shoulders.
How to do the pilates front support
The starting position for this exercise is important. You are going to start in a position called 4-point kneeling which basically means that you are going to be on your hands and knees on your mat. Get the feeling of lifting out of your shoulders. This feeling can be described as lifting your neck and chest further away from the floor while the palm of your hands is trying to press through the mat.
This is going to activate one of your main shoulder stabilizers called your Serratus Anterior. Now gently contract your abdominals so that they can hold the position of your pelvis as they are attached to your pubic bone. Gently extend one leg back and curl your toes under. Once secure, extend the other leg back and curl the toes under. You should be in a perfect plank position now. Hold this position while you take 10 breaths and remember to contract your abdominals whenever you exhale.
To end it off, lift your hips up to the ceiling or sky into what we call a Pike position. This is going to give you a great stretch of your hamstrings. Remember to try to keep your back as flat as possible as this will increase the stretch in the hamstrings. Think of floating your body back into the plank position again lifting out of your shoulders.
Please be aware of any previous spinal injuries that you have had. You will need to check with your Health Care Professional whether you can use Front Support. Also, be aware of the position of your neck. Keep the neck in line with your spine to avoid unnecessary tension in your neck.
Front Support is going to create strength in your core and shoulders. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Increase the length of time that you stay on the plank as you feel you are getting stronger. This will improve your strength and tone your abdominals, arms, and shoulders. This is one of those exercises that will give you that flatter tummy and those beautifully toned arms the more you do it. And all you need to do is get your mat out, hop onto your mat, take a deep breath, and go for it at least twice a day.
Remember the Pelvic Curl, Single Leg Stretch, Teaser Prep, Hundreds, and Roll Over that we have learned. Now you can add the Front Support to your Pilates Repertoire. Each of these exercises has a purpose. Pilates is known for stretching your body but it is totally underrated for how well it works and tones your body.
Tanya Thompson and Front Support
Take a mind-body journey with Pilates. I would like to invite you to discover movements differently. Take this time to be still, feel, and embrace what your body has to offer you. This week we will be looking at how you can train your body in Pilates with the Pilates Roll Over. The focus of this exercise is to work your abdominals, core, and shoulders. Think, fully extended knees, lifting out of the shoulders, and maintaining a good contraction in your abdominals. Imagine a plank and be aware of your lower spine. It should not arch at any point. The exercise should be calm, the exercise should look effortless and the intensity should be transferred throughout the body. As we embark on this Pilates journey, we will introduce you to both Pilates Mat and Pilates Equipment repertoire. Enjoy!