written by Katie Huddleston, Pure Pilates Instructor
So many of us struggle with extension, and the truth is, it’s hard! For many, even if an instructor is cueing you to pull your abdominals in and up away from the mat, it feels impossible and often feels like you are doing quite the opposite in order to lift into that beautiful swan. Ever feel like you’re pushing your abs down to lift your body up? Here’s a tip that will allow you to use and feel your core support while you’re in an extension series on the mat.
Go ahead and grab your small squishy ball and make sure it is deflated quite a bit. Place it underneath your breastbone and let your head be heavy in your hands underneath your forehead. The space the ball creates helps lift your upper body off the floor, allowing the space for you to actually feel your abs lift away from the mat.
Start with some breathing. On each exhale feel your abs pull to your spine and your extensor muscles in your back will automatically fire. Then play around with how you can use that wrap in your abs to actually lift into a swan prep or swan. You can keep your arms forward or even try your hands under your shoulders or extended behind you. Think of your heart rolling the ball forward about an inch and then pulling it back to lower your head.
The more support you have from underneath the better, and I promise you will fire those abs a lot more!