There are many ways to enjoy prone extension: lying face down on the mat and finding the Dart position; on the trapeze table; on the ladder barrel or chair; or on the long box on the reformer.
They’re all great positions and really beneficial for our bodies. In this program, we have devised a novel way of finding extension, using the frame of the reformer.
We start by lying face down (prone) on the long box, facing the back of the reformer. Most of us will be using a light spring. We’ll use the side frame of the reformer to help us ‘climb’ to the back of the reformer and grip the frame. We take a moment to ‘hang’ off the frame, enjoying the stretch into our shoulder girdle. From there, we’ll pull ourselves towards the back of the reformer, allowing the chest to come through our long arms into a slight extension. We’ve built up repetitions over time and those feeling really strong can increase the load on the springs.
It’s probably fair to say that most of us have found this exercise to be challenging! As well as finding extension through the front of our bodies, we need our legs to be active to prevent us working into our lower back. Meanwhile, we are mobilising and strengthening our upper back, shoulders, chest and arms. It’s also a great way to improve our grip strength.
In everyday life, many of us over-rely on our lower back, particularly for lifting, often leading to tight hips and lower back pain. By mobilising and strengthening our upper back muscles, we can move more efficiently – sharing the load through the back. This will lead to better posture and reduce the risk of injury to the back.
By strengthening shoulder and chest muscles, we’ll reduce the risk of injury to joints and support our head and neck in good alignment. We’ll also be able to move our arms more freely – instead of using only muscles in our arms (for example, to reach to a high shelf), we’ll be able to use our shoulder girdle muscles. This will also help us improve our range of movement and stability when swimming, golfing, playing tennis and so on.
It’s not too late to join our Grasshopper Program – we’d love to share it with you!