Get Pilates Strong: The Rowing

Get Pilates Strong: The Rowing - Step 1

Rowing - From the Chest: 1.

Home Pilates workouts draw from many different Pilates sources. Some of my favorite at home routines borrow from the classical Pilates Reformer. This single Rowing exercise is one of a set of six distinct moves that are collectively performed for intermediate and advanced Pilates students. On the Reformer we use spring resistance and leather straps to propel the carriage and our body weight but at home you simply need a mat and a set of weights. 

Grab a pair of 2-3 pound weights and sit tall with your legs fully straight in front of you and held together tightly. Bring your back up straight and tall and pull your abdominals inward and upward. Hold your weights in each hand and tuck your arms into your sides. Your fists sit just in front of your armpits and your elbows are pointed back behind your torso. 

Take a breath in this position and get ready. 

Get Pilates Strong: The Rowing - Step 2

Rowing - From the Chest: Step 2.

Step 2:

Inhale and stretch your arms straight up and out on a high diagonal. As you lengthen the arms, create resistance in your limbs. Your glutes should squeeze. Draw your abdominals up higher and stretch long through the waist.

Timing: Move fluidly through this portion. There are no sudden or quick moves. Time the length of the move with your breath.

Focus: Focus on height for this initial moment. Create as much height as you can in the body pulling everything from your feet, seat and torso up off of the mat.

Form: Watch for the tendency to lean back. Tightness in the back or the back of the legs can pull the upper body backwards. Instead, soften the knees and pull your torso up and forward to counter any leaning back.

Get Pilates Strong: Step 3

Rowing - From the Chest: Step 2.

Step 3:

Exhale  and lower the arms down by your sides coming as low as the mat on either side of your legs. Grow taller as you do this to make as much room for the arms as possible.

Inhale to raise the arms again to Step 2 position and pause at the top. Lengthen the arms and legs at this peak position and stretch further and further up into your maximum personal height.

Finally, circle the arms up and around to the sides lifting in the waist and drawing the abdominals higher and hollower as you  go.

Timing: Keep the breath moving and propelling you through the movement. Think of each inhale as a lift up and each exhale as a pressing out through the limbs. In this way each breath intensifies the move and enhances the benefit.

Focus: Ease up on any neck tension. Try to move your arms while keeping your shoulders down and back. Over working your neck muscles will take the work out of the shoulders which is where you want to focus.

Form: Like all Pilates moves this is a full body exercise. There are no soft body parts. Work your entire body with resistance as though you were in water or thick mud. This will give you the quality and timing to get the maximum benefit from the move.

Tips and Tricks: If the weights are too much or too little, adjust accordingly. You can even begin with no weights and build up.  If the legs and back are too tight to maintain an upright position, you may perform this seated at the front edge of a chair. Press your feet firmly into the floor.

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