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How to Do the Swan Dive in Pilates

Learn how to do the swan dive, an advanced Pilates Mat exercise, from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


This is swan dive, which is an advancement of swan from the intermediate mat sequence. So we’ll start on the stomach in the swan position, bringing your hands underneath your shoulders. So, to lead up to the full swan dive, I’ll teach a few preparations to get your body prepared for this exercise. Inhale here, Madeline, press into your hands and go into almost a full extension, so the elbows are very long here. Then as you exhale roll forward onto your chest lift your legs up and then return right back up. Again, two more, Inhale roll forward to the breast bone, exhale up. One more time here, and up. Now just hold it here, and this time we’ll sweep the arms in front of you, so lower the chest towards the mat, sweep the arms forward, and then catch yourself. That’s it two more times here, inhale and exhale up. Last time. Now just lower down into the mat for a little rest. So notice in the swan dive how the body works as a unit, it’s not that her top is going then her legs go, it’s not two separate pieces the whole body rocks back and forth, kinda like a rocking horse. Next is the full swan dive here. So extend all the way up, towards the mat, sweep your arms forward, kick your legs up and continue to rock here. Rock a few more times, then gradually make the move smaller, until you find yourself lying completely flat on the mat, and lower all the way down. Then sit back into your rest position, and that’s swan dive.

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