Pilates at Home : Shoulders + Chest Openers

So, it's Friday and, for most of you, nearing the end of a long week spent mainly hunched over a desk. Or you might have been constantly leaning over a buggy or tending to your child's needs. Perhaps you've been cycling, rowing or pursuing another demanding sport. Either way, your shoulders will most likely need some attention!

Our shoulder girdle is a complex beast - it contributes to our overall posture as well as our ability to execute the plank/push up exercises that are so important to developing core strength. Tension tends to show itself with a lift of the shoulders resulting in injuries as well as in some cases, (like mine), tension headaches.

So here are a few basic exercises to help loosen this troublesome zone and, for those of you that come to my Pilates classes, you'll know that 'shoulders down' is the most frequent correction given!

As always, these are just reminders of exercises and not intended to be a full class or instructional series. If you like what you see though, please do come along and try a class. It's free so what do you have to lose?

REMEMBER: In Prone position (lying face down) there is a high risk of lower back disc compression. Always think about lifting your lower abdominals away from the mat, even when the weight of your upper body makes that feel counter-intuitive! There is not likely to be any physical space between your tummy and the mat but the internal lift (or 'zip + hollow') will be crucial; not only to protecting your lower back but also to ensuring you engage the shoulder girdle as intended.