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Reformer: Overhead Press & Swan


Reformer: Overhead Press & Swan

– perfect for people who spend a lot of time sitting!!

Spinal extension (bending backwards) is the perfect way to help correct a slumped posture.  Getting your shoulder blades moving protects your from frozen shoulder, impingements and all manner of nastiness!

What’s it good for?

🌟 Strengthen the back of the shoulders, upper back, hips, legs, butt,  (latissimus dorsi, teres major, lower trapezius, erector spinae, gluteus maximus and hamstrings).
🌟 Stretches and strengthens the abdominals.
🌟 Strengthens the backs of the arms (triceps) and the chest (pectoralis major).
🌟 Promotes both mobility and stability in the shoulders.



Overhead Press & Swan: quick “how tos” …

  • Springs = light / medium
  • Repetitions = x4-8
  • Headrest = down
  • Footrest = up – low / medium


Overhead Press & Swan: the mechanics

Set Up & Ending Position
Lie face down on the box with your breast-bone slightly off the edge of the box.  place your hands on the box slightly wider than your shoulders.
Exhale: engage your abdominals, slide your shoulder blades down your back whilst you press the footbar away from you.
Inhale:  to return

Hands up: work with your hands of the footbar fingers pointing to the ceiling with your elbows pointing towards the floor.
Hands in: (not in the video) fingers pointing towards each other with your elbows pointing out.
Shoulder mobilisations: Lock your elbows and push the carriage backwards and forwards by elevating and depressing your shoulder blades.
The Swan: keep pushing your shoulder blades down and allow this pressure in your back to push up your torso whilst keeping your lower ribs on the carriage.
Single arm: reduce your spring load and place your forearm on the front surface of the box and push out with the other arm.

Hints and Tips

💡  Reach your tailbone out slightly to help take the pressure off your lower back.
💡  Press your hip bones into the box as you press away the footbar.
💡  Keep your leg together, your heels might want to separate from each other.
💡  Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
💡 When performing The Swan, lift your heart upwards and forwards, not your head.  In pilates, the heart rules the head!
💡 Keep your head in line with your torso

  • if you’re working with a flat torso, choose an imaginary line to focus on as you push away the carriage.
  • If you’re performing the Swan, imagine watching a marble roll away from you s your torso lifts up.


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