Newsletter for news & promos

Rowing 1: Into the Sternum

Rowing 1 aka (“Into the Sternum” or “Rowing Back – Round Back”)

Like Footwork in last week’s video post, into the Sternum is not one exercise, but a whole series of (in the Classical Pilates repertoire at least) exercises:

  • Rowing 1: Into the Sternum
  • Rowing 2: 90°
  • Rowing 3: From the Chest
  • Rowing 4: From the Hip
  • Rowing 5: Shave
  • Rowing 6: Hug


This exercise, like the whole series integrate and displays all the wonderful elements of Pilates: shoulder stability and mobility, deep abdominal activation, abdominal strength, flexibility and control.  Though not  beginner exercises by any means, learning this series provides wonderful insights into the Pilates Method as a whole.
In fact, before starting on a study of this series, a good foundation is necessary.  A good mastery of other arm-work (both pushing and pulling), shoulder stability and flexibility combined with the ability to flex the spine is essential.  Other elements include the ability to sit up on our sit bones so that we might achieve the starting and finishing positions.
Additionally, good flow makes this series a wonderful series to execute, there should be a seamless flow of movement from start to finish, emulating the rowing of a long sleek boat of the smooth waters of a lake early morning.
Rowing Lesley Logan
Rowing: Courtesy of Lesley Logan


The Imagery…

Rowing a boat is a good visual image.  Imagine a long sleek boat gliding across the water propelled by the dynamic strokes of the oars.

Who is this not for?

  • If you have shoulder issues: impingement, separations, and so on…
  • People with a history of osteoporosis.


The Choreography…

… is a challenge.  I like to break it up into pieces…


The Starting Position

Sitting upright on the Reformer, facing the back, leaving enough space behind you to be able to roll down.  Keep your legs straight and between the shoulder rests: you may need to cross them.  Your arms, straight out in front of you, should be parallel to each other and to the floor.  Hold the straps in your hands with the hands facing each other.

  • Inhale:  flex your elbows, bending your arms and bring your hands into your sternum, with your elbows wide.  Stay sitting up on your sit bones.  You’ll notice how this already gets your spinal and abdominal muscles working as they work to maintain you position right on your sit bones…
  • Exhale:  forming a C-curve, roll down into a supine position, keeping you hands in front of your sternum and maintain the flexion of your trunk.  Here, don’t just flop down but reach your tail bone towards your heels …
  • Inhale:  Remain in the supine position.  Retract your shoulder blades, extend your elbows and internally rotate your shoulders so that your arms open out with your palms facing backwards.   Straighten your arms out to the sides, creating a T position with your arms.
  • Exhale:  Without moving the carriage, transfer your trunk into forward flexion over your legs, while simultaneously reaching your arms behind your body and touch your hands together.  Keep the carriage still and maintain tension on the straps throughout this stage.  Here, on the video, you can see that we did some tricep presses as a variation on the basic choreography.
  • Inhale:  remain in forward flexion, stretching your hamstrings.  Circle your arms to the front over your legs exactly as if swimming using butterfly stroke.
  • Exhale:  roll up your trunk, and go into the next repetition without a break only returning to your upright starting position after four to six repetitions.


Aims & Objectives

Shoulder Anatomy

  • Strengthening of the shoulder mover muscles: latissimus dorsi & rotator cuff, posterior deltoid & pectoralis major.
  • Strengthening of the shoulder stabilizers: serratus anterior, trapezius and rhomboids.
  • Strenghtening of the abdominals and hip flexors.
  • Learning to stabilise the torso during dynamic movements.
  • Develop coordination.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s a wonderful and exhilarating experience…
Rowing in the Sternum
Thanks you for reading this far.  If you liked this post and you’ve never visited the studio, why not book a One on One Trial Lesson and see what Pilates is all about?ope to see you soon…
Miguel :-)))

Don't miss out on exclusive benefits.

Sign up to our newsletter today!

Download your Academy Brochure

Sign up to receive your brochure.