DIGGING DEEPER – Get to know your Pilates exercises: Swimming



by Amanda Turner

 At the height of summer, I think Swimming is a great exercise to dive into 😉 Swimming is an advanced level exercise that is a part of the Mat repertoire, but there are several other places you can execute this exercise.  Two being theReformer (on the long box) and the Spine Corrector, each increasing in difficulty.  

Amanda performing Swimming on the Spine Corrector

 Set Up:

 After your Can-can or Hip Circles, turn over to lay on your stomach.  Arms reaching overhead, forehead resting on the Mat, legs extended.  Scoop your abdominals away from the Mat, squeeze your glutes to protect your low back.


~Lift your arms, legs and head off the Mat.  Legs should be together, back of the neck long.

~Lift your right arm and left leg higher and then reverse, lifting the left arm and right leg higher.  Do this quickly; kicking the legs and fluttering the arms.

~Inhale for 5 counts, exhale for 5 counts. 3 Sets total.

~Once finished, sit back  and round your spine.

 You should not feel this compressing your low back. If you do, try squeezing the glutes and scooping the abdominals and lengthening more. Your chest stays lifted, using your upper back muscles (posture muscles), there should be no rocking forward and back or side to side – maintain stability within the powerhouse.  

Common cues: 

~Shoulders down

~No tension in your neck

~Keep the legs straight (use the glutes and hamstrings to lift the legs instead of the feet). 

~Lift your chest higher

Exercises to work on to prepare for Swimming:

~Swan of all kinds: Basic, Dive and Catch, and Dive

~Single Leg Kick

~Double Leg Kick

 How to advance your Swimming:

~Swimming on the Box (Reformer), more challenging because there is less surface area requiring more strength to maintain lift

~Swimming on the Spine Corrector, more challenging because there is even less surface area and its rounded requiring even more strength to maintain lift and not fall off

 You’ll also need elements of Swimming to progress to your Leg Pull Front and Rocking in your Mat work.

 Get plenty of practice prepping for Swimming, perfecting your Swimming, or advancing your Swimming.  Happy Summer!