Reformer Vs Mat Pilates – Four-Point Kneeling Arm Exercise

In this blog we are going to follow on from the previous ‘Pilates Reformer vs Mat Exercise’ blog and give you a Four-point kneeling arm exercise which can be done on both the mat and the reformer.

Set up:

Hands directly underneath shoulders and knees directly underneath hips. First, we will find your neutral spine by doing a few pelvic tilts. Pelvic tilts involve tucking your tailbone and rounding your lower spine and then lifting your tailbone and dipping your lower spine down. Neutral is roughly halfway between the two movements so you have a little dip in your lower spine. Then we will set your shoulder blades. To do this we move your chest up and pull the shoulder blades apart and then drop your chest to pinch the shoulder blades together. You should feel your shoulder blades moving around your rib-cage. To set the shoulder blades lift the chest so your shoulder blades are apart and pull them down your rib-cage away from your ears.

The Movement:

For both the mat and the reformer you need to keep your set body position still as you move one upper arm. This is one of the challenges of this position.

Mat: On the mat you will use a hand weight in one hand. This weight is lifted up to your hip using your latissimus dorsi on your back and triceps on the back of the arm. Whilst the arm with the hand weight seems to be doing the work here, you should also feel your opposite shoulder muscles working to keep the connection to your rib-cage which we set up at the start. Your deep abdominal muscles then work to stabilise across your neutral lumbar spine.

Reformer: On the reformer this exercise will use the hand strap attached to the pulley system. The same movement will occur as the exercise on the mat however due to the dynamic movement of the reformer your opposite shoulder and deep abdominal muscles will have to work harder to stabilise you.  This is because the reformer surface which you are kneeling on is moving against a spring resistance so therefore you need to use more stability muscles to keep that set up position we started with.

This is just one example of an exercise which can be done on both the mat and reformer. Keep a look out on the Bend + Mend blog page to see some more examples.

If you would like a personalised physiotherapy exercise program using this clinical pilates equipment come in for an assessment with one of our Bend + Mend Physios today.



Helena Dwyer

About Helena Dwyer

Helena graduated with a Doctor of Physiotherapy at Macquarie University. Prior to her postgraduate studies she completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. Growing up in Melbourne, she has a love of AFL which led her to work for an elite level AFL club. She has completed further training in Clinical Pilates and uses these skills to assist in the rehabilitation of her patients. Along with AFL, she has a passion for netball and treating the various injures that come with competitive sport. Helena has further training in Dry Needling and uses this skill in treatments when appropriate. She also has experience in assessing and treating pregnant and post natal women. Overall she enjoys getting her patients pain free and back to doing what they enjoy. In her spare time Helena enjoys getting out and exploring which often includes a refreshing dip at the beach.

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