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Pilates Exercise for October – Breast Stroke Prep

October 10th, 2018

Breast Stroke Prep


We all know the compelling benefits of Pilates by focusing the entire body and not just specific areas.


The Breast Stroke Prep exercise is one of our core Matwork exercises.  As the name suggests it is the preparatory exercise in our Pilates for principally the back. It is highly efficient for stabilising the scapula (shoulder blades), restorative upper back muscles and strengthening the body, improving posture and enabling better movement to name but a few. With the inevitable stooping over laptops, iPads, telephones etc we need to do all we can to strengthen the back and core.


I function the approach of reaching ears from toes for the full stretch in the exercise. This makes a huge difference to the exercise.


You should do this exercise once warmed up and mobilised.


How to do it!


Lay prone (on your tummy) on a mat on the floor. Legs tightly squeezed together, zipped up with toes pointed unless you have any back issues then legs hip width apart.


Place your arms so that the elbows are by the rib cage and wrists in line with the elbows. The hands in line with the shoulders. Don’t compress into your upper back. Nose on the floor or forehead by the hair line on a thin head pad if that’s more comfortable for you.


Contract your abdominals, inhale through your nose and press gently into your forearms. They stay on the floor. Think about reaching ears away from toes and toes away from ears before you lift your chest.  The legs stay heavy on the ground all the time. Exhale as you lift the chest just two ribs off the ground. Opening out the breast bone (sternum) by imagining a dart coming out of your sternum firing to the wall in front of you. It is imperative that your head and neck remains neutral. Just allow the head to come up off the ground softly with no craning of the neck. Inhale whilst lifted then exhale and return to your starting position. Four breath pattern, inhale prepare, exhale lift, inhale whilst in position and then exhale down. Enjoy and feel the benefits.


Repeat 6-8 times.

By Pilates Instructor, Louise Nightingale



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