By June Scharff
Recently we discussed using the Hammock technique to assist in learning how to perform Pilates exercises that require the shoulders to be off of the mat, without recruiting the neck and shoulder muscles. Once you have tried the hammock a few times, you can then add a couple other aspects, which will bring you even further in the process.
Quick review… Lying supine on the mat, take ahold of the two corners of the mat above your head. Lift the mat allowing the head to cradle as if the mat is now a hammock. As you scoop the abdominals allow the head to rest heavy into the hammock.
Now this time… Take ahold of the mat keeping the elbows bent and pointing to the ceiling. Next, focus on incorporating the triceps by pulling them down toward the waist without changing the angle of the arms. At the same time engage the latissimus dorsi by reaching the arms downward from underneath the armpits. Lastly, you also scoop the abs down to the spine creating a fold below the chest. As you focus on these three aspects the shoulders will become raised off of the mat without straining the neck.
1) Scoop abdominals
2) Engage triceps
3) Use the lats
I know that is a great deal to think about. That is okay; you can focus on one at time, then two and then all three. Soon, no more neck strain!