Summertime and the Right to Bare Arms

By June Scharff

Here we are mid-June and you would think we are in the middle of summer. Bringing out those sleeveless and short sleeve tops can feel a little daunting. The good news for most Pilates enthusiasts is that it is not so scary. In our Pilates workouts we incorporate a good deal of work for the arms.


In the effort in developing awesome arms, using proper technique is very important to protect the joints in the shoulder, elbow and wrist.


Here are a few tips:


1. Keeping your Pilates posture is essential… The torso is lifted, the ribcage is closed and the Latissimus Dorsi is reaching toward the feet from underneath the armpits.


2. In executing arm work, the shoulders are open and lower down the back without gripping.


3. The humerus should stay in the shoulder socket. The movement in, out, up or down comes from the back.


4. Like legwork, the focus is to initiate the movement from the 2 inches closest to the trunk of the body.


5. When using hand weights or straps (from the reformer) you do not need to grip or hold on tight with your hands.


6. Shoulders should not rise during the work. Watch to see if you start to have wrinkles in your shirt on top of the shoulders; the top of the shoulders should be smooth, no wrinkles. If you have difficulty keeping the shoulders from rising you may need to lower the weight or resistance, or do fewer repetitions until you get stronger. Continuing to work with the shoulders up will not help you, and it may give you a sore neck.


7. A note especially for women, the triceps seem to be the most challenging for us. Incorporate several different types of tricep exercises in your workout. There are 3 parts to the triceps, the lateral head, medial head and long head. Each exercise places intensity on a different part of the triceps.


So when you find yourself feeling at ease and confident as you go to your closet to pull out your warm weather clothing, give yourself a pat on the back. Also, give a big thank you to Joseph Pilates for developing such a complete, full body exercise program. We get to feel good and look good!