Pilates Exercise of the Month: Table Top on the Reformer

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Image of Exercise
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Aim

 

This exercise works the core abdominals whilst maintaining lumbar and scapula stability

Starting Position

 

Place the box lengthways on the carriage.  The footbar is down.  The head and body are facing towards the shoulder rests.  Face the box and place one knee at a time onto it.  Place the hands onto the outside edges of the box.  The body is in a four point kneeling position with the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Place one foot into the strap. The leg hangs down directly under the hip (or slightly forwards of it) on the outside edge of the frame of the machine.  The opposite knee may have to move slightly over towards the centre of the box as the straight leg drops down over the side of the box.

Action

 

Inhale – To prepare

Exhale – To engage the core abdominals, draw down the scapula and pull on the strap to raise the leg up to shoulder height, or wherever a neutral pelvis allows. The carriage will move accordingly

Inhale – To lower the leg back down under control to return to the starting position

Target Muscles

 

Core abdominals, scapula stabilisers, gluteals,

 

Watchpoints

 

  • Keep the elbows soft
  • Do not lift the leg higher than hip height (or less if neutral is lost)
  • Ensure the scapula stabilising muscles are working hard to prevent the shoulders hiking up to the ears.  Keep serratus anterior working to prevent the scapula collapsing together
  • Ensure both shoulders are level with each other.  Usually the opposite shoulder to the leg that is lifting will want to shift forwards
  • Keep the collarbones wide and open
  • Maintain equal length on both sides of the waist
  • Keep the core abdominals working hard to maintain a neutral spine throughout and prevent the pelvis from rotating, dipping or arching

Variation One

This may be performed with the hands holding onto the shoulder rest handles instead of the edge of the box

Contra Indictions

 

This exercise places extra strain on the wrist and knee joints.  Take care for those who suffer from problems in these joints.

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