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Exercise 2: How to use the Vertical Frame with rehab and post-rehab clients for the Swan Dive

In this new blog series, we’ll be looking at how instructors and health care practitioners can make the most of the Vertical Frame on their Reformer to assist rehab and post-rehab clients.

What is the Vertical Frame?

Exercise 2: Swan Dive

Swan Dive on the Reformer with the Vertical Frame is one exercise that Merrithew® Lead Instructor Trainer and physical therapist Jacqueline Gallant likes to use with clients who have lumbar spine issues, especially those who’ve recovered from a herniated disk.

Many clients with lumbar disk herniation will have worked with a physical therapist, osteopath or chiropractor already and likely would have tried an exercise called the McKenzie Extension, which is a more passive version of the Swan Dive.

Once they’re no longer experiencing pain in the lower back or radiating down the legs, and are ready to progress, you can guide them through Swan Dive on the Reformer, using the Vertical Frame’s Push-Thru Bar with springs from above. This exercise will help integrate lumbar and hip extension into their regular functional movements.

As demonstrated in this video, Swan Dive on the Reformer with a Mat Converter and Vertical Frame is an effective exercise for those looking to activate all of the muscles and fascia in the posterior chain, including the erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings. As the client presses down on the unstable surface of the Push-Thru Bar, they will experience muscle activation in the arms, shoulders and back, including the latissimus dorsi, and the increased proprioception will stimulate deeper stabilizing muscles like the multifidus.

Remember, this extension exercise should be comfortable for the client— not painful. Go at their pace and check in with them as you progress and layer on with this exercise.

Swan Dive is an intermediate exercise from the STOTT PILATES® repertoire that can be done on different pieces of equipment, including the Ladder Barrel, depending on your clients’ needs and abilities.

Watch more
Exercise 1: Scapula Isolations
Exercise 3: Bend and Stretch

Health experts suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
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