Joseph Pilates Reformer Exercise – Sternal Row

Hello you and welcome to Elite Pilates & Yoga Teacher Training Services, I am Paul, and I am on the reformer today. The movement I am going to go onto is a good old Classica Joseph pilates original reformer movement – Sternal Row, and I am also going to add some ‘L’s for abdominals and to just rotate the spine aswell.

So head rest down, don’t over think the springs, some makes coloured springs may differ from others, plus a persons size as well as strength and or control will all come into play as to how ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ one has the springs. So don’t overthink the springs. I personally prefer a very light spring

So nice flat back, spine and chest lifted. Hands come into the chest – sternum area, hence ‘sternal row’.  Legs straight, feet flexed back.

From that position, using muscular effort, not gravity, using the abdominals, tilt the pelvis backwards and take it to a ‘half roll back’ position.

From there, trying to keep the carriage from moving, take the arms out to the sides into a capital ‘T’ position, keeping hands high.

Still keeping the carriage as still as you can and hands high, re-stack the spine and sit tall.

Again keeping the carriage still bring hands down to sides of reformer.

Then the carriage will move, as you nod the chin towards the chest and spine stretch forward, bringing hands behind the back; push, squeeze the hands up high to ceiling (working long head of triceps and rear deltoid).

Then, thinking of the swimming stroke – butterfly, swing the arms up and over, into a spine stretch, and sink down. Trying not to ‘clash’ the carriage into the reformer. Then re-stack the spine, sitting tall again.

Keeping the spine tall and the entire rib cage, front, sides and back lifted. Elbows out to the sides with shoulders down, chin up – just repeat!

While I am here, let us do ‘L’s. Breathe in, as you take it to a half roll back, breathe out. Breathe in again to prepare, and on the exhale, for the length of that exhale, rotate, not just the arms and shoulders but the spine, focusing on rotating the thoracic area to one side.

Finished breathing out, breathe in returning to neutral position. Ready to breathe out as you rotate to other side. Ensuring that you do not pike at the waist but rotate the spine around.

Then re-stack the spine and sit tall.

So that movements gets the obliques, the abdominals as a whole; and obviously it works the spine in rotation as well. The thing with that last one, is make sure that it is not just shoulder movement going on. Make sure you re actually rotating the spine.

And that is Sternal Row, and what I call ‘L’s’.

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Much Love from Devon

Paul x

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