Breaststroke: More than a swimming move

Breaststroke Heidi (1)

Heidi demonstrates Breaststroke on one of our Alllegro 2 reformers at Pilates in East.

As the weather heats up here in West Michigan, many locals are gearing up for summer and heading to the local beaches and pools.

Coincidentally, this month’s featured reformer exercise at Pilates in East is “Breaststroke.” While this is a Pilates move that shares the same name as a swim stroke, it is also an amazingly beneficial exercise on the reformer. A few of the benefits of this wonderful yet challenging exercise are:

  • It strengthens shoulders, arms and back extensors.
  • Breaststroke helps to improve posture (by connecting the deep abdominal muscles, and providing spinal extension).
  • This move coordinates the arms and body when moving into extension.

One thing that our instructors at Pilates in East love to do is to help their clients make the connection between what they are doing in the studio and how it translates to and benefits their overall fitness goals.

A few of our clients who are currently benefitting from Breaststroke (and other shoulder/arm/back exercises) are:

  • Tennis players (think overhead serving – the extension in the spine as one reaches high overhead to reach the ball)
  • Volleyball players – the shoulder, arm and abdominal strength and connection that is imperative while spiking a ball
  • Swimmers- as an overall workout, the increased shoulder and arm strength as this helps swimmers with all 4 strokes!
  • Gymnasts
  • Dancers

Can you think of other athletes who would benefit from this workout? Breaststroke is also wonderful for anyone looking to increase spinal mobility. For those of us who spend a majority of our day leaning over a computer or carrying heavy loads (children included), the opening of the chest, the extension of the spine, strengthening of the shoulders – all at the same time working the core, this is a winner of a reformer move!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try this exercise, we invite you into our studio this summer to give it a try.





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