This is a Functional Fitness exercise. The closest Pilates exercise is the Swan Dive. Whilst both exercises have their place, if you choose to do one of these exercises on a regular basis, this is the one I would recommend.
The purpose of the prone cobra is to:
- Reduce thoracic kyphosis (upper back rounding) by contracting the back muscles
- Reduce round-shouldered posture by contracting the muscles of external rotation at the shoulder girdle
- Increase postural strength and endurance in the above areas
The lumbar spine and neck should be stabilized during the exercise so these muscles will benefit from a training effect when the exercise is performed correctly.
Important! - If your thoracic spine is fixed (very stiff) you should also mobilize it first using a foam roller. Stretching your chest is also highly recommended, holding the stretch for 5-6 seconds and repeating it 4-5 times on each side. These muscles are generally tight and you will be fighting against them if they are not pre-stretched.
The extended position should be held for 10 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest to start with. Once you are able to repeat this pattern 10 times without struggling you can progress using the following table
|Hold for...||Then rest for...||Repeat...|
|20 seconds||10 seconds||6-9 times|
|30 seconds||15 seconds||4-6 times|
|45 seconds||20 seconds||2-4 times|
|60 seconds||30 seconds||2-3 times|
|90 seconds||45 seconds||6 times|
Once you are able handle a 3 minute hold without struggling you need to move on to a more challenging exercise!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.