STUDIO NEWS - Understanding the Purpose

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What is the Purpose of This Exercise?
These questions often arise: what does this exercise do, which muscles does it work? So let me take the time to explain what Airplane on the Long Box (Reformer) does. A significant focus of this exercise is your spinal muscles of the neck (cervical) & upper/mid (thoracic) spine. Your spine begins in flexion, rounded over the box, with the cervical & thoracic spinal muscles lengthened. As you pull on the ropes, your lats & the back of your shoulders, along with the triceps, move your arms out to the sides, to a “T”, and then back to your hips. As those muscles are working, the spinal muscles contract & pull the vertebrae closer together to lift your head & shoulders into extension, with a slightly bowed spine. As the spinal muscles lengthen to return your spine to flexion, the lats also lengthen to return your arms to a “Y”
Those motions require some coordination in order for all of that to happen simultaneously & without overextending your spine. You also have to keep your core muscles working to stabilize your pelvis, along with the multifidus. That can be the most difficult part of the exercise. It is very easy to overextend the cervical spine in this exercise. You may have heard me say “pull your ears out of your shoulders” or “less neck” or “drop your chin”, as I try to verbally correct your alignment. You may have also had me pull gently on your neck, pulling your ears away from your shoulders to emphasize the length of the neck to reduce extension there.
The exercise is a very basic one, although it does require a certain degree of coordination. But it is one that should be mastered before you add modifications to it, or progress to more complex spinal muscle exercises.
If you’d like to see a video of this exercise,
click here
Over the years, I have occasionally written about an exercise that is one of my favorites. Please let me know which exercises you like, and why, or if you prefer, which ones you dislike, and why. And maybe we can start a discussion!


Changing the Brain's Biology!
This is quite an interesting article about a physician – a psychiatrist & neuroscientist – who found out that when he practiced what he preached, namely exercise, and began to research the effects of exercise on the brain, he found amazing changes to the brain’s biology.

Newsletter Archive
Remember, you can always find past issues of the newsletter by following this link. You'll never know what stimulating articles you've missed until you do!

Video Highlight - Butterfly on the Tower
While this isn’t the best performance of this exercise (I can see my weight shifting a little bit as I bend side-to-side :-( but that can help to illustrate how important it is to keep the weight even in the feet & hips as you laterally flex your spine.
To see more videos, visit YouTube & subscribe!
Butterfly on the Tower
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