DIGGING DEEPER - Get to Know Your Pilates Exercises: Push Through Front

  Push Through Front

By Amanda Turner

Hi, Everyone! Happy March - spring is right around the corner, so I thought this month we’d dissect a “spring” related exercise: Push Through Front. Of all the exercises performed with the Push Through Bar (either on the Cadillac, Wall Unit, or thanks to COVID - the Mat), I think that this is one of the most challenging! It is considered a Beginning level exercise and I’m of the opinion that the Beginning exercises are the hardest. They require such attention to detail, using all the principles of Pilates - precision, flow, centering, and breath, to name a few, to accurately and safely execute these exercises. Push Through Front really develops the articulation of the spine and powerhouse integration all while controlling the Spring. I like to think of it as a test of my ability to keep my shoulders down while articulating my spine.

Set Up:

Sit facing the Push Through Bar with feet against the poles. You’ll want the big toe side of your foot flush with the poles - if your flexibility allows, you’ll be pushing the bar through the poles and I don’t want you to pinch your toes by having your legs too close together. Keep your heels pressing firmly against the poles; it’s ok if you need to slightly bend the knees. Your hands will be holding the handles of the Push Through Bar.
1.) Start by pressing the bar upward toward the sky, lengthening your spine - keeping your shoulders down. Playing off of our Push Ups from last month, remember that the arms are just levers of the back.

2.) Inhale, beginning to roll back, pulling the lower abdominals in and sliding the tailbone under - think about Rolling Back with the Roll Back Bar. I want you to imagine that you can roll back so far that your low back is on the Mat.

3.) When you get to the point where you can’t roll back any farther, exhale and begin to use the upper abs to dive forward, pressing the bar through the poles, similar to your Spine Stretch Forward. Remember to keep the shoulders down, really squeeze the glutes, and keep reaching the heels toward the poles.

4.) You’ll then reverse this by inhaling, rolling back again **this is very important** you need to keep reaching into the bar as you’re rolling back so that you stay in control of the Spring. If you do not do this, the bar will bounce back toward you and I want to keep you safe and your face out of harm's way. You should feel a nice oppositional stretch in the back - reaching the arms forward into the bar while rolling the spine back, heels reaching, abs scooped, glutes squeezing.

5.) When you get to the point where you can’t roll back any farther you will then press your bar up toward the ceiling, exhaling - watch the ribs, keep them knitted together! Repeat this exercise three times total. 

There’s a lot to think about with this exercise and safety is really at the front of your teacher's mind. With that being said, your teacher might choose to teach this to you first without using the Spring to eliminate that safety concern since we are maintaining the six foot distance, and not spotting the Bar like we would under normal circumstances. Once your teacher feels you understand the movement and have the strength and control, they will add the Spring. 

Want to strengthen your Push Through Front? Focus on your Spine Stretch Forward in your Mat work and Rolling Back with the Roll Back Bar. You can also practice this at home on your Mat imagining that you have the Push Through Bar between your hands. What does this exercise help you prepare for, you ask? Your Roll Up, Neck Pull, Teaser, Spine Stretch Forward on the Wunda Chair, and many more - it is a beginning exercise after all! 

Enjoy practicing your Push Through Front this month!