DIGGING DEEPER- Get to know your Pilates exercises: Saw


By Amanda Turner


Saw, oh how I love thee - let me count the ways ;)  I love the concept of it whittling your waist (strengthening the abdominals and upper back), I love the stretch I feel between my shoulder blades, and I love the strength I feel in my lower body while it stabilizes throughout the duration of the exercise.  Saw is an intermediate Mat exercise that combines your breath with rotation and lengthening - think of it as Spine Stretch Forward with a twist.  

Set Up:

Sitting up, legs are wider that your hips, arms are shoulder height and out to the side


Take an inhale, growing taller and lifting the spine, rotate to the right and exhale as you round forward over your right leg; left pinky finger reaching for your right pinky toe.  Your right arm is behind you reaching in opposition, pinky up towards the ceiling.  Keep your left hip back, sit bones anchored to the Mat.  Inhale, coming back to the center lengthening the spine once again, and twist to the left exhaling as you reach your right pinky finger for your left pinky toe, left arm is reaching behind you, pinky up towards the ceiling. Keep your right hip back with the sit bones anchored to the Mat.  Inhale come back to center.  That is one set.  You’ll complete 4-5 sets.  

Also, it’s ok if your pinky finger and toes don’t meet, just know where you’re sending your energy.  And please, please, please remember that this is a breathing exercise.  Use this to fully inhale and exhale with each rep to develop and build lung capacity - it's so important right now! Plus the purpose of this exercise is to fully exhale all the air from your lungs. 

Common Cues:

-Hips stay square, don’t let them rock forward and back

~Hips stay anchored, don’t let a hip lift off the mat to get a further reach

~Use your breath, fully inhale and fully exhale

~Reach the arms apart from one another (it feels so good)

~Keep the shoulders down

Exercises to work on to prepare for Saw:

~Criss Cross

~Spine Stretch Forward

Exercises that Saw will help you to become ready for:


~Spine Twist


~Twist I

~Twist II