Prone Cobra

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.

The Prone Cobra Position

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 seconds10 seconds6-9 times
30 seconds15 seconds4-6 times
45 seconds20 seconds2-4 times
60 seconds30 seconds2-3 times
90 seconds45 seconds6 times
3 minutes--

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.