Arm Scissors for Better Posture

arm scissors on the foam rollerI love the Pilates mat exercise Arm scissors. It’s regularly a warm-up exercise in my personal practice, and now it’s also part of my physical therapy.

It wasn’t until my physical therapist recommended this exercise that I started thinking about how it benefits the spine. As you move your arms, you get a stretch through your chest, shoulders, and the backs of your arms. But more than that, you’re teaching your spine to stay in neutral with arm movement.

This exercise translates to better posture while using a computer, driving, brushing your teeth, or whatever else you may do with your arms. Here’s more about this posture-improving exercise.

Arm Scissors

This exercise can be done on the floor or on a piece of Pilates equipment like a [easyazon_link identifier=”B001UI0C36″ locale=”US” tag=”custpilandyog-20″]foam roller[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link identifier=”B0002V9ONG” locale=”US” tag=”custpilandyog-20″]Arc barrel[/easyazon_link]. I like this exercise best on the foam roller.

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Come onto your back. To get on the foam roller, make sure that you sit all the way at one end of the roller so that, as you lie down, you don’t run out of support. Your pelvis, spine, and head should all be supported by the roller. If your head is off the roller, you can either wiggle your way down so that you’re fully supported; or you can roll off and try again.
  3. Once you are on the roller, ground through your feet and use your abdominals to keep you centered.
  4. Reach your arms toward the ceiling with your palms facing each other. Make sure to keep your elbows straight throughout this exercise.
  5. Inhale and reach your right arm up by your head as your left arm comes down by your side.
  6. Exhale and return your arms back to center so that they’re reaching above your chest.
  7. Inhale and reach your left arm up by your head as your right arm comes down by your side.
  8. Exhale and return your arms back to center so that they’re reaching above your chest.
  9. Complete 10 sets.

Finding a Foam Roller

If you want to order a foam roller, I recommend the [easyazon_link identifier=”B001UI0C36″ locale=”US” tag=”custpilandyog-20″]OPTP brand foam roller[/easyazon_link]. Their foam rollers are firm and don’t dent or bend easily. It’s crucial for your foam roller to be firm and stay the same shape throughout its use.

Foam rollers are a great tool to elevate your Pilates mat work, but they’re also wonderful self-massage tools. Here’s a link to some foam roller stretches.

Arm Scissors Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you do to work on your posture? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.