Rolling Swan Is a Quad Massage with a Pilates Purpose

rolling swan on the foam rollerRolling swan is a great way to massage your quadriceps (fronts of your thighs) while practicing a classic Pilates exercise. For yogis, you may notice that this resembles Upward facing dog. Plus, because of the smooth movement from the roller, it’s less jarring to the spine than some of the other versions of Swan. Whether you’re using this exercise to improve your Swan or massage your quads, you’ll feel the benefit.

Rolling Swan

  1. Use Pilates breathing throughout.
  2. Begin on your stomach with your legs hip-width apart. Place the foam roller at the top of your legs, right beneath your pelvis.
  3. Bring your hands under your shoulders with your fingers spread.
  4. Broaden your collarbones and feel your scapulas (shoulder blades) slide down, away from your ears.
  5. Draw your belly button to your spine to protect your low back. If you feel low back pain while practicing this exercise, you may need to re-engage your abdominals and reduce how high you lift.
  6. Inhale as you shift your weight forward and straighten your arms. Keep your abdominals engaged, head high, and shoulders down. As your arms straighten, the roller will roll down the front of your thighs, massaging your quadriceps.
  7. Exhale and bend your elbows to return to your starting position.
  8. Practice 5-10 repetitions.

Finding a Foam Roller

If you want to order a foam roller, I recommend the OPTP brand foam roller. 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.

Rolling Swan Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you think of this exercise? Can you feel the roller massage the tops of your legs? 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.