Keeping the shoulders down and the scapula (shoulder blades) settled on the back are instructions that accompany almost every Pilates exercise. Arm reach and pull is a fundamental exercise that will help increase your awareness of how your scapula move and how to find a settled, stable position for them.
Begin the Shoulder Stability Exercise
1) Stand with excellent posture: your weight is balanced over your feet, your tailbone is dropped toward the floor, the top of your head reaches for the sky, and your shoulders are relaxed. Your arms are at your sides. We should be able to draw a straight line up the side of your body from the ankle, through the knee, hip, shoulder and ear.
2) Bring your arms up so that they are parallel to the floor and straight out from your shoulders, keeping your shoulders down as you do.*
Don't let this move effect the rest of your posture. Try to feel your scapula sliding down your back a little bit as you bring your arms up. Some people like the image of sliding the scapula into your back pockets.
*For a more detailed explanation of shoulder stability in exercise, along with close-up views of the movement of the scapula on the back, see: Shoulder Stability in Pilates ExercisesNext: Arms Reach Forward