Lift/Off

The Upper Limb in Arm-standing and Brachiation

Many high-level skills in Pilates, yoga, and calisthenics require the ability to bear weight on the arms or to hang from the arms (brachiation). If we view the whole Pilates repertoire with these goals in mind, we can see how open-chain tasks set us up for these advanced closed-chain skills, where the arms are the base that moves the rest of the body through space. We can also appreciate how these high-level skills are the most dramatic expression of abilities we all use every day: the ability to use our arms to help change our position from lying to sitting, or from sitting to standing, for example. Or the ability to steady ourselves using the strength of our arms when our hand is on a stair rail or subway pole.

To understand these uses of the upper extremity, from the everyday to the exotic, we need to understand the structure and function of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. In this Movement Science Made Simple course we:

  • Review the musculoskeletal anatomy of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand
  • Learn training strategies to help clients work toward arm-standing and hanging (brachiating) movements
  • Appreciate the places in the Pilates repertoire where arm-standing and brachiating are trained
  • Refine our teaching of the Pilates repertoire with these high-level goals in mind