Lie facedown on a mat with your legs straight out; feet hip width apart, toes pointed. Extend your arms out above your head; shoulder width apart with your palms on the ground.
Inhale deeply, then exhale as you contract your core muscles; pull your abdominal muscles in and hover your face just above the ground.
Inhale as you lift your left arm and right leg up as high as is comfortable, then slowly lower them to the ground.
Exhale as you lift your right arm and left leg up as high as is comfortable, then slowly lower them to the ground.
Continue alternating arms and legs as if swimming for a set number of repetitions or a set time period. Lifting each arm and leg up and back down is one repetition.
The Pilates Swimmers are a great overall exercise but are primarily effectively at targeting your lower back muscles. The Level 1 version is particularly useful for those with chronic lumbar issues such as a bulging disc, herniated disc, fused vertebra, or weak back because it does not compress the spine as much as most other exercises that target this specific area do. This is a great move to build lumbar strength for beginners, and for individuals needing to rehab injuries and weak spots. Always consult your healthcare professional before attempting any exercises for rehab to be sure the exercise is right for you.