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Shoulder Roll Down Options for the Hypermobile

Updated: Jul 6

I love including Shoulder Roll Down (aka Straight Leg Bridge or Parakeet) in my Tower workouts! Over the years, I've taught many hypermobile people so I love to give options to decrease the chances of hyperextension of the knee during this exercise.

You might be thinking:

  • I don't know what hypermobile means

  • I don't know what hyperextension means

  • I've never seen Shoulder Roll Down

You aren't alone! So, I'll back up...


or "being hypermobile" means that your joints are VERY flexible. They can go beyond the normal range of motion. If you've ever been told you're "double-jointed" or if it seems like you have extra range in your ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, or fingers - you might be hypermobile.

Studies have come out that show that over 50% of autistics, those with ADHD, and tic disorders are also hypermobile. I am hypermobile (and so is my kiddo), which hits home!

Hyperextension of the Knee

happens when the knee goes beyond it's normal range (backwards). Instead of bending at the knee (like when you sit down) - the leg goes beyond straight in the opposite direction (backwards) of how it normally would bend.

Yikes, right!!

Those who are hypermobile can go into that position easily, so we need to be "hyper" aware of this as teachers. Yes, I just made a pun.

Hypermobility in Pilates

is something to be aware of as a student and as a teacher. Reducing range of motion and building strength in and around the joints is the best way to stay connected to the work. I love to tell everyone that range doesn't matter in Pilates. Connectedness does.

Pilates is an amazing movement practice for those who are hypermobile or those who tend to hyperextend. As a teacher, I would never diagnose, but I observe clients intentionally and if I see hyperextension in different parts of the body I give them props and/or guide them to a decrease range.

Pilates Shoulder Roll Down

(aka Straight Leg Shoulder Bridge aka Parakeet)

Pilates Shoulder Roll Down

Check out this video, so you know the exercise I'm blabbing/blogging about and watch my knees. I have to pay extra attention to them to keep from hyperextending in this exercise. I try to keep a soft bend to protect my knees.

And now we come to some options, because there's a lot going on in the straight leg version including some safety stuff (feet on the bar).


As you can hear me say in the video, the key to this one is to press the balls of the feet into the back of the push through bar.

**If you are on the shorter side and cannot reach the back of the bar, you can do the SAME version with your feet against the wall. Which is an amazing variation to add to your mat practice, as well!

I hope you liked this very brief learning about hypermobility and seeing how exercises can be changed to create strength and safety in Pilates exercises.

Please like and share my videos, so I can continue adding more to my YouTube Channel!

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