Pilates for the back: 4 perfect exercises

Pilates for the back: sitting at a desk for a long time, tension and muscle pain due to incorrect posture: we all probably know it! Pilates is ideal for counteracting this pain, which often creeps in slowly. 

Pilates primarily stretches and strengthens the lower back, core, and pelvic floor. The combination of strength, movement, breathing, contraction, and relaxation quickly delivers the first success.

It is important that you train slowly and consciously. The full concentration should be on the correct execution of the exercises and breathing. The advantage of this is that you can relax and clear your head at the same time!

The 5 following Pilates exercises for the back are suitable for beginners and can be easily integrated into everyday life. However, if you have been diagnosed with back problems, it makes more sense to consult your doctor before exercising. And now off to the mat, and let’s go!

1-  Pilates for the back: the pelvic floor

This exercise is especially useful if you suffer from lower back pain. The abdominal muscles are engaged, which stretches and strengthens the lower back.

  • Lie on your back. Legs are bent, and feet are hip-width apart.
  • Take a deep breath. As you exhale, contract your stomach and pull your belly button toward your spine (activating your powerhouse).
  • This should lengthen your spine and push your lower back into the floor. Your spine now forms a line on the mat.
  • The pelvis is slightly tilted so that your pubic bone is slightly higher than your hip bones.
  • On your next inhale, raise your tailbone toward the ceiling. First, your hips rise, then your lower back, and then the rest until you’re just lying on your shoulders.
  • As you exhale, slowly roll yourself back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise up to 5 times.

2- Pilates for the back: The Swan

The exercise strengthens all the muscles that keep us upright on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this part is weakly developed, mainly due to poor posture.

  • Lie face down on the mat, looking down.
  • Place your hands and forearms under your elbows with your arms close to your body. The shoulders point away from the ears, and they pull back, so to speak.
  • You can do the exercise with your legs together or place them hip-width apart.
  • Activate your powerhouse again and pull your belly button towards your spine.
  • As you inhale, slowly roll yourself up. Your hands and forearms press into the floor, you lift your chest as high as possible, your gaze is directed ahead, and your neck remains long.
  • Your pelvis stays on the floor and is firm.
  • Hold this position for a moment and, while exhaling, slowly roll back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise 5 times.

3- Pilates for the back: The stable torso

The exercise trains your core and balance.

  • Start on all fours. Hands under shoulders, feet under hips.
  • Your back is in a natural position, and your powerhouse is reactivated (abdominal tense).
  • The head is in an extension to the spine, and the gaze is directed down to the mat.
  • Your shoulders pull away from your ears, and your chest is open. When you feel that you are stable, the exercise can begin.
  • As you inhale, simultaneously extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward.
  • Keep your eyes on the mat. Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • On the exhale, go back to the starting position.
  • Now you repeat the exercise. The left arm goes forward, and the right leg goes back.
  • Try to train each side 3 times.

4- Pilates for the back: stretching the spine

This stretches not only your back but also your rear thighs. Therefore, the exercise is particularly suitable as a final stretch.

  • Sit straight on the mat with your legs stretched out long in front of you.
  • They are hip-width apart, with your knees pointing toward the ceiling.
  • If you can’t get all the way forward in the stretch at the beginning, you can, of course, bend your knees a little.
  • As you inhale, stretch your arms out in front of you, shoulder-width apart and long.
  • Exhale and slowly bend forward. Don’t collapse on your legs, activate your powerhouse and roll forward vertebra by vertebra.
  • Try touching your feet with your fingers. Meanwhile, the gaze is directed downwards.
  • Next time you inhale, push yourself a little further forward.
  • Enjoy the stretch!
  • As you exhale, slowly straighten up vertebra by vertebra. Don’t forget to keep your stomach tight the whole time.

Do you have Pilates exercises for the back in your training repertoire that you can recommend? We look forward to more ideas and suggestions!

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