80% of American adults report some type of back pain each year.
May causes could be at play but often back pain is the result of:
- Poor Posture
- A Larger Chest
- Being at Desk for 8 plus hours a day
- Muscular imbalance from daily life or recreational activities
Pilates has been found to provide some benefits for people with chronic low-back pain. Findings from the randomized controlled study appeared in Medicine Science in Sports & Exercise (2012: 10). Pilates subjects received an individualized, direction-specific exercise program designed for them by a physical therapist after an examination. For 6 weeks everyone did supervise 1-hour exercise sessions. Data analysis revealed that participants experienced significant improvements at 6, 12, and 24 weeks.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, approximately hip distance apart. Your feet should be in a comfortable position — not too close to your butt and not too far away.
- Inhale: Take a deep breath in, expanding into your back and your lungs.
- Exhale: Keeping your torso in one flat piece, press your feet into the mat and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up off the mat.
- Inhale: Maintain the Bridge position.
- Exhale: Still holding the bridge, think of knitting your ribs down to your belly, squeeze your butt, and try to lengthen through the front of your hips.
- Inhale: Hold the Bridge position.
- Exhale: as you come back down to the mat.
- Start on hands and knees. Your hands are directly under your shoulders, and your knees are directly under your hips. Make your legs and feet parallel and hip distance apart.
- Engage your abdominals by lifting your belly button up to support your spine.
- Slowly roll your back to the ceiling on an exhale by pulling your abdominals in and dropping your head and tailbone to the floor to go into cat stretch. Hold for 2-5 secs.
- From here reverse the curve of the spine as you inhale by bringing your belly button down to the floor, lifting the head up and sticking your butt back going into spinal extension or cow pose. Support your neck and don’t let your head drop back. Hold for 2-5 secs
- Go from cat to cow as desired. The mid range between the two movements will put you in a neutral spine.
Kneeling Arm and Leg Reach
- Stay on your hands and knees. Your back is in its natural position and supported by your abdominal muscles which are pulled in. Don’t let your back sag or arch.
- Your neck is treated as a long extension of your spine. So your face is parallel to the floor, look down.
- This exercise requires shoulder stability. Take a moment to slide your scapula down your back so that your shoulders are away from your ears, your chest is open, and your scapulae are settled on your back, not poking up.
- Inhale: Extend your right arm straight in front of you and your left leg straight behind you at the same time. Your arm and leg will be parallel to the floor.
- Balance. Hold one to three breaths.
- Exhale: Return to hands and knees.
- Inhale: Extend your left arm straight in front of you and your right leg straight behind you at the same time.
- Lie on the mat face down.
- Keep your arms close to your body as you bend your elbows to bring your hands under your shoulders. Shoulders should be away from the ears. The legs are usually together, but it is acceptable to do this exercise with the legs shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, lifting your belly button up away from the mat. The abdominals remain lifted throughout the exercise.
- Inhale: Lengthen your spine, sending energy through the top of your head as you press your forearms and hands into the mat to support a long upward arc the upper body. You might come up just a few inches.
- Keep your neck long. Don’t make a crease by tilting your head back.
- Protect your low back by sending your tailbone down toward the mat.
- Exhale: Keep your abdominals lifted as you release the arc, lengthening your spine as your torso returns to the mat in a sequential way: low-belly, mid-belly, low ribs and so on.
A few quick things you can do to help if getting to the Pilates studio is not possible for you right now, remember we are open virtually.
- Bring your devices to eye level
- Clean out your purse and anything else you carry around daily
- Check your work station to improve posture and positioning
- Check your relaxing spot at home for postural improvements
Resources from Absolute Pilates
Virtual Pilates Classes https://absolutepilates.co/covid-19-updates/
Free 5 Day Guide to Improving Back Pain