Thursday, March 19, 2020

4 PILATES EXERCISES for a Strong Back

As we all look to do our part by staying home and self isolating as much as possible to stop the spread of Covid-19, having a daily health routine for mind and body becomes even more important. Today I am offering you a few home exercises to do to keep feeling strong and stable and in some control. More to come. Plus my LIVE, interactive, Virtual Pilates Classes are a fun and safe way to stay strong. See the Schedule page for more information. Keep well my friends!

Think of these exercises as a way to create stability and balance around your spine, from the hips to the shoulders. Move slowly focusing on control, not momentum, one breathe cycle per repetition, building up to 12 reps per side.

1. Bird Dog
From a 4 point position, exhale to draw navel towards spine, squeeze right buttock to lift right leg and raise left arm out in front. Return to floor on inhale then repeat on opposite side.




2. Glute Bridge
From a supine position, feet hip width apart and arms along side for stability, squeeze glutes and lift hips straight up from floor to create a long diagonal line. Careful to not push ribs up too high. Instead lift from your buttocks and maintain stable feet. You can use a yoga block or Pilates Ball between thighs to aid stability and to provide inner thigh work.  Finish with a knee to chest stretch on each leg then move on to #3. Double Leg and Single Leg Variations.





3. Dead Bug
Lying Supine, inhale deeply then exhale and draw navel toward spine and slowly lift right leg and left leg over hips to a right angle, (this is table top position). Option to keep arms pressing down alongside hips, OR raise both arms over chest. On exhale engage deep core muscles to hold inward and then move slowly to lower one foot toward floor and then inhale back up to table top position.  Keep core muscles drawn in while you practice lowering and lifting one leg at a time slowly. For added challenge try moving one or both arms back over head as one foot is lowering.




4. Plank or Forearm Plank
Plank positions are a great way to build strength and endurance in all your core muscles including deep back and shoulder girdle stabilizers, deep and superficial abdominals, hip and glute muscles, plus arms and legs too. Planks can be practiced with you knees up or down, from your forearms or hands. Start with 2 sets of 30 seconds and build toward 1- 2 minutes by adding 10 seconds per week. Be sure your head and neck are aligned, your shoulder blades are not collapsing together and your, your core is not sagging and your breathing is slow and deep.





5. Child's Pose in Neutral Spine
Finish with 30 seconds in this resting position, allowing your arms to extend forward and your spine to lengthen a little more before rolling up.