Try These 5 At-Home Pilates Moves to Prevent Back Pain
Pilates isn't an exercise to pass up, especially if you're on the hunt for a new low-impact exercise to complement your HIIT and cardio-centric routine. Not only does it provide an amazing stretch for tight muscles, improving flexibility, posture, and core strength, but it can even be used to help prevent and manage back pain.
In fact, several studies have found a positive link between Pilates and the management of chronic back pain.
You don't even need to step into a studio or onto a reformer to reap the spine and back benefits, either. Just check out these five moves, courtesy of obé fitness Pilates instructor Mary Wolff.
Perform each move for 30 seconds and repeat the series as you feel comfortable.
"This exercise works abdominals to help protect the lower back while helps improve articulation and mobility of the spine," Wolff says.
- Start seated on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and arms outstretched in front of you.
- Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you scoop out your abdominals with your legs pressing into the ground, and begin to roll down one vertebrae at a time until your entire spine is long on the floor.
- Inhale, and then exhale as you peel your spine off the ground one vertebrae at a time until you are in your seated starting position.
"This move works the transverse abdominals, which helps protect the spine," Wolff explains.
- Start on your back with your knees in table top and your head and chest curled off the floor with your hands behind your head.
- Extend your left leg straight in front of you to a 45-degree angle.
- Twist your torso to the right and touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Keep your head and chest curled off the floor as you slowly twist your torso to the other side and switch legs, passing through your center each time and side-to-side fluidly.
"This exercise helps support the back by encouraging glute activation and abdominal engagement. Added bonus? It helps lengthen the spine!" Wolff notes.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, hips-width apart.
- Begin by scooping your abdominals toward your rib cage, and peel your spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time until the weight is between your shoulder blades.
- Roll back down one vertebrae at a time until your release your tailbone last and your spine is back to neutral.
Supine Spinal Twist
Supine Spinal Twist
"This exercise works the obliques and helps lengthen and restore the spine," Wolff says.
- Lie on your back with your knees in table-top and your arms on the floor in a T-shape.
- Squeeze your legs together and use your abdominals to bring them to the right side of your body towards the floor.
- Then, use your abdominals to bring legs up and over to the other side.
Prone Back Extension
"This move is excellent for people who are sitting at a desk for most of the day. It strengthens hamstrings, glutes, and the muscles that hug your spine," Wolff says.
- Lie on your stomach with your legs long and extend your arms out in front of you in line with your ears.
- Press the tops of your feet into the floor.
- Starting with your head moving all the down to the ribs, begin to peel the front side of your body off the floor.
- As you peel your torso up, your arms will stay in line with your ears and your elbows will pull back.
- Sequentially roll back down to start the position again.