5 Best Pilates Exercises for Your Back
Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen, stabilize and tone the lower back. Pilates considers the diaphragm and the pelvic muscles as part of the core muscles. The abdominal muscles, while often given great importance in the media with ideas such as the six pack ab’s is actually much less important. It is also important to note that our coordination of movement in the core can either mean the core will get either stronger or weaker with exercise. A healthy core will enable you to walk or run without back pain, and you will be able to get out of a chair, a car or even your bed without difficulty. Those who have a poorly coordinated care will often suffer from back and neck problems and have problems in there feet and knees as well.
Many people regularly do Pilates classes because of how the reformer strengthens the core muscles. A good sign of proper core function is that you are able to progress to more challenging exercises. If are having difficulty, seeing your chiropractor for an evaluation can help clarify why and with muscular work and manipulation, your ability to train will improve and you will be able to progress to a higher level of Pilates training faster and easier.
Benefits of Pilates include
1.Increase the strength of your spinal stabilizer muscles that directly takes the pressure off the lower back
2.Improve the tone of your musculature
3.Increase your abdominal strength
4.Can improve incontinence problems as well as improve post-pregnancy stomachs
5.Act as a preventative from future lower back pain
Which Pilates exercises should you use to improve your lower back health? Here are 5 we recommend now
Bridging– Lie on your back. With the feet flat and knees bent and your hands along your sides, lift up your hips fully and hold for 10 seconds. Then repeat 12-20 times. This exercise is ideal for strengthening the gluteal and erector spinae musculature, essential muscles involved in core stability.
Clamshells – Lie on your side both knees bent, and your spine in a neutral position. While keeping your heels touching and hips directly over each other, raise your top knee towards upward. The motion is typically small (a few inches). Hold for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat and switch sides. Clamshells are a great exercise to strengthen the gluteal muscles which hold us up against gravity along with our calves.
Hundreds -Lie on your back on a mat or on another soft surface such as carpeting. Raise your legs up with your knees straight and curl your shoulders and head up off of the floor. Extend your arms straight forwards, next to your torso. Lightly pulse them up and down while you breathe in for five seconds and out for five seconds. Complete ten inhales and ten exhales, for a total of 100 seconds of breathing.
Pilates curl-ups – This exercise mobilizes the cervical and thoracic spine whilst strengthening the abdominals. Fully support your head during the exercise through out the movement by interlaced hands. The curl up is initiated by the head tipping down and the eye gaze pointing towards the groin. Fully support the head in in your hands to avoid straining the neck muscles. Keeping the little toes, big toes and heels of the foot connected to the floor will help the flow and control of a well-performed curl up to moilize the upper spine and strengthen the abdominals.
Lunges – With your chest lifted, chin up and abs contracted, take a big step forward with your left foot. Sink straight down so your front left knee tracks over the top of your shoe and your back right knee points down toward the floor. You are on your back left toe. Push back to the starting position. Repeat on the right leg. Keep alternating. A good place to start is with 10-12 lunges on each leg and work your way up to three sets.