How to Strengthen Your Back with Pilates: Pilates is one of the best exercises around for improving back pain and posture. Firstly, the exercises strongly emphasize a focus on spinal and pelvic alignment. Additionally, they target core muscles in the body that can work together to alleviate back pain and provide strength to effectively create a “brace” for preventing future back pain.
The essential components of Pilates are concentration, control, centering of the body, efficiency of movement, precision, and breathing. It’s pretty easy to see how, if done properly, all of these can come together to have a positive impact for your spinal health. Here are a few specific exercises to strengthen your back with Pilates:
The swimming exercise is great for strengthening your back, gluteus and shoulders at any level of proficiency. Lie face down with your arms and legs extended as far out as possible. Pull your belly button in so it is not pressing against the floor; this will help prepare your core muscles. Lift your right arm, left leg and head at the same time and hold for two, twelve second intervals. Repeat with the left arm and right leg. Complete four repetitions on each side.
Hip Rolls (relieve lower back pain)
Hip rolls can be a great way to warm up and help to relieve lower back pain. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet at hip width apart. Begin to peel your spine up from the tailbone until your weight is resting on just your shoulder blades and your feet. Always remember to keep your back straight. Inhale as you peel up and exhale as you return to starting position. Repeat five times.
The Saw (stretching)
The saw is a great exercise to stretch out your back muscles and can be effective for people at any level of expertise. Start by sitting with your legs spread a bit more than shoulder width, while keeping them straight, and flexing your feet forward. Extend your arms to your sides at shoulder height. In a slow and controlled motion, reach your right hand to the far side of your left foot, without lifting your right hip. Extend your left arm behind you. Repeat with each side four times.
Always consult your primary physician or specialist before performing rigorous exercise, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. While these exercises can benefit most people, there may be other workouts that better suit your specific diagnosis.