Do you have Back Pain especially in the morning? Try my favourite gentle exercises to help your body stay mobile and painfree.
Pilates Community: My Top 6 Backcare Pilates
Mobilising Exercises and Favourite Stretches
By Hannah Epps
Start with A B C –
Find Neutral Alignment in your lower back then lift and draw back your shoulders while your weight goes into your heels, then tuck in your chin. This means you will get a better posture to prevent bad habits being formed.
Breathe thoracically wide and full into your rib cage, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Then engage your Core muscles – the Pelvic Floor and Transverse abdominus (between the hip bones) as if you stopping yourself going for a wee to a low squeeze (make sure you can still breathe).
Mobilising and Strengthening Exercises
- Spine Twist – Standing or sitting with your hands supporting your chin and elbows out, twist the spine round to the right but keep the hips still and shoulders down, then twist the other way. Repeat 5 times each way. Aim – strengthen trapezius and obliques, increase mobility of the thoracic spine.
- Cat stretch – On your hands and knees drop your head to look at your knees, lift your ribs to the ceiling and tuck your bottom under so your back is in a curved position – hold for an in breath then return vertebrae by vertebrae back to a flat back Repeat 5 times – Aim increase mobility in your back.
- Mermaid – sitting on the floor or mat with your feet to the right with your hand resting on your feet, stretch your left arm over your head to do a lateral side bend (with your shoulders down). Hold and breathe wide and full into the rib cage. then take both arms over to the left and repeat 5 times. Aim to open up your tight ribs to release tension across your mid back.
- Thread the needle – sitting on the same hip take the left hand down to rest on the the floor, then reach the right arm up to the ceiling stretch as yuou open your chest rotate the spine to the right as far as you can, then bring the hand and arm down to under the left arm pit to twist the spine the other way. Repeat 5 times. Aim – to mobilise the upper back and stretch chest and anterior deltoids. Repeat 3 and 4 on the other side
- Arm openings or circles – Lying on your side, knees bent together, arms over to the same side, lift and stretch the top arm above head and rotate your body, taking the arm over and down to the floor behind you. Keep the hand in line with the shoulder and look behind you. Keep your shoulders down and stabilised. Repeat 5 times. Aim – To open the chest, stretch pectorals and obliques and release tension across the upper back.
- Shoulder Bridge – Lying on your back, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, pelvis in neutral. Squeeze your buttocks and curl each vertebra one at a time off the mat. Roll up to your shoulder blades neck relaxed, hold and stop when the knees hips and shoulders are in alignment – don’t arch the back or flair the ribs. Then release and roll down through the spine. Aim – Mobilisation of the spine between each vertebrae, lengthen the hip flexors, strengthening gluteals (bottom).
- Knee Hug – Lying on your back, gently one at a time bring your knees in and hug them to your chest and rock from side to side. Only lift the head if you get no neck pains. Aim to stretch and massage along the spine.
- Hip flexors – Lie on your back and bring one knee into your chest and hug your knee hold for up to 15/20 secs. Try not to let the other leg lift from the floor then change sides. Aim – By lengthening the hip flexors you can relieve back pain and help correct an overarched lower back.
- Hamstrings –Lie on your back then lengthen your leg to the ceiling with a flexed foot hold onto your trousers or upper leg for 20-30 secs then change leg. Tight hamstrings directly affects tightness in lower back. Aim – Release tightness around the hips, Sacrialilliac joint and sciatic nerve.
- Glute stretch – Lying down then take your left foot over your right knee and then clasp your hands round your right thigh and pull your leg towards you, hold for 20 secs then change leg. Aim – as above and stretches gluts and piriformis.
- Inner thigh Stretch – standing feet wide, left knee bent, hands on your knees turn your right shoulder towards you left knee and push your left shoulder down, then change sides. Aim – to release tension around hips and pelvis.
- The child pose – Kneeling down stretch both arms infront of you and place your fornhead on a pillow or the ground while trying to keep your bottom on your heels. Stay in this pose breathe deeply, wide and full into your ribs and back. Aim to stretch your hamstrings, and the full back line of your body which can release presure and tension in your lower back, it expands the rib cage releasing tension as the deep breathing makes oxygen circulation in your body more effective also calming your mind and reducing stress in the body.
When you have back issues relaxation and deep breathing is so important. So take time to lie down and breathe deeply.
Try the reaxation pose once a day with mindfulness. Lie on your back in a relaxation pose with a pillow under your knees or take your klegs up a wall for full relaxation.
Please email if you have any problems, contact me at Hannah@pilatescommunity.co.uk
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Thanks and Good Luck!
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