5 Pilates Exercises that Sculpt, Strengthen & Soothe Back Pain

Pilates is a form of exercise that can concentrate on the underlying structure of your body. It can emphasize on the balance of body by focusing on core support, pelvic stability, muscular balance, postural alignment and body awareness. Usually we think that doing any regular exercise will make our body balanced, however people need to focus on performing exercise with a perfect alignment. Our body must have the ability to align its different parts depending on its demands. If the body is not aligned properly, the skeleton and muscles are affected by stress. Pilates exercise makes a huge impact on correcting alignment with regular practice and progression.

The main concern of Pilates exercise is developing core strength. Your back muscles are attached to the spine and pelvis and for this area, core strength is the powerhouse. If you are spending long hours sitting or standing, or are lifting weights incorrectly, it is most likely that you will feel discomfort in your back. This is because having improper postural alignment creates back pain.

Try these Pilates moves to start correcting your posture and body alignment today. These moves will work as an antidote to back pain if you practice them correctly and regularly, and all you need is a Pilates mat or thick towel.

1. Pre-Roll Up

Lay down on your back. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor about ten centimetres away from your glutes. Approximately ten centimetres off the floor behind you, extend your arms and squeeze your  knees as you inhale. Lengthen your arms by stretching your feet away.

Without moving the feet, exhale and reach your fingertips towards the knees. Raise all the way up to a sitting position with the arms outstretched. Inhale and exhale by slowly rolling back ensuring to roll up through each vertebra. It will be counted as one rep.

2. Plank

Put your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Stretch the legs back straight one at a time. Curl your toes. Your body has to be in a long line from your head to heels. Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes together by pulling the navel into the spine and slightly tucking your pubic bone underneath you. Hold this move for 30-60 seconds.

3. Low Lunge Series

Step your right foot through your hands, which you place on the floor in front of you. Get into a low lunge by ensuring your toes are in line with your fingers. Put your left leg behind you by tucking your toes under. Take a deep breath. Raise your torso up to a tall vertical position by holding your head high and shoulders back. Start to ease your hips down by placing your hands on top of the knees. Take deep breaths as you stretch. Hold this pose for 2-3 breaths. 

4. Forward Bend

Place your hands down beside your feet. Make a right angle with the floor by shifting your hips back. Flex the foot and extend your left leg in the same line with your shoulder. Put your hands on either side of your extended leg.

5. Crescent

After the forward bend move, make a parallel position with your mat by bringing your right knee to the right side of your mat. Stretch your left leg straight behind you, and then externally rotate the leg in the hip socket. Keep your knee cap facing the ceiling by pointing the foot down into the mat. Raise your torso up. Place your left hand on your left leg. Lift your right arm up to the side of the right ear. Draw the right shoulder down by reaching your right hand up toward the ceiling.

Take deep breaths as you slide your left hand towards your leg. Arc your body over your left leg and maintain a correct form in your torso when you are doing the deep side stretch. Stay in this side stretch for 2-3 breaths and try to increase it. Lean over the left leg by sliding the left hand towards the leg. Complete 3 breaths while lifting back up to the starting position. Use your abdominals and back muscles by lifting your right hand up. Do the same pose on the other side.