Pilates have received mixed reviews in recent years when it comes to back injuries. Some report that the exercise methodology caused back strain and distress; others claim that the core strengthening nature of the Pilates helped them overcome both chronic and short-time back injuries. One thing remains constant: Pilates encourages the development and growth of core muscles, which include those of the abdomen and back. Could Pilates be the secret to back pain relief that you’ve been seeking out? Here is what you need to know.
Preliminary Testing and Approval
First and foremost, as with any exercise regimen, it is important to have the approval of your doctors and physical therapists – particularly if you’re experienced a recent injury. Increasing physical activity is likely to help. However, if injuries have not healed entirely, it is possible to make them even worse. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.
Exercises Which Strengthen the Back
The following is a list of common Pilates exercises which pay specific attention to the muscles of the back. Paired with a diet sufficient in protein, these techniques will improve coordination, flexibility, and overall core stability. As with any Pilates, exercise, aim to keep your abs tense throughout the entire motion.
The Hundreds – While lying down on your back, raise your legs upwards at a forty-five degree angle. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Hands should be at your sides. Extending your arms upwards. Keeping abs tense, raise and lower them several inches. Repeat one hundred times, or until failure. Spine Stretch Forward – Legs extended in front of your body, flex your feet. Visualize your body hovering over a ball. Lean your upper torso forward, arms in front of you. Keep your abs tight. Sit back up, utilizing one backbone at a time. Repeat as many times as desired. Ballerina Arms – Cross your legs in front of you, while making sure that your spine is straight. Visualize a wall parallel to your spine. Bend your arms at a ninety degree angle. Allow your shoulder blades to touch one another. Next, raise your arms as a ballerina would. Repeat as many times as desired. The Roll-Up – Lie down on your mat, facing the ceiling, legs extended, shoulders on the floor, and arms above your head. Inhaling, lift your arms toward the ceiling. Roll the torso forward. This movement is similar to that of crunches and sit-ups, except for the fluid nature (limited stops, rolling as opposed to sitting up). Return to a starting position. Repeat as many times as desired.