Good posture ensures that your muscles, ligaments, and joints work as they should. Lacking good posture however, can lead to pain and discomfort.
In my experience working as a Pilates instructor for several years, the majority of new clients that come into the studio complaining of lower back and other pain, lack core strength, flexibility, and good posture. The average adult spends several hours each day sitting hunched over at a desk. Unfortunately, a lot of these people do not exercise regularly which commonly leads to lower back pain.
The exercises below are beneficial in building core and total body strength, stretching areas of the body that are often tight, and improving posture which can prevent and relieve pain.
Half Roll Down
- Begin in a seated position with knees bent, feet flat on the mat hip width apart, and arms extended forward.
- Take an inhale to sit up tall, and an exhale to round the spine back half way to the mat. Inhale to hold the position, pulling the belly button in towards the spine, and exhale to sit up tall back to the starting position.
- Perform 3-5x.
Reverse Table Top
- Begin in a seated position with knees bent and feet flat on the mat hip width apart. Place the hands several inches behind you, shoulder width apart and with fingers pointing toward the feet.
- Press through the hands and feet to lift the pelvis up, keeping the hands under the shoulders, knees above the ankles, and gaze straight ahead.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths and then lower the hips back to the starting position. Perform 2x.
- Start by lying on your back with hands behind the head and knees bent into the chest.
- Curl the head and shoulders off of the mat and twist the left armpit towards the right knee as the left leg extends forward. Twist to the other side, right armpit to the left knee as the right leg extends.3. Do 8-10x each side.
Downward Facing Dog
- Begin on all fours with the hands slightly forward of the shoulders and knees directly under the hips. Spread your fingers wide and tuck the toes under.
- Lift the hips up towards the ceiling and press back, creating an upside down “V” position with the body. Keep a slight bend in the knees initially to lengthen through the spine, and then straighten the legs if it is possible to maintain that length.
- Press through the fingertips and rotate the upper arms forward. Press the chest towards the thighs and the heels back toward the mat.
- Hold 3-5 breaths and then lower the knees to the mat to sit back into a child’s pose to rest. Perform 2x.
- Start on all fours, with hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Open the knees a little wider than your hips and bring the big toes together to touch.
- Sit back onto the heels and lower your chest and forehead on the mat between your thighs, arms stretching forward next to your ears.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat.