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Pilates help for lower back pain

Published on 6th Jul 2014 at 11:07 by Admin

Doing too much in neutral spine?

Recently i have been neglecting my Pilates matwork. I am doing lots of barbell / kettlebell S&C training, so my lower back is tight and strong, but lacking mobility. This is a result i feel, of doing too much in neutral spine and not enough lower back mobility movements.

Below is a movement that i love and feel is great for losening up a tight lower back. I first learned this movement from Michael King when studying to become a Pilates teacher in London with Michael and his staff over 14 years ago.

The Shoulder Bridge preparation 

First lie on the floor, face up with you knees bent, feet slightly apart and close to your backside. There should a fist distance between your knees. Place your arms on the floor by your side. Arch your lower back away from the floor, where your could slide your hand underneath. Now do the opposite, flatten your lower back into the ground. Do this a couple of times, then find the mid point between the two extremes. This is what we will call neutral lower back.

Keep your shoulders down from shrugging and gently tuck your chin in towards your chest. Breathe naturally throughout.

Start to rock your pelvis forwards and backwards where your lower back will flatten and arch away form the floor. After you flatten your back into the floor, return to neutral lower back each time. Do this slowly and with control.

Each time you flatten your lower back into the ground start to lift your tail bone off the floor slightly. With each cycle, lift your tail bone another cm higher. Slowly you will be working towards the shoulder bridge position.

Ensure your progress to Shoulder bridge is slow, controlled and pain free. The movement must begin with a pelvic tilt, flatten the lower back into the floor, then start to peel the spine off the ground from the tail bone upwards. 

As you descend, reverse the movement. Lay your spine onto the floor, from the upper portions of the back to the lower, with the tail bone last onto the floor each time. After the tail bone is placed onto the floor, return to neutral lower back position.

When you reach the full Shoulder bridge position, you should be back to neutral lower back position. As an added benefit, you will be working your hip extensors ( Bum,abs and hamstrings mainly) to get you into the bridge position.

I don't recommend repetitions with this, just spend some time on the floor, relax and enjoy a little mobility. As i said, breathe naturally and be aware that you are not pushing your abdominal wall outwards.

Stay mobile :)

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