6 Pilates Exercises to Alleviate Back Pain


Pelvic Tilt to Pelvic Curl
Pelvic tilt is taught to almost everyone who has back pain, especially low back pain. It teaches us to use our abdominal muscles in a way that supports and lengthens the lower back. Here we start with pelvic tilt, and for those who feel comfortable, move to a spinal articulation with pelvic curl.

Chest Lift
One of the common causes of back pain is not weak back muscles, but weak abdominal muscles. Chest lift is a great ab strengthener.
Do this exercise with care. Your hands give some support to the back of your head, but the work needs to come from the abs—not from momentum or pulling your head up. If you get neck pain, stop and go on to the next exercise.

Swan Prep
Swan prep strengthens the back extensors, the muscles the hold us upright. These muscles are often weak and over-stretched in people who have back pain.  Develop this exercise slowly.  

Child’s Pose
Child's pose is an easy and restful stretch for the back.

Kneeling Arm & Leg Reach
This exercise teaches core stability—something very important for those suffering from back pain.

Cat-cow moves between a backstretch and a back extension exercise. It promotes flexibility in the spine. Many people use it as a warm-up exercise.

Source: www.verywellfit.com

Six Basic Principles of Pilates

Jospeh Pilates- 1912

Jospeh Pilates- 1912


Joseph Pilates had originally called Pilates "Contrology" which was focused on the mind/body/spirit connection. He came up with these 6 basic principles which all work together to help the body move and so that you get the most out of each exercise. Read below to find out what these six principles are. 

  1. Precision: In Pilates, awareness is maintained throughout each movement. There's a certain placement and alignment needed so that you are getting the full benefits out of the move. If you are unable to facilitate a move correctly, that's where a modification comes into play. Don't be afraid to ask your instructor for a modification. 
  2. Breath: Joseph Pilates emphasized using a full breathing cycle in his exercises. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath with the movement. In Pilates, you breathe laterally through your ribs rather than "belly breathing". By breathing laterally, you are able to deeply engage in the core.
  3. Flow: Each Pilates move should be done with flow and grace. The energy used during an exercise connects all body parts making it a full body workout. 
  4. Centering: This concept is defined as physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area known as the abdominals. By strengthening the core, it will help all of your muscles develop and properly function. 
  5. Concentration: If you bring your focus to the exercise and do it with precision, you will get the maximum benefits from each movement.
  6. Control: When performing a Pilates move you want to maximize the benefits by flowing through each move gracefully rather than powering through focusing on intensity and number of reps.

By becoming familiar with these principles, it will help you before you take your first Pilates class. If you have been doing Pilates for some time now, this may help you advance in your practice. 



Staying Motivated


Why is a buddy system important when you’re attempting, or maintaining, a healthier lifestyle? It’s always more fun to do anything with another person whether it be your spouse, best friend or even your dog!  Yes, your dog because they love going for a walk!  I, myself, don’t get as excited as these furry animals when I am pushing myself to go for a walk!  They jump, bark and wag their tail to the point where it’s comical at times.

Let’s face it we’re all in the same boat when it comes to a healthier lifestyle.  We know what’s needed to lose a few pounds, it’s moderation, self-restraint, self-control, and self-discipline ~ it’s all the same thing!  

Taking classes with my buddy, Jeannette, helps me because I know she wants to get healthier as well and I don’t want her not to achieve her goals.  We all know it’s being held accountable but gosh it sure would be nice to ditch class and do something else. That something else may be having a Starbucks with a friend, or simply hanging out at home on the couch.  Any excuse will do just to skip that class! That’s where your buddy comes into the picture.

My friend, Jeannette, texts me, “What class tomorrow?”  I excitedly respond, “9:00 Pilates with Kandis”. This is great!  We’re signed up and we’re going to make it happen again! Morning rolls around and my brain isn’t awake, let alone, aware and it would be SO easy to skip; however, I know Jeannette will be at class and if I skip, I will hear,   “Gosh Kim I missed you at class”. Something subtle but yet it’ll keep bugging me.  Why? Jeannette committed because of me and yet I didn’t show up. What a great motivating factor and that is why you team up with someone.

As you take classes or go for more walks, drinking your water, and not your latte, you start to feel better and even sleep deeper!  It’s marked on your calendar as a doctor appointment and who cancels on their doctor?

Look around and reach out to someone who needs a little help to get or stay motivate or even someone who could use a friend.  A workout friend is perfect because you each have a goal - to get healthier. Together we’re on the same team!

Reasons why to have a workout buddy:

  1. Mental Health - It’s proven that mental health helps improve cognition along with social interaction.  Sure, it’s not a wine night out but you’ll still laugh helping to decrease stress hormones and boost immunity!  It’s hard finding time with your friends between family and work. A social life is very important.

  2. Motivation - Sometimes it’s easy to find an excuse not to workout no matter the justification but when you have a workout buddy you help one another to reach your fitness goals which improves your health.  Afterall we won’t find an excuse to ditch our friend, now will we? Especially when you give each other a high five after class!

  3. Competition - We all have a competitive nature which helps when you have a workout buddy naturally improving your performance level.  A workout partner motivates you to exercise as well as helping you achieve more while working out pushing you to the next level.   

  4. Achieve Goals Faster - Motivation from your friends will result in that extra push taking that next step, or taking a class when you’re just not feeling it.  Encouragement and persistence are shared between the two resulting in achieving your goals faster!

  5. Celebration - Achieving your goals is a proud moment and helping a friend achieve their fitness goals is even a better reward.  Now it’s celebration time together! Each milestone needs a celebration of some sort because You Did It!

Keep in mind you will slip up but your friend will get you back on track!  An added level of motivation and increased drive is exactly what we all need, so go ask a friend to be your workout buddy today and enjoy the journey!  


Kim Marsh/Owner-operator