LEAH'S TOP 3 BACK EXERCISES

Let's face it.... when it comes to working out, we usually go for the obvious right??... Toned arms, sculpted waist, perky bottom... but in the mean time, we are neglecting a seriously important part of our body. THE BACK. What is the most common complaint from I hear from clients?? BACK PAIN. What is usually the first thing that people injure when working out? THEIR BACK. 

Why do you think this is?? Assuming there are no skeletal issues (herniated discs or spondylolisthesis) then it may be caused simply by weak muscles. We tend to pay much more attention to our front than our back (gee... I wonder why....) therefore creating an imbalance in our core strength. So when we call on our back muscles to engage, we could be shifting the load to our pelvis or hips causing strain. And it's when we move while the load is unevenly supported that we are susceptible to injury.

Pilates can be extremely successful in the management and strengthening of the back muscles but please note... if you have any major concerns about your back then I strongly suggest you go and see a qualified professional to assess the situation.

Here are 3 of my favourite exercise combos that will definitely have you on your way to bringing sexy back!! 

1. BACK BRACING & PIVOT

BACK BRACING 1. Lay on your belly with your legs extended away from you, toes pointed in, heels out. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Place your hands underneath your forehead and lengthen through the back of your neck. 2. Take a breath in to prepare and as you breath out carefully lift yourself up off the floor using the muscles in your middle back taking your hands with you. 3. Breathe in and lower down. Repeat 10 times.

BACK BRACING
1. Lay on your belly with your legs extended away from you, toes pointed in, heels out. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Place your hands underneath your forehead and lengthen through the back of your neck.
2. Take a breath in to prepare and as you breath out carefully lift yourself up off the floor using the muscles in your middle back taking your hands with you.
3. Breathe in and lower down. Repeat 10 times.

THE PIVOT 1. Stay in your back bracing position with your back raised and your neck long. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor.  2. Take a breath in to prepare and as you breathe out slowly pivot your body over to the right keeping your hips, pelvis and legs still.  3. Breathe in return to centre staying up. 4. Breathe out pivot over to the other side. Repeat 5 each side alternating.

THE PIVOT
1. Stay in your back bracing position with your back raised and your neck long. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor. 
2. Take a breath in to prepare and as you breathe out slowly pivot your body over to the right keeping your hips, pelvis and legs still. 
3. Breathe in return to centre staying up.
4. Breathe out pivot over to the other side. Repeat 5 each side alternating.

2. FLIGHT SEQUENCE

FLIGHT 1. Lay on your belly with your legs extended, toes pointed in, heels out and arms reaching down towards your toes. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Make sure your eye gaze is facing downwards and the back of your neck is long. 2. Hold this position here for a slow count of 10 breathing naturally.  

FLIGHT
1. Lay on your belly with your legs extended, toes pointed in, heels out and arms reaching down towards your toes. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Make sure your eye gaze is facing downwards and the back of your neck is long.
2. Hold this position here for a slow count of 10 breathing naturally.
 

FLIGHT - SINGLE/DOUBLE ARMS 1. Staying in your flight position take a breath in to prepare. As you breathe out float your right arm around to the side and in front of you. Breathe in return back to the start. 2. Breathe out float your left arm up, then breathe in return. 3. Now breathe out and float both arms up, then breathe in return. Repeat this whole sequence 5 times.  

FLIGHT - SINGLE/DOUBLE ARMS
1. Staying in your flight position take a breath in to prepare. As you breathe out float your right arm around to the side and in front of you. Breathe in return back to the start.
2. Breathe out float your left arm up, then breathe in return.
3. Now breathe out and float both arms up, then breathe in return. Repeat this whole sequence 5 times.
 

3. STRAIGHT ARM AND LEG LIFTS

STRAIGHT ARM & LEG LIFTS 1. Lay on your belly with your arms and legs extended - palms facing each other and tops of your feet pressing down into the ground. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone into the floor. Take a breath in to prepare. 2. As you breathe out lift, keep your feet pressing into the floor and lift your arms and up as high as they will go using the muscles in your middle back. Stop when you feel it going into your lower back. Then breathe out and lower down. Repeat just your straight arm lifts 10 times. 3. Now, add the legs. Take a breath in to prepare. As you breathe out lift both your arms and your legs up off the floor making sure there is no tension in the lower back. Then breathe in lower down. Repeat 10 times.  

STRAIGHT ARM & LEG LIFTS
1. Lay on your belly with your arms and legs extended - palms facing each other and tops of your feet pressing down into the ground. Tuck your tailbone under and press your pubic bone into the floor. Take a breath in to prepare.
2. As you breathe out lift, keep your feet pressing into the floor and lift your arms and up as high as they will go using the muscles in your middle back. Stop when you feel it going into your lower back. Then breathe out and lower down. Repeat just your straight arm lifts 10 times.
3. Now, add the legs. Take a breath in to prepare. As you breathe out lift both your arms and your legs up off the floor making sure there is no tension in the lower back. Then breathe in lower down. Repeat 10 times.
 

REST POSITION Once you have completed the exercises, sit back into your Rest Position or Child's Pose. This is just supposed to feel good!!! Make sure you actively push your bottom back onto your heels to get a deeper stretch in your lower back and feel free to walk your hands to either side of your mat to get a nice side stretch too. Try to make sure your heels stay connected to your bottom the whole time.  

REST POSITION
Once you have completed the exercises, sit back into your Rest Position or Child's Pose. This is just supposed to feel good!!!
Make sure you actively push your bottom back onto your heels to get a deeper stretch in your lower back and feel free to walk your hands to either side of your mat to get a nice side stretch too. Try to make sure your heels stay connected to your bottom the whole time.