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Pilates Exercises to Help Back Pain

Sadie Lincoln of Barre3 shares her exercises to shape a stronger back and help relieve lower back pain.

Hi, Fitness Magazine readers. I'm Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3, and I developed this core workout exclusively for you. It's designed to give you nice flat abs and to relieve low back pain. I'm gonna use a barre3 core ball as an option, but you don't need it if you don't have it, so don't worry. Okay? Let's get started. Just like Annie, lie on your back with you knees bent. Bring your hands to your low belly. Take a nice inhale, and as you exhale, sink your hands towards the floor, creating the Pilates C-curve scoop from your pubic bone towards your navel. See if you can keep that engagement as we alternate our knees. So, lift your right knee up towards the hip and then down and left knee right over the hip and down. And just keep that going. Nice and slow and controlled. Now, these alternating knees are not necessarily sensation-oriented. You're not gonna feel real burning in your belly, but that's okay. Trust that you're waking up your innermost, powerhouse core muscles and knows that the most important muscles, your transverse abdominals, to brace your lumbar spine and relieve low back pain. A very important step to being successful for everything else [unk]. And speaking of, let's do it. So, bring both knees up to tabletop and fold. Sink your hands back down, creating that C-curve scoop. Now, extend your right leg along the floor and then your left and alternate. That's it. So, really lengthening and reaching as you pull the knee up. This is a great supported workout for your core. There's no tension in your neck. You're rooting your shoulder blades and you're pulling your waist in as you lengthen your leg, creating a nice flat, sleek belly. Okay. So, you can stay right here or take it to a more traditional Pilates exercise by holding the right knee and lift the head and shoulders and bring your left hand to your right knee and your right hand along your shin. Nice, Annie. Okay, sink the ribs down, pull your waist in and alternate. These are single-leg stretches. If this doesn't feel good on your neck and shoulders, you have any low back tension, just go ahead and set your head back down and go back a layer. That's something we always encourage you to do at barre3, to make this your own. So, keep breathing as you do the lengthening, scooping the low belly, disappearing the ribs. All right, just two more and go ahead and place your head and feet down. Okay. We're gonna take it next level and add the barre3 core ball for this next sequence. Again, you can continue on without it if you don't have a ball. Okay. So, incline core. Grab your ball, place it right under your sacrum that's that triangular bone between your hip points. Bring your hands to your sides. Tendency here is to drop your tailbone down towards the floor. I want you to lift it up slightly in neutral and then sink your belly down towards the ball. From here, we're gonna alternate our knees. Lift your right knee and then your left. So, you'll notice that ball is creating instability underneath you. That instability is allowing you to dive even deeper into your core, so you find inner stability and that inner stability is gonna protect your low back and it's gonna give you nice flat abs and a whittled waistline. That looks great. Okay. So, again, we're gonna take this next level. We're gonna bring both knees up balancing. Keep your tailbone elevated. Keep sinking through the inner core and then extend one leg along the floor and then the next. Reaching and lengthening as you lift your tailbone and pull the waist in. This is a great way to create that same Pilates strength that we get in our Pilates classes, but using the barre3 core ball. I personally have suffered from low back pain for many, many years and I developed this core sequence to relieve that pain by creating strength in the core while stabilizing the body and it's not just me that this has worked on. This has worked on thousands of my clients. Okay. So, we're gonna see if we can balance a little here. Go ahead and lift that right knee in and hold. Lift your head and shoulders. Bring your hands behind your head and pull that ribcage real down. Sink that low belly towards the ball and alternate, side to side. As Annie is discovering and probably you are too, this is definitely a balance challenge. There's less on the floor as a foundation and that ball is wobbly underneath you. Keep pulling onto the core to stabilize the pelvis. Think about lengthening the spine as you do this. Try not to dump the tailbone down towards the floor. Elevate it. Reach your leg longer. See if you can start to control the movement more. Add precision to everything you do and keep that fluidity in your body. Those are three elements that are similar to Pilates -- control, precision, and fluidity. All right, just four more. Reach, reach, just two more. Last one, nice work, pull your knees into your chest and then set your feet flat on the floor and we'll relieve the spine with a bridge lift. So, lift the hips up, opening up what you just worked, take the ball out from underneath you, and slowly slide your spine down to the floor finding neutral. Good job.