The 5 Best Pilates Exercises for Back Pain


Back pain is one of the most common ailments in our society. I receive many messages from people who suffer from it and who ask me:

  • What sport to practice?
  • What exercises to do to fight pain?
  • How to find a little ease?

Pilates can really help you avoid back pain ! In this article, I suggest you discover some exercises to add to your daily routine. You will see, your back will thank you!

Why Pilates can relieve your back?

Pilates exercises allow you to rebalance your muscle strength. Discipline teaches your body to use the appropriate muscles to relieve the most sensitive part (here your back) and the most painful.

Moreover, know that many people who start Pilates do so on the recommendation of their physiotherapist or their doctor.

Working your muscles is important. Indeed, it is the lack of muscular strength that promotes low back pain, sciatica and other inconveniences.

Pilates movements allow you to rebalance your muscles in three steps:

  • Waking up and strengthening the muscles you use the least;
  • The relaxation and release of overworked muscles, thanks to targeted stretching;
  • The awakening of the deep muscles.

What is interesting to do is to work the transverse abdominals. This will help your spine stand up straight. For Pilates to bring you real well-being, it is necessary to combine work on the stomach and the pelvic floor. If you make this effort, believe me, you will soon feel all the benefits of Pilates!

Pilates for the back is non-impact, gentle on your body and tough on pain!

Let yourself be tempted by Pilates or the anti back pain program

Rather Pilates to relieve the back, work the deep muscles and tone up? Or the dedicated anti back pain program to relieve yourself and avoid pain?

Which Pilates movements strengthen the back?

Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about it, Pilates for beginners is just as effective for back strengthening than more advanced exercises would be. As you know, the important thing is to adapt your practice to your level.

For each of the exercises listed above, stop right now if you feel unusual back pain while doing it and talk to your physiotherapist or doctor.

The roll up, or roll down

This is a Pilates exercise that allows you to relax your back muscles. It also works the joint of your spine. In this exercise, make sure that it is your abs that harden, and not your back.

Contraindication : do not do this exercise if you already have a herniated disc, sciatica or lumbago.

Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

  1. Sit with your arms parallel to your straight legs. The bust is straight and the toes point towards the ceiling;
  2. Tightening your perineum and abdominals, gently unroll your lower back, then your entire spine, vertebra by vertebra. Don’t forget to blow!
  3. Raise by grabbing the back of your thighs. Bend your knees.
  4. Return to the initial position.

Repeat this exercise between 5 and 10 times.

The back sheath

back cladding movement anti back pain

If you are looking for a pilates exercise for back pain that really acts, this one should please you. It is beginner-friendly and strengthens your back muscles, glutes and back of your thighs.

Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

  1. Get on all fours, preferably on a floor mat;
  2. Extend your right arm out in front of you, as far as you can;
  3. Extend your left leg back as far as you can;
  4. Stay in this position for 7 seconds;
  5. Tighten your abs and glutes with each step.
  6. Repeat the same movement with your left arm and your right leg.

Repeat this exercise between 5 and 10 times on each side.

Rolling like a ball

Contraindication : do not perform this exercise when you have back pain (herniated disc or targeted pain in the lower back).

Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

  1. Sit on the floor, feet close to the chest;
  2. Grab your ankles;
  3. Find your balance on your buttocks by taking your feet off the ground;
  4. Inhaling deeply, tilt your whole body backwards;
  5. Return to the starting position while exhaling.

Repeat this exercise between 4 and 6 times.

Good to know: the exercises of Pilates for the back is even more effective if you breathe well. This brings oxygen to your muscles, and helps calm your mind.

The stretch of the cow and the cat (cat cow)

anti back pain cat cow movement

You often wonder if yoga and Pilates can be complementary for relieve your back. The two disciplines complement each other perfectly. You can therefore practice them without problems in parallel to strengthen and stretch deep muscles back.

The “cat-cow” stretch is common to both practices. It allows stretching and extension of the back. Thanks to exercises of this type, your spine gains in flexibility.

Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

  1. Get on all fours and engage your abdominal muscles. This helps support your spine and achieve a nice straight line;
  2. Inhale;
  3. Exhale by pulling in your abs as much as possible while rounding your back like cats when stretching;
  4. Inhale again, reversing the curve of your spine. You are now in the position of the cow.

Repeat this exercise a minimum of 3 times, making sure to respect the rhythm inspirations and expirations.

Stretch your back with a swiss ball

This Pilates exercise for the back strengthens the deep muscles of your back.

Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

  1. Place your ball in front of you. Position yourself above him, at the level of your abdomen.
  2. Keep your arms along your body;
  3. Extend your legs behind you by spreading them a little (a distance equivalent to the width of your shoulders);
  4. Keep your feet “crooked” on the ground;
  5. Bring your outstretched arms in front of you while inhaling;
  6. Bring them back while exhaling;
  7. Keep your glutes relaxed to properly contract the deep muscles of your back.

Repeat this exercise between 7 and 10 times.

Pilates or yoga for the back?

Even though there are differences between Pilates and yoga, both can relieve back pain. Because both work the deep muscles of your back. And they are not the only ones! The muscles that lie along your spine and at the level of your lower backs will be reinforced with Pilates and yoga exercises. These are important: they correct your back posture and keep your back healthy.

As we saw with the stretching of the cow and the cat, certain exercises are common to both practices.

This proves that yoga and Pilates are effective against back pain, and that the two practices are complementary!

In addition to the muscles of your back, these two disciplines pay particular attention to breathing. By inhaling and exhaling correctly, you stretch the muscles of your rib cage and back, and you make your diaphragm more flexible. He can then move up and down as he pleases, which relieves the back. Finally, by breathing deeply, you activate your parasympathetic system. And that’s a good thing because it helps relax and to regenerate back muscles.

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