Just because you rarely see your back, doesn’t mean it’s not one of the most important parts of your body. A strong back improves your posture, reduces your pain, and looks super sexy in backless dresses and swimsuits. Pilates might be best known for its stomach-sculpting ability, but we love to use it to tone every part of our bodies, including our backs.
If you want a strong and sculpted back, try these six Pilates exercises.
The Saw is a great move for working on your lower back, your obliques, and your shoulders. Start by sitting on the floor with a straight back and a long waist. Open your arms straight out to the side at shoulder-height. Then, stretch out your feet directly in front of you, spread your legs wider than shoulder-length apart, and flex your feet at the ankles.
- Inhale as you rotate your waist to the left and reach out straight with your right hand until it reaches the outer edge of your left foot. Keep your legs straight and your heels on the ground.
- Exhale as you slide your hand along your foot, getting deeper in three progressive moves forward in a “sawing” motion.
- Inhale and return to the start
- Repeat steps 1 – 3 on the left foot.
- Perform three sets.
Lie face down on a mat with your inner thighs pressed together, and your palms pressed to the floor under your shoulders. Keep our toes pointed and your body tight.
- Inhale as you lift your head and chest up from the ground until your chest is facing forward. Hold for one count.
- Lift both arms off the floor and spread them out to the side at shoulder height with your palms facing up. Keep your body tight and allow it to rock back and forth on your belly.
- Rocking forward should press the air from your lungs in an exhalation while rocking backward should allow you to inhale.
- Rock six times.
Return to lying face down on the mat with your forehead pressed to the floor. Keep your inner thighs tight and your pubic bones anchored to the mat. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you with your palms down. Stretch your feet out directly behind you with your toes pointed. Then, lift your arms, legs, chest and head up from the mat.
- Inhale and exhale normally while alternately lifting your right leg and left arm higher off the matt and then switching to increase the lift on your left leg and right arm. Never touch your arms or legs back to the mat.
- Count slowly from 1-10 as you continuously lift your opposite arms and legs in a swimming motion. Try to progressively lift your limbs higher as you count.
Other great back moves include the scissors, double leg kicks, and rocking. By doing each of these moves a few times a week will help to protect you from back pain, prevent future injury, and improve your overall fitness. Plus, you’ll love how it looks.
Yours in balance,
Image via Pinterest