Spinal Rotation for Back Health

Sure, Spinal rotation is not a classic Pilates exercise. However, it is a much welcomed addition to the Pilates repertoire. This exercise, which is part of STOTT PILATES mat warm-up, prepares the body for the spinal rotation that will happen in more advanced exercises like Saw. Plus, it is great practice for finding side-lying neutral position.

Spinal rotation isn’t glamorous, but it can be a great relief to those with low back pain. Make sure you begin and end in a neutral side-lying position, and this rotation will help correctly align your spine.

If you have health issues, please check with your doctor before beginning any new activities. If you have back pain, please check with your doctor to make sure that rotation is appropriate for you.

Spinal rotation

  1. spinal rotationBegin in a neutral side-lying position with your shoulder directly under you. Reach your arms straight in front of you. If you are correctly aligned, your finger tips should be even. Your knees should be bent to ninety degree angles, so you knees are in line with your hips and your ankles.
  2. We will be using Pilates breathing.
  3. Inhale your top arm up toward the ceiling, moving only from the shoulder. Look at your hand as it raises.
  4. Exhale and rotate your spine by letting your rib cage open toward the ceiling. Keep looking at your hand as your spine rotates. Try to keep your knees close together.
  5. Spinal rotationHold here for a couple of breaths. As you breathe, tight muscles should relax and you might feel a pop or two in your spine.
  6. To come out, inhale and rotate your rib cage back to neutral. Your top arm should be sticking straight up toward the ceiling.
  7. Exhale and lower your top hand to meet the bottom hand. If you have come back to neutral position, your finger tips will align.
  8. You can do as many of these as you want, but I normally just do 2 or 3. Also, feel free to hold and breathe so that any tight muscles you might have can loosen up.

Spinal rotation video

Here is a video for visual learners.

How does Spinal rotation help you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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