Use Pilates Neck Pull Prep to Build Core Strength

neck pull prepFor a long time, I avoided Neck pull prep because of its name. As someone with shoulder tension and a forward head, I really didn’t need any additional pulling on my neck, so I stayed away. However, when I started planning which Pilates exercises to teach this month, there it was, staring me in the face.

I cracked the STOTT PILATES training manual and was pleasantly surprised to find that this exercise is great for core strengthening. Plus, there’s no pulling on your neck in any way shape or form. In fact, if you find that you are pulling on your neck, you’re doing something incorrectly and need to stop immediately.

For anyone who has knowledge of Pilates exercises on the Reformer, this is just like the Roll down during the Back Rowing exercises. If you have no idea what that means, simply read below. Now, you know how to do Neck pull prep on the mat and the Roll down exercise in the Back Rowing series.

Neck Pull Prep

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. Begin seated with your knees bent and heels in line with your SITs bones. Make sure that you feel your SITs bones connect to the mat beneath you.
  3. Root through your SITs bones to help you lift through the top of your head.
  4. Broaden your collarbones, and bend your elbows, bringing your fingertips to your skull right behind your ears. Try your best to keep your wrists straight; this can be tricky, though.
  5. Inhale and draw your belly button toward your spine.
  6. Exhale. Tilt your pelvis to roll back one vertebrae at a time. Make sure that you’re still lifted through the top of your head. You should feel a lightness as you move through your spine and pelvis.
  7. Once you roll back as far as you can without losing your form (check your feet, neck, and abs), inhale into the side of your rib cage and hold.
  8. Think of your spine as being one solid sculpture. As you exhale, lift and move your spine so that you’re seated upright on your pelvis. You should feel your SITs bones press into the mat beneath you.
  9. Inhale and articulate up to neutral. Make sure to feel your SITs bones press into the mat beneath you so that you can lift out of your hips. If you don’t have your lift, you might feel a grinding in your hips or sacrum (tailbone). Grinding is bad, and if you feel grinding, you should stop immediately. Instead of doing this exercise, do some therapy for the muscles that might be causing this issue like your piriformis and psoas.
  10. Do 5-10 reps.

Neck Pull Prep Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite Pilates core-strengthening exercise? Let us know in the comments.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.