Class #3967

Decompress Your Spine

25 min - Class


Your body will feel longer and more balanced after this Spine Corrector workout by Tom McCook. He focuses on decompressing your spine as well as conditioning that incorporates full-body integration. He encourages you to think about connecting to your movements rather than pushing your range so that you can learn how to move with more control.
What You'll Need: Spine Corrector, Theraband

About This Video


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Okay. Hi everybody. I'm Tom McCook here, back at Palladio's anytime. Very excited to be back for an art class with Christy and Erin. And um, the class today will be a focus on decompressing your spine and a good conditioning workout that's balanced front side and back. I think you'll find it really useful and think of going slow and connect the movements over pushing your range. So the first exercise is going to be to decompress your lower back slightly. So what we're going to do is the way they're sitting on the backside of the arch is you want your butt to be about six inches away from it.

So then when you lay back, you can let your head come onto the top of the arch. That's where they're going to start. They have a TheraBand where they deviled it and we're going to use it as a pole. If you have a poll, you could use a pole, but a TheraBand works fine and with the head on. Now if you need to slide your yourself more forward to have your head on the arc, that's fine too. You could even use a pad for your head if you needed to.

So first thing all I want them to do is just practice breathing low and wide into the torso. And on the exhale, posteriorly, tip your pelvis as you press your legs down and reach through your heels and then inhale to release it. And just do that a few times and feel how you're lengthening your lower back towards the arch with active legs, active abdomen. So in the beginning we're just starting at the lower part of the spine. Then we're going to add the arms to stretch the lats, the biggest muscle that connects your arm to the back of your pelvis. So now from there they're going to take the band, it's doubled, they're going to hold it at shoulder height to the floor, shoulder with, and just add a little bit of pull like [inaudible], like it's a tot pole.

Now on the exhale, as you do the post here, tip slowly reach the arms overhead without losing that length of the lower back. Inhale to bring it back to shoulder height and do about six of those. And on the exhale, feel that relationship, abdominal wall, lengthening your side body, active legs. Inhale to bring it back. That's it. And if you add just a little bit of a smile, I know it's like way better. That's a, there we go. Nice and fluid. Feel how you can keep adding more tone to your legs, which helps you lengthen your side body. That's it.

Nice and fluid. Let's do three more. Feel that upward rotation, the shoulder blades are sliding away from the spine through the reach. You get a little more fluid range and two more. That's it. One more. Now the next one, you're going to do the same exercise, but when, now we're going to take it into the top half of a roll up. Now hold that lumbar flection. Start to bring the arms forward.

Let the head fall on the exhale. Curl off the arch, just doing the top half of flection. As you inhale, roll back with control onto the arc. As you excellent. Hold the lumbar flection. Reach the arms back overhead and again, inhale, start to let the head and arms come forward. Exhale, curl lengthening all the way through. Inhale with control. Roll back from your pelvis. Lower spine. Exhale into the reach. Nice and fluid. Beautiful. Do two more. You guys feel that your back is sledding up like your back of your rib cage.

Just sliding up your back and then roll back with control. Hold onto that lumber flection as the arms go overhead. Inhale, arms head. Exhale, curl up and over. Now this time in the flection, just hold for three breaths. Breathe into where you feel any tightness in your back of your waistline ribcage. Still maintain that down and out through your legs. Soft jaw. One more breath and then lengthen right up. Beautiful work. We'll let that go and we're going to turn the ox around and we're going to have a seat in the arc for an AB series. Very nice.

So now you'll still have your TheraBand, but have a seat in the well with your legs bent, feet flat, and then take the band up in front of you. So the different than we typically do with the arc. You're only going to go back to a place where your lower back touches the arcs. It's pretty small and we're going to do the same arm reach once you back there. So take a breath and on the exhale curl to where you touch the part of your spine right behind your belly button and stay. That's it. Now exhale, reach the arms overhead without letting your lower back shorten and held to bring them forward. Do that four times. That's it. There you go.

It's more than it looks like, isn't it? There we go. That's it. One more now. Next one. Exhale, reach. Hold on the inhale and as you exhale, go a little further, but feel like your abdomen is controlling your extension over the barrel, but it'd be small. Inhale, let the arms come forward. Exhale, curl back up. Just do that two more times. On the exhale. Curl back, reach the arms, go back a little further, let the top of your chest open. That's it. And then let them come forward and curl up and over your center.

So it's flection with length and strength. One more curl back. Inhale to reach Xcel further with the control of your belly as you extend slightly. Inhale the arms. Exhale, curl up and over and lengthen up tall, huh. Nice work. Now and this is really good. If you have, if you feel like you tend to share in your spine is teaching you how to have more control with movement. So now the next one you're going to do around the world, but it's going to be very small. So just while you're here, just practice taking your arms up overhead. Now from your waistline, turn to one side, back to center.

Turn to the second side and challenge yourself to turn without your sit bones moving at all. Pelvis doesn't move at all. It's all rib cage up. That's it. And then come back to center. Lower the arms. We'll do that while we're in that first small curl. So on the XL, curl back, small. Inhale, lift the arms up. Exhale, turn to one side. Inhale, center. Exhale, turn to your second side center two more each way to your own pace. Feel your way through it. Keep your legs active. Sit bones anchored.

One more read side, that's it. And last side, back to center. Now as you reach up, let your head reach for the band, curl up and over yourself and then roll right up to tall. You can drop the band and we're going to come onto your side facing this way with your outside leg long. And then you can just put your elbow on the arch and just cradle your head and we're going to have a little coffee talk. That's it. So now you're there. Just just get a sense of your alignment. You want a line from your ankle to your hip, to your ear.

Now puts your top hand on your waistline right above your hip. And imagine you're going to use those muscles to lift your torsos. So just do a small movement where you reached out of the crown of your head and you use the muscles you're touching to side bend. But it'd be small. Just feel okay. I'm locating where I'm generating the movement from. Do that one more time.

[inaudible] now come down, reach the bottom arm overhead with the Palm up. Reach the top arm straight up off your shoulder. Now do the same exact movement with your arms like that generated from where you were just touching and feel that lift you. That's it. See, your arms are plugged into the joint. You're moving from your waistline. That's it. One more. Now as you come down, same exact movement. Bring the hands behind your head. Shoulders are plugged down and side bend the same way. Just do three.

That's it. Nice and fluid. Energy out the crown of your head. Now the next one side, bend up and hold from your torso. Rotate down. As you breathe in. Exhale, center. Inhale, rotate open. There you go. XL center. Inhale, release. And again, exhale, lift spiraled down with the breath. Back to center. Spiral open with the breath. Back to center and release. We're going to do one more. Exhale to lift.

Inhale, spiral down. XL center. Inhale, spiral. Open. Back to center and release. Now come back to cradling your head with the bottom arm and let your elbow be on the, on the arc. So you can support it and we're going to go right into some stuff for your legs. So take your top leg. You can even put your top hand on your hip if you want.

It just makes it very official. That's not take your top leg about six inches in front of you on the floor and just practice turning the foot out from the top of your hip. Notice that you can turn the out without moving your pelvis and feel that that's coming like it's wrapping towards the bottom of your button. Feel that now hold it. Points your foot and point and lift it up about six inches. And stir a little circle about the size of a dinner plate and feel the work is the back of your hip and energy out the crown of your head. That's it.

And now reverse strong toned leg makes the leg lighter and two more and lower. Now go back to parallel and bring the leg back in line with your hip and flex your foot. Lift it up about two inches and take your top arm straight up to the ceiling and absorb it into your shoulder joint. We're going to go into sidekicks and he'll kick the leg to the front XL point and reach to the back. Now as you go to the back, activate the Downey towards your chest. Inhale, kick to the front XL point and reach. That's both legs working together. As you go to the back, just like you're striding up a Hill. There you go.

Two more and one the sound as it goes in the back. Keep it to the back. Now bend the knee, knee to chest, leg long to the front for bicycle, just two, four in that direction. Focus on keeping the lower back, relatively the same all the way through. That's it. One more. Now as it comes forward, this time, stall and reverse Ben and sweep to the back long leg to the front. Bend and reach last two and one. Awesome. From there, let your leg lengthen and come to the floor.

Take your top arm over the top and take hold of your wrist. Turn your torso down. Now traction the leg away from you and a little behind you and just breathe into your length. Feel how you can open up your lungs. You can open up your waistline, your hip flexors and your side body and lower back all. Get to get a nice opening in this position.

One more big breath and when you're ready, gently help yourself up and we'll go to side to good work and we'll start with you. Just cradle your head with the bottom arm and create a line again from your ear to your outer hip to your ankle, and then put your top hand on your waistline and just generate, think of, okay, I'm going to generate a movement right from there. So on the XL, use in those muscles. Let your torso side bend up some small motion. Feel how you're not trying to overdo your side bending with length. That's it. One more now, same movement, but let the bottom arm reach overhead with the Palm towards the ceiling, top arm, straight up to the ceiling. Arms are plugged into the joint. Generate from the same place. Yeah, you're moving from the middle of your body.

That's it. Two more and one same movement. Bring the hands behind your head, connect your shoulder blades down and again, XL side, just three reps. good on the next one. Side up and hold. Inhale, spiral the torso down. Exhale, center. Inhale, spiral open. Exhale, center. Inhale, release. And again, exhale, lift, spiral down, center, spiral, open, center and release. And just one more side. Then lift spiraled down.

Center, spiral, open, center and release. And then once again, let your head be supported by your bottom elbow. And now the focus will be your legs. So take that top leg a little bit forward of your body and just practice turning the leg out from the top of the thigh. Feel how you can turn the foot out from the top of the leg, opposed to doing it from your foot and your ankle. Feel how it's coming from the back of your hip. Now as you turn it out, this next time, traction away from you out.

You were pointed foot and floated up about six to eight inches. Now stir a small circle like a dinner plate size with a toned leg, energy out the crown of your head, keeping the waistline relatively still. One more in that direction, and reverse ice and fluid. That's it. Two more. Back to center. Let the leg come back in line with your shoulder into parallel and let it come to the floor. Just for a moment. Now feel your alignment and with a flex foot, lift the foot up a few inches and take your top arm straight up to the ceiling and absorb it into the shoulder joint for sidekicks. Inhale, kick to the front.

Exhale point and reach to the back. As you activate the Downy towards the chest, feel that each time. That's it. Imagine as your leg goes to the back, you can also follow your belly wall in so you feel that front to back tone. Two more. That's it. And one more this time as it goes to the back. Leave it back now. Heel to your butt. Bend at the knee, knee to chest, leg long to the front, nice and smooth. Feel it all the way through. Challenge yourself to keep the knee back when you bend the knee, to work the back of your leg and open the front of your hip. One more.

This next time as the knee comes forward, stall. And then reverse bend in. Reach to the back. Sweep it long to the front. That's it. Fluid motion. Still got that awareness of your posture energy at your head. There you go. Two more. Nice and smooth. Add one more.

Very nice. As you come back to center, let the leg lower. Take hold of top wrist or just side bend. Let your head go. Now turn your upper torso down and traction that leg away from you, the top leg and a little to the back. And breathe into that length. Feel how you can breathe and open up your hip flexor or your waistline, your lower back. And at the same time relax the back of your neck. Let your neck soften.

Two more breaths and one. And when you're ready, gently help yourself up. Now I'd like to try to come up and turn the arcs around because you're going to come onto your belly facing in. So, but we'll turn the whole lock around. So when you lie on your belly, actually, um, you know I was wrong. We're going to keep it the other way. Sorry about that. Keep it like this, but come around to the backside and just slide the arc a little closer to the front of the mat. Perfect.

Now you're going to come onto your belly with your belly button right on the top and your knees will be on the floor. Um, the facing this way. Yup. Just like that. There you go. So this is a decompression for your lower back. So this is going to be completely new. So what I want you to do is just practice taking your hands out in front of you on the floor and bring your head up and torso at the level of your pelvis and let your knees be bent and bring your knees together. Big toes touch, tucking tucked and together. But your heels about an inch apart.

So your legs are in a little bit of internal rotation. That's, and now in that position, walk your hands forward and a little wide. And imagine when you're up on your fingertips that you're not going to extend your spine. You're going to lengthen it. So when you breathe in, I want you to breathe into your width and your length all the way up to your armpits. Now on the exhale, squeeze your inner thighs and draw your belly well away from the arc. As you breathe in, imagine you're literally tractioning your head and tail away from each other and on the exhale, activate inseams belly wall. Do that for four more breaths. Breathe into your length and width. Exhale, strong inner thighs, strong belly wall. Imagine you're creating length and space in your spine.

Two more breaths like that. One more. The elusive inseams. There we go. One more exhale. Now stay in the same shape, but slide your hands towards you outside the arcs of your hands are under your shoulders. Your elbows will be a little bent. Now this is going to be for your hip extensors for the back of your legs. Now imagine the breathing is the same on the exhale as you start to draw your belly in, bend one leg halfway.

Take the foot off the floor and press up from the bottom of your butt. Try to get the knees up high as your hip and then lengthen the leg straight and then lower on the inhale and then we're going to alternate. So on the exhale, feel your belly wall. Press the bend at the knee, lift the knee up and then reach long and see if it can still feel that sense that you can have that head tail line. You still feeling that you can breathe into your length and width and you have the feedback or the arc to keep your lower back long. That's it. Nice and fluid. Let's do two more East side. Breathing into your length and width. Hamstrings, glutes, AB wall, long spine.

Nice. One more. Each side. Last one you guys. There you go. Last side. And then we have the final one. How are we doing? Doing good. Now take hold of your band. So now you guys at home, you want to have your TheraBand out in front of you and you're going to have it under your hands with your hands on the floor the way you had them in the first exercise. And imagine the top of your chest is open.

Now just go ahead and straighten your legs. Now I believe you're, you might even leave your toes on tucked. That's a no on the exhale. All I want you to do is reach back through your right leg and lifted. Pull the left arm out to the side and a little bit up and pull the arm all the way back to your hip. Inhale to lower the arm and lower the leg and we're going to alternate like that. So on the exhale, reach and lift, pull out and back. Nice and fluid. That's it. Feel that X across your back, X across the front.

Lat two glute belly wall lifts from your prep energy out the crown of your head. There you go. Nice and fluid. That's it. And again, feel your strong connection to your side body and your glutes. Good everybody. Nice work. After the one you were on. Do one more reach side. Beautiful. That's it. Excellent. And last side.

Awesome. And rest, huh? Now from there you can let the band go and just put your elbows on the top of the arc for a moment and just do a simple cast stretch. As you shift back onto your knees off of the arc, just press into your elbows and let your back around for a breath or two. That's it. Now we just have one more series.

So we're going to do a plank series where you'll be on the top of the arc and a plank and you will pull, there'll be three movements. You'll pull your knee to your chest, heel to your butt, push up, and we're just going to do like 50 just a warm up. Now we're going to do three rounds, so it'd be a knee to chest, heel to butt, push up. Now when you do your pushup, think of making that connection to the bottom of your shoulder blades, all the way down to your inseams. Now. If you want to slide the arch a little forward so you have your feet can be on your mat. That's all good too. Now when you're ready, come to standing. Put your hands around the EITs outside of the arch and step back into a plank.

There you go. As you step into the plank, feel your body line strong. Now as you exhale, pull one 80 your chest. Inhale, reach it straight back, keeping the knees flush. Bring the heel to your butt lower and then do a small push up. That's it. And now side to knee to chest, straight back, heel to butt connection as you lower and do your pushup. And again, knee to chest, heel to butt. Strong connected. Push up. And again, knee to chest.

He too, but [inaudible] strong connected. Push up. One more reach side after the one you're on. And again, pull in heel two by strong, connected. Push up. There you go. One more. That's it. Best pushed up of your life right now. Last one. Now walk your feet a little forward.

Put your hands on the top of the arch and shift back into a modified downward dog where you can pull your hips back. That's it. Now just take a moment there where your attraction to your hips away from your hands and just slowly walk in place. Let you stop. Lift one heels, you lower the other one. You can even let your knee bend on the bending leg. There you go. Now let your hips shifts towards the straightening side to get a little lateral hip stretch. That's it. Just do one more each side.

Just get that final parts of the body that we include. Every angle. Now as you come back to center, walk your feet towards the arch. Soften your knees. Let the arms hang. Take a breath and just let your head nod for a few times. Yes rotated. No. Now press evenly into both your feet and roll up through the spine. Letting your head be the last thing up as you get to the top.

Inhale the arms up overhead. Open them out to the side. Notice posture breathing. Take that nice feeling with you for the rest of the day. Great work you guys and enjoy everybody. Hope to see you again applies anytime. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Lovely class! Great flow, clear cues, and great work for decompressing the spine
1 person likes this.
Thank you Rachel, in the current lifestyles most have, giving the spine a little space and love is required! Enjoy!
I feel the length!! Thank you, that was great!
Kim W
1 person likes this.
This popped up at the perfect time for a returning client. severe scoliosis, and I was stumped as to how to approach her. This was perfect! I took the class and enjoyed every minute of it, and despite Tom's gentle cuing, it was sneakily challenging. 
Tom, you're still the man!
Thank you Tom - this is a lovely dose of movement on one of my favorite pieces of equipment. It helped my body wake up after two days in bed at the flu followed by sitting in an office chair again!

One question though! With the Pilates Arc and its slightly different slope I found the exercises lying on top a bit difficult to access. Do you have tips for modifying them for the Pilates Arc?

Thanks again and great to have you back on PA!
tom I always enjoy the easy going pace so we can keep our nervous systems calm, and carry on. Wonderful.
Lovely progressions and cues. Thank you!
great way to start the weekend. thank you tom!
Really helped realign my neck, hips and spin... pain free for the first time in months. Grateful!
1 person likes this.
Thank you all for you comments, I'm honored to share and support your practice and teaching. Julie for lying prone on the ARC, try shifting forward and back to find the place where you can level your head and pelvis  parallel with the mat. If needed use padding on the top of the ARC. For the Decompression breathing exercise, make sure the legs are bent and the knees are touching the ARC and the inner thighs together. I hope you find that helpful and all the best!
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