Exercise #5591

Spine Stretch

4 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals, Spine

Objective: Develop Spinal Articulation

Apparatus: Mat

Start Position: Sit upright, with legs extended out in front of you, feet flexed and Mat distance apart. Arms extend out, parallel to the floor as well as to each other. Helpful Tip: If you are unable to extend your legs completely straight, that's OK! Prioritize sitting up with your spine tall, keeping a bend in the knees when needed.

Movement: Inhale to sit tall. On the exhale, take the head down, articulating through the spine as your torso leans forward, arms move towards the direction of the feet, and your abdominals continue to engage and pull away from the legs. Inhale at the bottom to pause. On the exhale, feel the sitting bones bring the pelvis into an upright position, then stack the spine back to your seated position, with the head being the last thing to lift. Repeat as needed, noticing the increased range of motion as you move.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Let's talk about the spine stretch. The spine stretch is a simple spinal articulation exercise. That's one of the fundamental Pilates sizes because it's simple, doesn't necessarily mean it's without its complications. So what we're looking for in the beginning of the exercise is for the body to be in a very upright position but also with straight legs, which is not available to everybody. If you encounter or if you yourself find it challenging to be in a very upright position, when attempting to set up straight, it's useful to just bend the knees, which will take some of the flexibility challenge out of the hamstrings and allow the back muscles to do their job to bring the body all the way into an upright position. Let's take a look. The exercise begins with the body in an upright position.

The feet mat distance apart and the feet dorcey flexed or pulled back towards the knees. The arms will be reaching forward both parallel to the floor and also parallel to one another in line with the shoulder joints. So, again, if it's difficult for somebody to be able to be all the way in an upright position, the most helpful thing just is to let the knees bend, which will free up the spine. If length straight are available, that is the most optimal position. From here, we imagine that the body is stacked up against a wall and the feet are pressed up against another wall.

And then we breathe in and we take the head down. Now the strength part of the exercise is as the body is articulating down and reaching forward, the abdominals are pulling back in opposition. There's an angel at the bottom to pause. As we exhale, we start feeling the sitting bones first, bringing the pelvis into an upright position and then stacking the spine over the top. The head is the last thing to lift.

On the inhale, lift the spine as much as possible. As we excel, we articulate taking the head first, feeling the spine starting to move piece by piece, There's an oppositional idea of the arms reaching forward and the legs reaching forward as we pull back into the abdominal supporting the spine in that end range position in hand and exhale as we stack the spine back up, letting the shoulders fall down the back and lifting the gaze at the end. We'll repeat that one more time in here. And each time you repeat the movement, you might find that there's a little bit more range at the end of that stretch. So go for your full range.

Everyone will be different in the low range depending on flexibility and body types. We stack back up, feeling the body getting taller each time it lifts. This is another exercise where you might notice a little bit of variation from teacher to teacher and throughout different Pilates schools. But don't worry about that. Just focus on the spinal articulation piece and that oppositional strengthening energy through the abdominals when you're practicing the spike stretch.


1 person likes this.

Julie Lloyd
1 person likes this.
One of my favourite exercises!! I find it really helps all of us!

Julie Lloyd I feel the same!

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