Tutorial #1444

Tightness in Low Back

4 min - Tutorial


This video includes short demonstrations of common modifications used to help alleviate pain or discomfort for people with tightness in the back, specifically the lower back.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

About This Video


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So there's a lot of exercises that if your back is tight at the low back in particular, it's going to be difficult to feel the exercises as as you, you hope to and to achieve the workout of the muscle focus. So let's assume the low back is tight. I'm going to show you just a few options that may work for you during class. The first one that comes to mind for me is in an exercise like the roll up or typically you would be in a curved spine. You would work your way down phone by bone, freeing yourself up, keeping the curve to the spine. Well, if you do have a tight low back, you know exactly where that challenge comes in.

As soon as we go to lift up off the back, either the legs want to lift up or the back starts to flatten out and you end up kind of teeter tottering and actually skipping the entire abdominal area that you're trying to work. One simple option is simply to bend the knees. And by now you know that cause your instructors probably tell you that just as an as an example. If you bend the knees, that allows you sometimes to release the hip flexor a little bit, which often is the cause for that tightness in that particular exercise. As you come up. Same thing to get through the hard part. You then would allow the legs to straighten out to give you some leverage. So that's one option. One that I only discovered a few years back.

My friend Carrie taught me this one, um, is to roll up a towel. It's not that thick. I want to say like, hmm, maybe an inch and a half at the most and I place it at about the top of my hip crest for this so that when I roll back and I get to where I feel the towel, I press into it. I'm just thinking about pushing into the towel. As I roll back touching my head, I come back up and again I push into the towel and it allows me to come up sort of magical in a way. It just puts the pelvis in a place that again makes it a little more biomechanically advantage to you by a mechanical advantage to you. Um, if you find that you go down there and it creates an arch in your back, you've placed it too high, you've rolled it too big, it should really feel much easier to do.

And it's not cheating because at least you're working the right muscles. Right? So that's one I also think of when we're working the actual back extensors and doing some sort of exercise in a prone position and trying to work the fullback, but only feeling the low back. If you have a really tight back or perhaps you're just a lordotic very curved there, you can do a similar thing by placing the towel or something like it right at the edge of the hipbones, the front of the hip bones so that it, it creates a little bit of a, not a curve, but it takes you out of that deep arch of the back end, allows you to rest there so that when you go into some sort of exercise, you're not instantly dropping into the low back. You have that extra little bit of support. There's a lot more that you could try.

But those are the first ones that come to mind for me. Uh, we could use balls, bands, other props to assist us, but to keep the choreography the same or quite similar either just slightly been the knees, see if that works. Grab at some sort of towel or cushion that you can gently press into when you're doing rolling exercises or prone exercises. And it may be just the trick that allows you to get strong enough to do it without the towel.


1 person likes this.
Great idea!
Thanks so much, Kristi, will definately try this!
You're welcome Helen! Good Luck!
Laura C
1 person likes this.
This is very cool! Thank you Kristi!
oh wow...someone actually addressing the lower back...wow, that hasn't happened yet (from of the videos that i've watched)...the towel didn't work for me though...legs still kept coming up when rolling up/down
Love surprising folks who think we might not! Sorry this tip didn't work for you, but thanks for continuing to look around Pilates Tot! You may play around with the placement and size of the towel as a means of feeling more successful with this one.
Can this work for teaser help, as well?
Karen I think it is a little harder to do a teaser this way, but I do think it can help. For me, it is about finding that balance point first (before the legs come up). I'd suggest placing the towel as you would a roll up then bend the knees to elevate and straighten in the up teaser position. From there roll down pushing into the towel but maybe not all the way to flat. It may just help you get stronger where you need it most, but I'm not sure it is great for a a full teaser.
Tank you kristi. It works very well!! It helps me To do the roll up quite easily
Patty Hafen
Thank you for these thoughtful tips.
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