Pilates Exercise of the Month: SPINE TWIST

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Purpose:  To work the muscles of your waistline (oblique abdominals) and wring the  stale air from your lungs as you stretch the muscles of your back.

  1. Sit very tall with your arms stretched to either side of the room; palms down, fingers long.  Legs are straight and held tightly together; toes point up to the ceiling.
  2. Inhale deeply, pull your navel into your spine; as if you were being cinched at the waist.
  3. Exhale, for 3 counts, twist your torso to the right.  Lengthen and increase the rotation with the next 2 breaths.  Release slightly between breaths. You can sustain one long exhalation or a gradual exhales on each count.
  4. Look toward your back arm as you turn.  Stay perched on top of your hips, lifting taller and straighter; squeezing your buttocks and legs.
  5.  Inhale deeply, return to center with your chest high.  Keep your arms in your peripheral vision, shoulders down.
  6. Repeat to the left side, lifting even taller and longer through the waist; returning to center.
  7.  Repeat 3-5 sets on each side.  

Visualization:  Imagine you are wringing the air out of your body as you would wring water from a wet towel.

Modifications: Sit on a foam cushion, the edge of the mat or cross-legged if you have tightness in your lower back, hamstrings or hip flexors.

Head to Toe Checklist:

  • Don’t let the back shoulder hunch up when turning.
  • Legs should stay aligned when twisting.
  • Use your breath to increase the stretch.
  • Don’t sink into your back as you twist.  Lift tall out of your waist.
  • Squeeze buttocks and upper thighs tightly together during the exercise.

Note: Omit the exercise if you have a recent back injury.  If you have a bad shoulder, reach back only within a pain-free range.

 

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