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Pre-Pilates: Spinal Mobility & Strengthening – Spine Twist Supine



Foundations: Spinal Mobility and Strengthening

Quick Intro:ย Spine Twist Supine

This exercise is great for learning to rotate (and so increase mobility) the lower back while maintaining the legs and trunk in alignment.
Bringing our legs into Tabletop Position is a fundamental supine position that is used in Pilates.ย  There is a great deal going on here:

  • the calves point the feet and stretch the fascia and muscles along the shins;
  • the knee flexors hold the knees at ninety degrees;
  • the hip flexors hold the legs at ninety degrees to the pelvis while the
  • abdominals and spinals work together to stabilise the pelvis against the weight of the legs.ย  See Toe Taps and Marching here


What’s it good for? โ 

๐ŸŒŸ Mobilising the lower spine and stabilising the shoulders.
๐ŸŒŸ We’re strengthening the (oblique) abdominals to power the rotation.



A quick “how to”…

Spine Twist Supine

๐ŸŒŸ Lying face up, bring your knees to an angle of about 90 degrees.
๐ŸŒŸ Draw in your abdominals, sniff to inhale and initiate the movement with the exhalation, bring one leg into tabletop.
๐ŸŒŸ Repeat the movement with the other leg, taking care not to allow the abdominals to “balloon” out as you recruit your hip flexors.
๐ŸŒŸ To fully engage your abdominals, roll up your tailbone slightly and imprint your spine into the mat.
๐ŸŒŸ Keep in your legs completely aligned all the way through to the knees, heels, ankles and toes, inhale and rotate your lower back towards your left.
๐ŸŒŸ check your opposite shoulder?ย  Is it lifting off the mat?ย  If so, either reduce your range of movement or control it’s lifting.
๐ŸŒŸ Exhale and come back to centre.ย  Repeat on the other side.

Hints & Tips:

๐ŸŒŸ When rotating the most common error is to passively allow the lower back to arch so that the spinal extensors and not the abdominals power the movement.ย  Learning to use the abdominals can help protect the spine from injury when in rotation.
๐ŸŒŸ Imagine that your thighs are like windscreen wipers moving to the left and right from a rotating column.

Any Questions?

Ask away – I love to help!ย  Click here for the Contact Page ๐Ÿ™‚ – or leave a comment at the bottom of the post – see you there…

Miguel ๐Ÿ™‚


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