Foundations: Spinal Mobility and Strengthening
Quick Intro: 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. 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. See Toe Taps and Marching here
What’s it good for?
🌟 Mobilising the lower spine and stabilising the shoulders.
🌟 We’re strengthening the (oblique) abdominals to power the rotation.
A quick “how to”…
Spine Twist Supine
🌟 Lying face up, bring your knees to an angle of about 90 degrees.
🌟 Draw in your abdominals, sniff to inhale and initiate the movement with the exhalation, bring one leg into tabletop.
🌟 Repeat the movement with the other leg, taking care not to allow the abdominals to “balloon” out as you recruit your hip flexors.
🌟 To fully engage your abdominals, roll up your tailbone slightly and imprint your spine into the mat.
🌟 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.
🌟 check your opposite shoulder? Is it lifting off the mat? If so, either reduce your range of movement or control it’s lifting.
🌟 Exhale and come back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
Hints & Tips:
🌟 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. Learning to use the abdominals can help protect the spine from injury when in rotation.
🌟 Imagine that your thighs are like windscreen wipers moving to the left and right from a rotating column.
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