Simple Pilates Exercises You Can Do at Home to Avoid Back Pain

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Hi, my friends!

One of the most common questions my clients ask is, “What are some exercises I can do at home to avoid back pain?”

Today, we are talking about some of those simple exercises I often give out to clients that you can do at home to help avoid back pain. The exercises I’m about to show you focus on easing you into it, so you don’t have to know a lot about what you’re doing in order to begin.

Rolling Your Feet is Number One

One of the first pieces of homework what I always give my private clients is rolling out their feet. This is important because our proprioception (the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body) begins at the bottom of our feet. It is what tells us where we are in space, how we can feel, and how we sense what area of the body is truly working. So, if our proprioception becomes dulled, the messaging does too due to tightness in the feet—slowing down our awareness of how we are moving in space. For that reason, I always have all of my clients roll their feet out.

Pilates Exercise: Foot Roll

Every time a new client comes in the door, that’s one of the first things I can’t wait to show them. When you come into my studio, everyone knows as soon as they come in that the first thing that they’re gonna do is roll their feet. To this day, I continue to roll my own feet on a regular basis. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing to do.

All right, next we’re gonna get into areas of the body that can cause tightness in the back and over time, cause issues in the back. And that is the legs and the hips. So, I like to have my clients stretch a lot when they first start working with me because new clients tend to be very tight. And in order to access muscles properly, we have to have our muscles be malleable. They need to be able to move. And when we are too tight, the muscles literally cannot function. So it’s important to stretch.

Don’t Forget to Stretch

Well, this is more than just quads. Next, in this line-up, we’ve got our quad stretch, an inner thigh stretch, a hamstring stretch, and some hip stretches. When the area of these muscles gets tight, they definitely contribute to back muscle tightness.

Pilates Stretch: Quad Stretches
Pilates Stretch: Dynamic Inner Thigh Stretch
Pilates Stretch: Hamstring Stretches
Pilates Exercise: Hip and Glute Stretch

Like I mentioned before, as muscles get tight, they start to lose their function. When muscles start to lose their function, then the central nervous system starts to kick in muscle compensation patterns to help you move. When that happens, we start getting additional stressors in our body. Those stressors can start to break down over time and cause injury. So, stretching is an important part of avoiding back pain.

Now, we’re going to look at the basic exercises that I give clients who have back pain.

Pilates Exercsises for Back Pain

The knee fold is a beginning core stabilization exercise. While you’re doing this one, it’s important to remember what the exercise is all about. It is more about keeping your pelvis still as well as working the abdominals and the psoas in a way that helps keep the pelvis quiet. You don’t want the pelvis moving. That’s a key piece with the knee fold exercise, you’ll want to keep that in mind. I mention that in the video—you’ll get that cueing a lot.

Pilates Mat Exercise for Back Pain: Knee Folds

As we move forward, we want to also strengthen the glute area: the glute med. This is the perfect exercise to strengthen the glute medius because the glute med is a stabilizing muscle of the pelvis. Learning to stabilize the pelvis is an important part of avoiding back pain.

Pilates Mat Exercise for Back Pain: Glute Medius Leg Lift

Now one of my personal favorites, the bridge. This is an amazing exercise that incorporates the use of the glutes with the abdominals and the hamstrings. All are important pieces that help keep the back mobile but also help you gain some strength and stabilization.

Pilates Exercise for Back Pain: The Bridge

As we move into the final two exercises, we have the quadruped, which is a great exercise that helps you learn how to stabilize and work the back muscles correctly while keeping your core engaged.

Pilates Mat Exercise for Back Pain: Quadruped

Last but not least, is the wall roll down. This is a really nice mobility exercise for the back. Remember as we’re wrapping up with this movement, keeping the back mobile and moveable is a very, very important piece in avoiding back pain.

Pilates Exercise for Back Pain: Wall Roll Down

My hope for you with this combination of stretches and some beginner strengthening exercises, you’ll feel more confident in your choices on how you can avoid back pain.

Important Note About Exercising with Back Pain

As a side note, I want you to be aware and pay attention to which exercises are helping your body feel better and which exercises may be aggravating you. Our bodies are all different and one exercise that may work for one person may not work for the other. Because I’m not there with you in person to ask questions, it’s important that you ask yourself.

When you’re going through this routine, these exercises and stretches should be helping you feel better. If you start to feel more discomfort, aches and pains that aren’t going away after a couple of hours, then that exercise may not be right for you specifically. One idea is to create a little playlist for yourself with the videos that work best for you. Your body is wise, it knows what it wants to help heal. It’s just a matter of you paying attention to your body and how it’s responding.

Enjoy and take care!

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