Pilates For Dummies
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The Basic Cat exercise in Pilates is one of the gentlest and simplest ways to stretch out the back. You see cats making this movement in the morning when they wake, and you can do it too!

Get on all fours.

Get on all fours.

Align your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Allow your back to assume its natural position, in Neutral Spine.

Inhale: Arch your back slightly.

Inhale: Arch your back slightly.

Allow your head to rise and your butt to stick up and out.

Exhale: Pull your navel in toward your spine and squeeze your low butt.

You begin with a Lumbar C Curve, meaning that your lower back is curved like a C, then continue rounding into the upper back.

Allow your head to slowly drop forward.

Allow your head to slowly drop forward.

At this point, your whole spine should be making a C shape. Your back should be rounded to the greatest extent possible. Push your arms into the mat for extra resistance while stretching the upper back. Keep your abdominals and rib cage pulled in.

Inhale: Return to Neutral Spine, then go further into the arch, sticking your tail and head upward.

Complete 4 repetitions.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Ellie Herman runs two Pilates studios, where she teaches hundreds of students and certifies Pilates teachers. She studied under two of Joseph Pilates' original students.

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