How to Do the Pilates Spine Stretch Forward Exercise - dummies

How to Do the Pilates Spine Stretch Forward Exercise

By Ellie Herman

The Spine Stretch Forward exercise in Pilates is exactly that — a stretch for the whole spine, especially the neck and upper back. In addition to the mat method described below, you can also do the Spine Stretch Forward against a wall.

1Sit up tall with your legs straight and spread a little wider than the width of your hips.

You can bend your legs if it’s impossible for you to sit up straight with your legs straight, for example, if you have tight hamstrings.

2Inhale: Sit up as tall as you can from the base of your spine. Flex your feet and reach through your heels to engage your leg muscles.

Your arms should be shoulder width apart and straight ahead, with your palms facing down.

3Exhale: Round your back into a C Curve, starting by scooping out your low belly, then pulling the ribs in, and finally rounding your neck and head forward.

By the end of the movement, your whole back is making a C shape, with your arms reaching forward.

4Inhale: Stack up your spine, bone by bone.

As you perform the stretch forward, imagine that you’re lifting your spine up and over a barrel.

5Exhale: Finish sitting tall, in your starting position, with your arms extended in front of you and your shoulders relaxed and dropped.

Complete 3 repetitions.