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7 Easy At Home Pilates Exercises for The Lower Back

Here Physiotherapist Liam goes through an at-home pilates session for your lower back.⁠

Give it a crack next time you are stuck at a desk all day!⁠

In this video you can see Liam guiding you through some easy at home pilates exercises.

1. Pigeon Stretch

1 Minute Per Side 

  1. Begin by positioning yourself on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Slide your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist.
  3. Extend your left leg straight back, keeping it aligned with your hip.
  4. Flex your right foot and ensure that the right ankle is slightly in front of the right knee.
  5. Slowly lower your upper body down towards the floor, keeping your spine long and extended.
  6. Allow your forearms to rest on the mat or a cushion for support.
  7. Breathe deeply and relax into the stretch, feeling a gentle opening in your right hip and glute.
  8. Hold this position for 1 minute on each side, being mindful of any sensations of discomfort.
  9. Gently release the stretch and return to the starting position.
  10. Repeat on the other side by switching the position of your legs.

2. Hip Flexor Stretch

1 Minute Per Side 

  1. Start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with your right foot, ensuring that your knee is directly above your ankle.
  3. Lower your left knee down to the ground, keeping your left toes tucked under.
  4. Shift your weight forward onto your right leg, feeling a gentle stretch in the front of your left hip and thigh.
  5. Engage your core muscles and maintain an upright posture, avoiding any excessive arching of the lower back.
  6. To deepen the stretch, raise your left arm overhead and slightly lean towards the right side.
  7. Hold this position for one minute on each side, focusing on deep breaths and allowing the stretch to gradually release tension.
  8. Gently release the stretch and return to the starting position.
  9. Repeat on the other side by switching the position of your legs.

3. Cat Cow Lumbar Only

x 20 reps

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your gaze straight ahead.
  3. Inhale deeply and slowly drop your belly towards the floor, arching your back and lifting your tailbone towards the ceiling.
  4. Allow your head to gently lift, creating a gentle extension through your neck.
  5. Hold this Cow pose for a few seconds, feeling a stretch in your lower back and abdomen.
  6. Exhale slowly and round your spine upwards towards the ceiling, like an angry cat.
  7. Tuck your tailbone under, engage your abdominal muscles, and allow your head to drop downwards.
  8. Hold this Cat Cow Lumbar pose for a few seconds, feeling a stretch through your upper back and shoulders.
  9. Repeat this fluid movement between Cow and Cat poses for several rounds, synchronising it with your breath.
  10. Focus on the sensation of each pose and aim to create a smooth and controlled flow.

4. Table Top Hold

2 x 30 seconds

  1. Lie down on your back on a comfortable exercise mat or floor.
  2. Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  3. Place your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing down.
  4. Engage your core muscles by gently drawing your navel towards your spine.
  5. Press through your feet and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  6. Keep your thighs parallel to each other and avoid letting your knees collapse inward or splay out to the sides.
  7. Squeeze your glutes as you hold the position, ensuring that you’re not straining your lower back.
  8. Maintain a neutral spine position, with a slight natural curve in your lower back.
  9. Hold this Table Top Hold position for 30 seconds, breathing deeply and focusing on stability and alignment.
  10. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground with control.

5.Bird Dog Toe Taps

2 x 15 per side

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button towards your spine.
  3. Extend your right arm straight forward, parallel to the floor, while simultaneously extending your left leg straight back, parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your hips level and maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise.
  5. From this starting position, slowly lower your left foot towards the ground, tapping your toes lightly on the floor 15 times.
  6. Maintain control and avoid letting your lower back sag or rotate excessively.
  7. Return your left leg back to the starting position, keeping it extended straight behind you.
  8. Repeat the toe tap movement 15 times with your left foot for the desired number of repetitions.
  9. Switch sides by extending your left arm forward and your right leg back.
  10. Perform the same toe tap movement with your right foot.

6.Bridge with Glute Activation

3 x 15 reps

  1. Lie down on your back on a comfortable exercise mat or floor.
  2. Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  3. Place your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing down.
  4. Engage your core muscles by gently drawing your navel towards your spine.
  5. Press through your heels and lift your hips off the ground, creating a bridge shape with your body.
  6. As you lift your hips, focus on squeezing your glutes (buttocks) to activate them.
  7. Keep your thighs parallel to each other and avoid letting your knees collapse inward or splay out to the sides.
  8. Maintain a neutral spine position, with a slight natural curve in your lower back.
  9. Hold the bridge position for a few seconds, emphasising the contraction in your glutes.
  10. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground with control.

7. Tippy Bird

2 x 15 per side

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine.
  3. Shift your weight onto your left foot and slightly lift your right foot off the ground.
  4. Simultaneously hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back straight and extending your right leg straight back behind you.
  5. At the same time, extend your arms out in front of you for balance, parallel to the floor.
  6. Find a steady position where your torso and right leg are in a straight line, forming a “T” shape.
  7. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and balance throughout the exercise.
  8. Hold this Tippy Bird position for 15-30 seconds, or as long as you can maintain stability.
  9. Slowly bring your right leg back down to the ground and return to the starting position.
  10. Repeat 15 times then the on the other side by shifting your weight onto your right foot and lifting your left foot off the ground.

 

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