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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pilates Back Extension Exercises

It is logical to emphasize and feature back extension exercises in a pilates program. Pilates back extension exercises counterbalance the numerous forward bending movements in our everyday life. One of the most common complaint of back pain is occupational; that of having to sit for more than 10 hours in the job!

If you can put a figure on the number of times you have to bend forward and the amount of forward inclined daily activities, you will be surprised it is an astounding four figure number. When you slouch in your chair or when you work, rounded over in front of the computer all day, you definitely suffer from back pain from time to time.

So how does Pilates back extension exercises work for you?

How will it change the quality of your program and your life?

Here are 5 reasons why you want to put those Pilates extension exercises into action now!

A Great Back Strengthener

As you bend over more than you do any other movements daily, your back muscles become over strained and weak from continued rounding. They forget how to work to support the back when you need to sit upright. These back extensor group of muscles must be retrained to play their role of supporting your spine. Back extension exercises specifically target areas of the back in holding up your posture in all possible acts of play and work. They also help to prevent any possible onset of back pain due to poor posture and form.

“Swan” is a specific back extension routine which is simple and easy to perform. Lie on your stomach with both palms down at the side of your chest near your armpits. Keep both knee caps lifted and engaged as you press gently into the floor and lift chest away from ground. This action of keeping the chest off the ground helps to train your back to be stronger. It also challenges your pelvis and abdominals to target back muscles.

Makes You Taller

The muscles that are in charge of making you stand taller, sit taller and walk taller are the back extensor group. You will need to keep your posture lifted, as in lifting your chest up and keeping the back of the neck long like a well trained dancer akin to a ballerina. In the process, other important muscles of the body are also challenged. Your chest is expanded and lifted. Your abdominals, quadriceps, and hip flexors are properly stretched.

“Swimming” is another great pilates exercise to include in your repertoire. Over time, you achieve good posture and form.

Improves Breathing Mechanics

As you begin to keep the chest lifted, you will notice there is a visible difference in the way you look and breathe. If you have a rounded forward posture, your ribcage is in a collapsed/dropped position all the time. This position does not promote proper breathing. In fact, it is impossible to do proper breathing at all. Shallow breathing is the only possible way to breathe in this position. The lifting of the sternum, which we also called the breastbone, means muscles of the back are working hard to effectively keep the ribcage up and the lungs are in their proper position to initiate correct full breathing.

Creates Shoulder Girdle Stability

Some examples of pilates back extension exercises like the modified “Plank” is great to challenge stabilization of your shoulder girdle musculature. It also challenges your abdominals as they have to work to stabilize your lower body. In time, your core strength will improve. The development of core strength is crucial to the maintenance of good posture until it becomes a good habit. Core stabilization also means some areas of the body do not have to be strained to compensate for other weaker muscles.

Exercises Rejuvenate & Revitalize

All Pilates back extension exercises work to regulate and balance your body with the right movements. If you are rounded for most hours of your waking times, you want to do an activity in extension. Our body is designed to be in an upright position from birth. Look at any picture of a standing anatomy chart of a body – it is upright and in extension.

Your quality of life improves tremendously with continual maintenance of this correct posture. You will feel stronger and more energized!

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