A well designed Pilates class will include a range of exercises that challenge you to move your spine in different directions:
Flexion – bending forward (eg. Roll Up)
Extension – bending back (eg. Swan Dive)
Lateral Flexion – bending sideways (eg. Side Bend)
Rotation – eg. Spine Twist
The Spine Twist encourages increased range of movement in the upper body by training the trunk to spiral whilst keeping a stable pelvis. It’s important for everyone to maintain good rotational movement, particularly if you play a sport such as tennis or golf which involves a lot of twisting.
Let’s break down the components of the Spine Twist:
Sit up tall on your sit bones. At home you can perform this exercise on a chair or Swiss ball. In class we perform it sitting on the floor which can be challenging If you feel like you are slouching (picture B), sit on a cushion or yoga block to lift the hips.
Engage your core muscles to support your spine. Relax your shoulders and lengthen through the back of your neck, reaching the crown of your head towards the ceiling (picture A). Be careful not to poke your chin forward.
Hands can be placed as shown above or your arms can be folded at chest height.
Inhale to prepare and feel your spine grow taller.
Exhale slowly as you twist as far as you can. The twist comes from your waist, not your shoulders with the upper body, including the head, moving as one unit. The pelvis does not twist. You can check this by making sure your legs don’t move and you keep your weight evenly balanced on both sit bones.
Inhale as you twist back to the centre. Continue to lengthen through your spine and control the movement so that your pelvis does not move. Exhale and twist to the other side.
Repeat 6-8 rotations to each side.