Given our sedentary lifestyles, it’s very likely that many of us will develop bad posture sooner or later. The fact that you’re constantly checking your smartphone, even while walking, or the long intervals you spend sitting in front of your computer, holding a notepad in your lap for hours on end, or even just driving a lot, adversely affects your posture by making you slouch. Slouching, in turn, makes your back and neck hurt.
The following Pilates workout will strengthen your core, thus, helping you regain a correct posture. Ideally, you should employ this workout three to four times a week, and you should repeat each exercise between eight and ten times.
#1. Kneeling spine twist
- Kneel, while keeping your upper body as straight as you can, knees in line with the hips.
- Raise your arms to the sides, to form a T, while keeping your shoulders away from your years and your core tight.
- Twist to the side, focusing on keeping the core engaged and the pelvis stable.
- Press three times to this side, then return to center. Try to keep your shoulders down.
- Press three times on the other side as well.
#2. Shoulder release
- Lie flat on your back, hands with fingers laced behind your head, elbows in the air, arms to the sides of your head.
- To take pressure off your lower back, you can bend your knees.
- Without raising your neck, lower your elbows towards the sides, until they touch the floor.
- With the shoulders still on the floor, press your elbows into the floor as much as you can.
- Beware not to strain your face and neck.
#3. Rocker prep
- Lie face down on your mat and bend your knees so your ankles go upwards.
- Reach for your ankles with your hands. If you can’t reach with both hands at once, do the exercise with one hand, then do it again with the other.
- Pushing your feet into your hands, open your chest and shoulders by lifting your chest off the floor.
- If the stretch is not too much, you can also rock slightly forward and backward.
- Keep the chest and shoulders open throughout the rocking and stretching phase.
#4. Chest expansion
- Either kneel or stand, upper body straight up, arms down along your sides, palms facing backwards.
- Lengthen your arms behind you, opening up your chest.
- Look over one shoulder, back to looking forward, over the other shoulder, back forward, with the arms retracted to your sides.
- Repeat, starting with the opposite shoulder.
- When looking to the side, you should feel a pull from your ear, through your neck to your collarbone.
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