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Learn Pilates Exercises to Help Decrease Back Pain


Updated May 10, 2010

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Pelvic Tilt to Pelvic Curl
pilates exercise

Full Pelvic Curl

by Peter Kramer, Courtesy of Kolesar Studios

Pelvic tilt is taught to almost everyone who has back pain, especially low back pain. It teaches us to use our abdominal muscles in a way that supports and lengthens the lower back. Here we start with pelvic tilt, and for those who feel comfortable, move to a spinal articulation with pelvic curl:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet, ankles, and knees are aligned and hip-distance apart.

This exercise starts in neutral spine. In neutral spine, the natural curves of the spine are present so the lower back is not pressed into the mat.

Begin Pilates Pelvic Tilt


Exhale: Do a pelvic tilt by engaging your abdominal muscles, pulling them in so that your bellybutton moves down toward your spine. Let that action continue so that the spine lengthens and the abs press the lower spine into the floor.

In the pelvic tilt position, your back is very long against the floor and the pelvis is tilted so that the pubic bone is a little higher than the hip bones.

Inhale to release back to the floor, or go on to pelvic curl:

Inhale: Press down through your feet allowing the tailbone to begin to curl up toward the ceiling. The hips raise, then the lower spine, and, finally, the middle spine.

Come to rest on your shoulders at the level of your shoulder blades, with a nice straight line from your hips to your shoulders. Do not arch beyond this point. Support this movement with your abdominals and hamstrings.

Exhale: As you let your breath go, use abdominal control to roll your spine back down to the floor. Begin with the upper back and work your way down, vertebrae by vertebrae, until the lower spine settles to the floor.

Inhale: Release to neutral spine.

Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times

Get detailed instructions and tips for pelvic tilt to pelvic curl

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