Sun 18th November 2018

Joe’s Classic Moves explained: #2: The Spine Curl – just about a firm bum?

We love a Spine Curl. It is another classic Pilates move that mobilises the spine, hips and the shoulders. We use it frequently as many of our clients come to us with weak glutes and tight hip extensors from sitting down for long periods of time. Like our classic Curl Up, it’s a great move to use in warm ups, or as a basis to layer up more challenging moves that build strength and stability. And not just for a firmer bum.

So, let’s just break down that ‘joint-tastic’ Spine Curl

AIM: To mobilise the lumbar and thoracic spine, hips, shoulders, knee

Starting position: Relaxation position with your neutral pelvis and spine, feet planted firmly on the floor hip width apart.

First movement: Inhale, and as you exhale engage the deep lower abdominals and tilt the pelvis up, lifting the tail bone off the mat. Working sequentially through the vertebra, ‘wheel and peel’ the spine up off the mat. Think about thigh bones to the ceiling, soft across the collar bones.

How far do I go?

No further than resting on your shoulder blades. Keep the neck free to move. You may only get a little bit of height, or be able to bring the pelvis up and in line with the sternum and pubic bone. Don’t over extend the hips up and arch the back.

And then what?

Take a breath in and as you exhale slowly return the spine, one vertebra at a time to the mat, before tilting back to neutral and repeating.

So…just working the Glutes then?

Well, of course not. It is essential that you engage the pelvic floor as well to help keep the glutes engaged or your knees may drop out to the side as you lift, taking tension into the neck. You are also working the hamstrings (back of thigh) and stretching your quads at the front. Back muscles are also working to control you as you lift and lower. Arms, calves and feet are also aiding stability.

Is it a bridge then…?

Well, yes and no. The finished position is a bridge, but the journey there is different, with the emphasis on you moving the spine to go up and down.

Remember: These instructions are to read and to support your Pilates in a qualified teacher led class environment. If you are practising at home remember no exercise should be undertaken without clearance from your medical practitioner.