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Pilates for your bad back.

Why is Pilates so good for bad backs ?

The main reason Pilates is so helpful for bad backs is because Pilates strengthens the muscles that support the back. We call those muscles “the core”, “the powerhouse” or your “centre”.  And the reason Pilates Reformer and Pilates studio equipment are extra super helpful for bad backs is that the Pilates Reformer supports the back while strengthening the core. 

How to strengthen the core and the back

No matter the cause of your low back pain, strengthening the core and improving posture will help reduce pain. Pilates teaches us how to recruit the deep stabilising muscles that support our joints and keep us in good alignment. Pilates teaches us how to find and feel the core and how to switch it on and off. Once you have set up a strong, conscious pathway from the brain to the core it becomes so much easier. You can then work on strengthening the core and making sure the core supports the spine.

The breath

In Pilates we use the breath to bring sensory awareness to the core and how it functions. We apply simple breathing patterns and techniques, combined with movement to teach core control. We have specific breath patterns for each Pilates exercise and experienced Pilates teachers help each person to understand and use the patterns. Good Pilates teachers make sure you understand how the breathing pattern they have chosen for you can help to support, strengthen and challenge you and your bad back as you progress. People with bad backs will really benefit when they understand the key role that breath and core work play in their recovery. 

Posture and your bad back

Bad backs are often made worse by bad posture, too much sitting or both these common problems. Pilates can help your bad back by teaching you how to improve your posture, and how to strengthen the postural muscles. A strong core also helps you to find and maintain good posture. You can even strengthen your core and your posture while driving and Pilates at Turning tide Pilates can teach you how. The effect of too much sitting is to compress the spine and weaken the muscles that help the spine resist gravity. With Pilates unique approach the body is lengthened rather than compressed and muscles are strengthened in opposition to gravity.


Pilates Reformer and studio equipment has another super-power! Not only does the Pilates Reformer support your injured or painful area while strengthening you, Pilates Studio Equipment also has a unique way of stretching you so that muscle tightness is less after a Pilates session than after Gym work. There are often lots of tight muscles gripping on around the hips, back and legs, when we have back problems. Stretching the tight areas can be key to reducing pain and building strength and better alignment.

Pilates and your bad back

Pilates works to help you and your bad back by building your understanding as well as your core strength. Pilates Reformer work helps to align your posture, balance your strength, support injured areas and release muscle tightness. It is also a challenging and interesting workout for mind and body.


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