Pilates Exercise Takeaway - Mobilising the Thoracic Spine

These exercises focus on the midsection of your back, the thoracic spine, the section that rotates. 

Research has shown that manipulation to the thoracic spine can be beneficial for neck and shoulder pain.

Improving mobility at this crucial area of the spine can be helpful for a large group of orthopaedic complaints.

Take 15 to 20 minutes for yourself  
Get rid of all distractions and give yourself some me time in a calm quiet area. Perform the exercises gently and stop if it feels painful or too uncomfortable.

This pilates takeaway is designed for anyone who attends my all abilities or postnatal pilates classes.

Seated Spine Twist

1. Sit upright on the floor. (imagine you are sitting straight against a wall)
Keep your legs straight in front of you hip-width apart with your feet flexed.

 An option is to sit on a block.

An option is to sit on a block.

2. With your arms stretched out in front of you inhale as you exhale twist from the waist to the right, letting your arms swing down by your side.

pilates-seated-spine-twist-2

3 .Inhale and come back to the starting position, exhale and twist to the left.

Repeat five times on each side alternating between them.
Tip - Do not force the movement, turn as far as you can feel a stretch. Be careful not to lean back.
 

 

Chest Opener

1. Lie on your side with your legs bent, an option is to place a cushion under your head to keep your head in line with your spine.

pilates-chest-opener-1

2. Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height with your palms together.

3. As you inhale lift your top arm towards the ceiling.

pilates-chest-opener-2

4. As you exhale rotate your body and take your arm down towards the floor behind you.
Look towards your hand. Do not force the movement, take your arm as far back as is comfortable for you.

5. As you inhale bring your arm up and as you exhale lower your arm to the starting position.

Repeat five times. 
Roll over and repeat five times on the other side.
Tip - Make your movements smooth and continuous.
 

 

Supine Twist 1

1. Lie on your back with your legs bent feet flat on floor.

2. Stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. (keep your shoulders down away from your ears)

pilates-supine-twist-1

3. As you Inhale, draw in your abdominal muscles and roll your knees to one side.
Don’t try to force your legs all the way to the floor.

4. As you exhale, use your abdominal strength to bring your legs back to the starting position, repeat on the other side.

Repeat five times on each side alternating between them.
Tip - Work at a slow and controlled pace.
 

 

Progression Supine Twist 2

1. Lift your legs to a tabletop position, so your knees are above your hips and your shins are parallel to the ceiling. An option is to place a soft ball or cushion between your knees, to engage your inner thighs.

pilates-supine-twist-2

2. Stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. (keep your shoulders down away from your ears)

3. As you Inhale, draw in your abdominal muscles and roll your knees to one side with control.

pilates-supine-twist-3

4. As you exhale, use your abdominal strength to bring your legs back to the starting position,  repeat on the other side. 

Repeat five times on each side alternating between them.
Tip - Draw your navel back towards your spine and push your lower back down into the mat as you bring your legs through the start position.
 

 

Finish with a full body stretch

Lengthen your legs along the mat and take your arms overhead to the mat behind you.

 

 
A man is as young as his spine is flexible.
— Joseph Pilates