Pink Lady® Core series 6 - poor back posture
Pink Lady® has once again teamed up with Pilates instructor and certified personal trainer, Jane Linden-Brown, the creator of Pink Lady® Core. In this new Pink Lady® Core series, Jane explores how functional fitness can combat those everyday strains.
After identifying three physical strains we all experience, Jane brought forward her sixteen years’ worth of knowledge and expertise to provide Pilates exercises to help overcome everyday challenges.
Why functional fitness?
With strength often mistaken for bulging muscles and lifting large weights, it’s easy to assume that you need to hit the gym to build up muscle to help your core. Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by stimulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. These exercises engage your core and body weight through low-impact workouts that engage your muscles in an efficiently strong but gentle way, requiring you to use new breathing techniques and movements that truly re-shape your body.
How to combat poor back posture
If you work in an office, sit at a desk all day or spend quite a lot of time gazing at your phone, you may slouch causing back pain. Make your long days more comfortable with the following exercises from Jane to help improve your posture.
Exercise one: Chest openers
This exercise lengthens the muscles that are commonly tight due to poor posture. If the chest and shoulder muscles are excessively tight they can contribute towards pulling the upper body forwards. Over time this can lead to over-lengthening and weakening of the middle and upper back muscles.
1. Place the foam roller lengthways on the mat, then with your feet parallel on the ground, lie your back and head carefully onto the foam roller. Raise both your arms straight towards the ceiling.
2. Open your arms away from each other, slowly lowering your arms in line with your shoulders straight towards the floor with your palms facing towards the ceiling. Feel a stretch across your chest as you breathe in. Exhale and lift your arms back to the start position. Repeat five or six times.
3. Next, bend your elbows to create a wide W shape with your arms. Keeping the backs on your hands on the floor, straighten your arms above your head, feeling the healthy stretch across your chest and shoulders.
4. Return to the start position again, keeping your hands on the floor. Repeat four times before raising your arms straight towards the ceiling.
5. Lower your arms slowly and rest.
Exercise two: Back bends over a foam roller
Back bends over a foam roller or ball improves the mobility of the thoracic spine to move backwards. This ability of the spine to move backwards is reduced with age, but it can also be reduced due to a modern-day posture.
1. Place your foam roller horizontally across the top of your mat. With your feet parallel on the ground, lie back with the foam roller level with your shoulder blades supporting your upper body, while using your hands to support your head.
2. Slowly and gently bend your upper spine over the roller without tipping your head back or lifting your chin. Let your hands to support your head. Use the strength of your tummy muscles to support your spine and try to keep your lower back still.
3. Exhale and use your abdominals to curl back up to your starting position.
4. Slowly repeat four times and then rest.
Exercise three: Swan
The swan strengthens the back extensors and deep middle back muscles which are often under-utilised and weakened due to bad posture.
1. Place your foam roller horizontally across the top of your mat. Gently lie with your front on the mat.
2. Place your arms above your head with your palms resting on the foam roller.
3. Tuck your pelvis under and lift your chest gently from the floor letting the roller support your arms as you pull it towards you, stopping at your fingertips. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position and try to open your chest and shoulders.
4. Gently roll back to your palms, lowering your chest, repeat four times and then rest.
Want to learn more ways to overcome our everyday aches and pains? Stay tuned for more functional fitness with Pink Lady® Core.