The Pilates Short Spine Massage. The solution to a stubborn and arrogant back, and unyielding spine. Get a flexible back through segmental spinal massage and articulation.
“We are as healthy as our spine!”
Do you trust this old saying? I can tell you, it is true. But don’t believe me, try it for yourself. I do work for a spine as flexible and pliable as a branch of a tree because when my back gets inflexible, I feel that it places stress on my pelvis and neck. Yes, when I do not train my spine to be flexible, my pelvis and neck are getting rigid and brittle–like and are prone to injuries.
It could happen like this. Imagine, it is a beautiful summer day, you are happy and glee. You are going for a stroll, wearing your recently bought sunglasses and for some reason, you are feeling like the king or queen of the world. You see 100 € on the street, and as you bend down … wham bam! Your back went into a muscular spasm. You can’t move. You are in pain! Sad, isn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
What actually happens when we bend down?
The workings of our body in flexion
The geometrical function of flexion, in this case bending, is stored phylogenetically in our nervous system. Bending simply consists of the flexor muscles of our torso – our DMCS – which are contracting concentrically to lengthen and then flex our torso. Simultaneously our extensors are releasing to allow our flexors to bend. But, when there is a geometric malfunction in the process of flexion, both our flexors and extensors are competing for the same task of flexion, which can only be done by our flexors.
But as with many things in life, we can also train to bend correctly. How? I will show you now!
Preventative rescue for our spine
The Short Spine Massage is a Pilates reformer exercise designed to release tension in our back, especially our upper back. We facilitate dynamic stability by segmentally articulating our spine in a closed-kinetic-chain concept.
Well, enough theory … let’s do it!
Lie on your back on the carriage of the reformer. Bend your legs, bring them in a diamond shape and keep your pelvis in a neutral pelvic position.
Breathe in to prepare. Then as you breathe out activate your power engine to extend your legs out of and away from your torso to a level in which you can still maintain pelvic stability. Breathe in and move your legs a little towards your torso. Breathe out and activate your ABC principle
A – power engine
B – shoulder girdle towards pelvis
C – chin tucked in
in order to lift your legs, pelvis and spine over your head until your legs are parallel to the carriage. Breathe in, bend your legs and bring them into the diamond shape without moving your pelvis. Then as you breathe out melt your clavicle area and activate your ABC to place your spine and pelvis segmentally back onto the carriage.
The coaching keys
Support yourself mentally. Put the following thoughts in your head while you do the Short Spine Massage.
- I lengthen my legs and torso before I engage my power engine.
- I keep grounding my feet onto the straps while I bring my legs over my head.
- I keep my pelvis and legs connected as I bring my legs over my head.
- I keep my sitting bones grounded to the sky – as leverage – when I segmentally lower my spine to the carriage.
Now, let’s watch the Short Spine Massage in action in the video below. Before you go to train use the video to practice the coaching keys. Empower yourself with mental training! Click now, enjoy and learn.
Where to sense the Short Spine Massage?
As you bring your legs over your head aim at experiencing a tight and compact feeling in your
- back of your legs
- ribcage and
- shoulder girdle.
As you place your pelvis and spine back on the carriage, aim at experiencing a
- melting sensation in your clavicle area
- sucking-in sensation at your pubic bone area
- vertical thrust of your spine and
- stretching sensation at your sitting bone area.
The difficulty in understanding this exercise lies in the perceptive and proprioceptive realm. Instead of thinking of doing, think of sensing, grounding and placing your body as a whole unit. Allow the work of your power engine, the reflective momentum, and your common sense to save the day;)
Try it & fly with it!
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