The Pilates exercise Spine Stretch is excellent for increasing the mobility of the thoracic spine into flexion, while developing core strength, which stabilises the pelvis and lumbar spine during the movement.
When preparing for the exercise it is important to ensure you’re in “neutral spine” position. If sitting in this long sit position is uncomfortable and neutral spine can’t be maintained, the exercise can alternatively be performed sitting on a rolled up mat or cushion. You should feel like you are as light as a feather and hovering 1cm off the mat.
A nice variation is to find a Pilates buddy and perform the exercise back to back. Keeping the connection between the lumbar spine is the key to this and will really enable you to isolate the movement to the thoracic spine. Spine Stretch is a good foundation exercise to build on.
If you have osteoporosis in your thoracic spine or if you have an acute thoracic disc pathology, you should avoid this exercise. Talk to your physiotherapist or Pilates instructor about a suitable alternative exercise.
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