During the holidays we perform a good amount of lifting, bending, twisting, pulling, pushing and reaching. We feel like Santa carrying around heavy bags, we dig out our favorite boxes of decorations, balance on our step stool as we rise up on our tippy toes to place our Christmas tree topper on the 7 foot tree, and hide gifts on the top shelf at the back of our closets. (Phew!)
Add in cooler weather temperatures, and we have a recipe for back pain and injury. How does Santa do this every season!? We’d like to think he prepares all year with Pilates exercises to strengthen his core and body... he definitely does.
Around 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the top causes of disability in the U.S. The good news is that back pain is preventable!
You guessed it, the answer to that aggravating pain is Pilates! We totally understand that you probably aren’t going to your Pilates class right before your make your holiday shopping and gift giving rounds, so we want to share with you an exercise that you can do on your own at home to increase your core strengthen and prevent back pain.
THE PILATES PLANK
Proper form is key. So let us break down your proper Pilates plank pain prevention plan. (Say that 10 times fast!) There are many things to think about when executing a plank. Here are a few points to focus on:
1) Lengthen your tailbone towards heels
2) Maintain lower body stability by planting your feet or knees hip width distance apart
3) Maintain upper body stability by placing your arms or elbows shoulder-width distance apart. (Shoulders over wrist with the elbows pointing out to the sides)
4) Engage your upper back muscles and imagine pushing the floor away. (Our director says, "puff up into your back.”)
5) Engage your core and quads
6) Create a plank with a nice, straight back, instead of one that sags (avoid dipping in your low back because that causes pain)
7) Most importantly BREATHE!
8) Hold your plank for 10 seconds and then work up to 1 minute.
Happy Holiday Planking!
Quick Note: Doing the exercises incorrectly can aggravate your back, so we encourage you to seek out a Pilates instructor. Looking for an instructor? Pilates at Nolte offers free intro Pilates sessions, so always feel free to make an appointment with us. Our certified instructors are happy to assist you on your health and wellness journey! Pilates instructors teach the Pilates Method which reiterates proper techniques to avoid the “holiday back pain blues.”