The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pilates can help alleviate any discomfort associated with the lower back. In most cases of a ‘bad back’ one is advised by a professional to strengthen the abdominal muscles because it’s the key to proper alignment of the spine.


This exercise warms up the body with breath and movement. After its completion one should feel warmth around the heart area.

Preparation: Lie on your back. Feel the contact between the spine and the floor and ensure that is maintained throughout. Your spine now feels long and open. The arms are placed alongside the body with the palms facing down, flat on the mat. The legs are folded with the kneecaps facing the ceiling and the feet placed flat on the mat. Using the powerhouse, bring your chin into your chest. Do not lift the upper body higher than the base of the shoulder blades.

Action: Pull the powerhouse tightly into your lower back. Inhale slowly through the nose for five counts while pumping your arms up and down. Remember the arms are rigid like a hammer pounding a nail. Exhale slowly through the nose for five counts as well, and continue to pump the arms up and down just as before. Keep the powerhouse pulled in and the arms straight. Keep only the arms and shoulders involved in the movement. Repeat the cycle until you have counted 100 in one go. Relax thereafter.

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