How I beat Back Pain with Pilates: Week 7

Monday – Didn’t do homework. Lazy and bad, I know. No excuses.

Tuesday – Came back from London – did my homework in the evening after a nap, as I was exhausted. Still have bruised ribs on left side, still have bad left wrist. Tried to increase the pace a little of the homework, taking shorter rests – if at all – between exercises.

Wednesday – Ass-whoopin’ from the Reformer! Check the video below…

  • My body was apparently much straighter on the leg-work series warming up.
  • 100 – felt stronger but have to pay extra attention to my inner-thigh connection; by softening the knees and not rotating my legs outwards too much. It’s very easy for my legs to outward rotate, but that makes it harder to engage the inner thighs and glutes, firing up the piriformis instead.
  •  Teasers on the box – really hard with the added ‘shaving the head’ move. Just couldn’t do it! Tried and tried and tried. Nothing. Just felt like I had nothing to push with! Really difficult. Still need to get my lat connection when doing it on the box. Doing it on the floor feels much sturdier. I tend to confuse my lat connection with having a straight back and pulling the shoulders back (see video above). But really your lats can be engaged with a c-curve in your back/abs, and with a slight rounding of the shoulders. Still got a long way to go before teasers on the box are strong and stable.
  •  Short box series –  this was using the box on the carriage again, but this time with my feet hooked into a strap. The idea was to lower my body backwards, off the box, and lift it back up again, by curling the abdominals. It was quite difficult, but I could manage it. Not too much coordination to think about. Then did a similar move, but this time keeping the torso straight, hinging from the pelvis, whilst holding the pole up above your head! Felt my right teres-minor stretching big time when Amy pointed out that my arms and shoulders were not level – It still needs to be stretched and strengthened. Then the same move with the pole, but with an added twist from the upper back. That felt really tight in my lower area of my left trap, both directions.
  • Then we did the ‘Tree’, on the short box. Probably the scariest move of the class. Stretches your hamstrings really deep, and was quite scary due to the amount of flexion going through my lower back. I was pulling my abs in for dear life, and everything turned out OK!
  •  Side splits on the Reformer – this felt surprisingly good. I understood the position the pelvis should be in, the engaging of the glutes and core together, and this exercise felt really good.
  •  The Chair! Oh I want one for Christmas. This piece gets the better of me every time, and yet it’s so simple! Stepping-up was first – still really hard to keep my butt and hips in line and stand up straight. Really hard. I’m thinking that everyday this week I am going to try and do isometric contractions in the starting position, as I have a box in my room that is the same height. I still have to push off my straight left leg, when trying the exercise on my right leg. My left leg was much better this time, though.
  •  Then we tried a similar exercise, but side on, like side splits on the Reformer, using the same muscles, but it was practically impossible on the Chair. So, so hard. No leverage, no nothing! I could do it with my hips swung out, but that’s cheating and is not the exercise. Put me in my place, again!


  • I am up to 3 sets of 3 reps for my teasers. I want to throw in ‘shaving the head’, too, so next week I might have a hope at completing one rep on the long-box!
  • I will try out the isometric chair contractions and see if it helps for next week.
  • I am going to try and keep the pace brisk for my homework series, and really strive for perfection on the 100! I’m going to continue to stretch and stabilise my right teres-minor muscle and continue to practice my lat connection – how? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll come up with something!

Check out Week 8 to see my if my homework experiments paid off or not!


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