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Pilates Foam Roller Exercises to Relax Your Back

Updated on August 4, 2010

Relieve Back Tension

There are two things I love to do with foam rollers to massage out my back. I’ll walk you through both- they’re incredibly simple and they feel GREAT!

Horizontal Rolling

Rolling from Side to Side

  1. Lie on your foam roller with the base of your scull anchored to one end and your sacrum anchored at the other end. To get a bit of abdominal work out of this more passive movement, keep your ribcage anchored to the foam roller as well- this will require subtle abdominal engagement.
  2. Bring your hands up so they reach toward the ceiling, then widen them so they are only just in your peripheral vision (this brings your arms into the most neutral position for your shoulder blades and allows you to relax your muscles a bit more).
  3. Widen your feet on the mat so they are not in line with your hips, but rather a bit off to each side.
  4. Roll from side to side using your feet, massaging out your back. Really target the space between your shoulder blades - focus on loosening it up.
  5. Remember to keep your ribcage anchored as you move, so that your back does not arch and you get some abdominal work from the exercise as you simultaneously relax your back muscles.

Vertical Rolling

Vertically Rolling Out Your Spine

  1. Place your foam roller on your mat so that it lies perpendicular to your spine.
  2. Lean back on the foam roller so it is just under your shoulder blades, supporting the base of your scull under your fingers so that you do not strain the front of your neck.
  3. Inhale, then exhale, engage your abdominals, and slightly bridge up, lifting your sacrum off the mat.
  4. Using your legs, roll out your back- from the base of your neck to just above your kidneys.
  5. When you are finished rolling, feel free to bring your sacrum back down to the mat, bring the foam roller back under you shoulder blades, and extend your spine over it to open up and stretch your chest muscles and thoracic spine.

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great tips. Once I get a foam roller to use for pi-yo, these exercises can help my back out. I use my dining room floor for my pi-yo practice.

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      The time issue ... so true, so true!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      It is a nice thing to have in-house!

      There are more portable Pilates things one can have in a house that can be easily packed away. There are lots of options! I think the hardest time is not finding space for doing Pilates, but rather finding time @_@

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Would love to have this in my home. Unfortunately my living space is so crowded and busy, there are barely space for a mouse. Starting to build up, (on top) next year. Perhaps I must include a small gym area!

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