Pilates Exercises To Improve Spinal Extension

teaching trunk + spine Sep 02, 2019

We spend a lot of our time rounding forward. Perhaps as we speak, you're rounding forward to get a better look at your screen. Very few activities in our daily lives require us to bend backward. But our spines want balance! That's why it's so important to spend time practicing spinal extension. 

Spinal extension is when we lengthen the spine upward and backward. The middle back, which is naturally curved backward, moves forward. This allows the front of the body to lengthen and stretch. 

It can be difficult, especially for new students, to find good extension. Pilates gives us many exercises that can help us practice this movement. Here are a few to get you started:


  • Dart
  • Swan
  • Swan Dive
  • Single Leg Kicks
  • Double Leg Kicks


  • Swan On Top
  • Swan From Floor


Spine Corrector
  • Reach
  • Seesaw
  • Swimming


Ladder Barrel
  • Dart
  • Swan
  • Swimming
  • Standing Back Bend
  • Bridging


  • Swan Facing Front
  • Swan Facing Back
  • Pulling Straps 


Trapeze Table/Tower
  • Swan


To learn each of these exercises and to see even more exercises that improve spinal extension, check out the Programming & Sequencing chapter of the Pilates Encyclopedia. You'll get videos and detailed instructions for each exercise!

Log in or start your membership today.


Subscribe to the blog via email

Get fresh content delivered straight to your inbox.


Stay In Touch

Enter your name and email address to receive all the latest news and updates from Pilates Encyclopedia.

By submitting the form below you agree to receive email communication from PE. You can opt-out at any time and your email address will never be shared.