Tight Low Back? Try This Pilates Cadillac Exercise

Rather than asking who has experienced low back tightness before, I should really poll "who hasn't". Fewer virtual hands will go up. Muscle tightness or even spasm is, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence these days. It can come on suddenly and range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Who knows what caused it, all you know is that you want it to stop!

90/90 on the Trapeze Table is fantastic for releasing a low back that's in spasm. The gentle traction provided by the springs allows the muscles around your hip joints to release and your psoas gets a break holding your body upright.  Due to the psoas's attachment on the inside of the lumbar spine,  you'll feel the release in the muscles that attach to that area: QL, erector spinae, lats, as well as the thoracolumbar fascia.

This position also helps reduce muscle guarding- which is the body's attempt at protecting you from further injury by tensing your muscles. 

Once you're in the position, all you have to do is breathe deeply and imagine all tension is melting away, like ice melting, and dissolving into the ground. Aahhh!

Don't have a Cadillac? Try Constructive Rest Position on the mat or on the Spine Corrector instead. You won't have the traction I described, but lying supine and positioning your hip and knee joints in a supported, passive 90-degree position, helps take the pressure off the lumbar spine as well.

It's important to remember that once you return to your usual movement patterns, the spasm might return. It's important to follow up with active exercises that improve your patterning so you won’t retrigger the spasms. 

The setup might look confusing, but don't worry! In the Pilates Encyclopedia, we describe it in full detail so you'll know exactly what to do. We also look at every detail, from head to toe, to help you or your student get the maximum benefit.

Join today to check it out and see a video.


The exercise links within the text will lead you directly to the Pilates Encyclopedia member area.  If you're not a member yet, today's a great day to start your membership


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