5 Easy Pilates Stretches That’ll Finally Sort Out Your Stiff Upper Back

Bliss included.


Susan Barrett |

If you’re like me and suffer the occasional bout of back stiffness and tightness, you’ll know that it makes even the simplest task seem monstrously daunting – leaning over the basin to brush your teeth just got serious – never mind bigger deals like bending down to pick up a sock. Or dropped toast. Peanut butter side down.

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But luck was on my side when the latest back attack hit last week. I’m smack in the middle of a three-month #WHGetsFit winter fitness challenge – and my “sport” of choice is… Pilates. The exercise mecca of alignment and stretching. And bliss obvs.

Pilates Stretches For The Pain

So when my next sesh rolled around and I basically had to be rolled in, I politely begged Pilates Goddess Terry Goodman for some stretches to ease the eina. She obliged. And guys, I swear, these work, so give them a try.

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These moves target your upper back. They’re super-easy and you can do them at home while you half-watch “My Kitchen Rules” or even catch up with Ma on speaker phone. Note: I’m talking about muscular discomfort here – if you feel like your ouch is an actual spinal problem, rather check in with your doc before twisting yourself into a position that could make it worse.

1. Thread The Needle Without Movement

2: Thread The Needle With Movement

 3: Diagonal Shell Stretch

 4: Extended Puppy/Shoulder Stretch

 5. Spinal Rotation

I’d recommend doing a couple of reps of each every morning. You can do them individually, or string them into your own sequence. Whatever works for you. Your back with thank you.

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