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How to Do the Spine Stretch Forward in Pilates

Learn how to do the Pilates mat exercise spine stretch forward from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


This is spine stretch forward. So after the abdominal series of five you'll rock up to seated. This is really the first official time we've come to seated and the reason why is that in Pilates you start lying down on the mat so you have the most support from the mat and so that gravity works with you.

Now we're almost midway through class so you'll try to organize your body keeping all of that awareness while sitting up. In spine stretch forward the name suggests what the exercise will be, in this case we'll be stretching the spine forward rather then back.

We begin by extending the legs long in front and open the legs mat width apart or a little bit wider then the mat width apart. So Madeline will bring her heels to the moon box. Now lift your arms up here shoulder height and we'll inhale to prepare, then exhale curl the chin towards the chest as you reach forward, then inhale stack the spine right back up to seated.

Again inhale lift tall out of your sit bones, exhale round forward and inhale come back up to seated. That's it hold it here for a second Madeline. So the position of the spine is different then rolling like a ball, is different then roll up, it's a straight back your not in a c-curve so you'll feel your sit bones the bones of your seat on the mat for this one.

Let's do one more inhale lift tall out of the waist, exhale crease forward at the breast bone. As she rounding forward she's lifting in and up through the waist just like you and stack the spine right back up here. Inhale, exhale last time round forward lift tall up out of the waist the spine forward, then exhale build the spine up one vertebrae at a time like you're stacking it against a wall and lower your hands down for a second.

So if it's hard for you to sit up straight with legs outstretched you can bend your knees to soften them up off the mat a little bit until you can bring your spine up to a straight position. Then lift your arms and you can perform the exercise this way. That's our spine stretch forward.

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