I've recently started adding Pilates classes into my exercise routine, alongside my regular yoga and CrossFit classes. I find that the low-impact practice is very effective at strengthening smaller muscles in my body, which I often overlook during regular training sessions.
I came across the below video from physiotherapist and Pilates instructor Anabelen Aranton, sharing a move that's designed to strengthen the pelvic floor and reduce lower-back pain. As someone who regularly suffers with back pain after sitting at my desk all day, I decided it was worth giving this quick exercise a go.
It's a wall Pilates exercise, which means that you can use a surface to support you during the move. Other than this, the exercise doesn't require any equipment.
Watch Anabelen Aranton's Instagram Reel
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I did the exercise during the working day, after I'd been sitting down for a few hours and my hips and back were feeling stiff; I was hoping it would provide some relief.
I started by lying on my back with both legs up against the wall. Even in this starting position, I felt a satisfying stretch down both of my hamstrings and I also felt a release in my hips.
From there, I brought my knee towards my chest while keeping my foot on the wall and then slowly opened my leg to the side. I initially felt my leg dragging down the wall quite quickly, so I had to engage my core muscle to move with better control. I held the stretch for a few breaths and felt my hips open and pelvic floor engage while doing so.
After doing the exercise on both sides, I did notice that my hips felt less tight and my lower back was less achy.
However, I think I'd need to do this movement on a more regular basis to notice long-term improvements. I also think the movement was quite gentle, and while it did activate my pelvic floor and mobilize my hips, I'm not sure it provided any real strength benefits.
Need some cushioning for your floor-based stretches? Have a look at our guide to the best yoga mats
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Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.
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