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Pilates Exercises to Get an Arch in Your Back

author image Aubrey Bailey
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.
Pilates Exercises to Get an Arch in Your Back
Pilates exercises improve posture and increase flexibility. Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

If you slouch a lot, there's a good chance your back is rounded. This position puts more stress on your spine and the muscles in your back and shoulders. Pilates exercises can help you get an arch in your back.

Remember to use lateral breathing -- expanding your ribcage sideways as you breathe in -- and keep your abdominal muscles tight throughout these exercises.

Read more: Exercises to Correct Kyphotic Posture

Perform Pilates exercises on a firm but padded surface.
Perform Pilates exercises on a firm but padded surface. Photo Credit RobertoDavid/iStock/Getty Images


The Pilates swan exercise strengthens muscles that arch your back. As an added benefit, this exercise also stretches muscles that are frequently tight in your chest and shoulders.

Step 1

Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and toes pointed. Bend your elbows and place your hands underneath your shoulders.

Step 2

Press the front of your pelvis and tops of your feet into the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button back toward your spine. Maintain this hold throughout the exercise.

Step 3

Slowly breathe in and lift your head and neck off the mat. Continue lifting your chest, ribs and belly off the mat as you straighten your arms. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together.

Step 4

As you exhale, slowly lower back down in the opposite order -- belly, ribs, chest and finally your head. Repeat up to five times with perfect form.

Pilates swimming utilizes movements typically performed in water.
Pilates swimming utilizes movements typically performed in water. Photo Credit magann/iStock/Getty Images


Pilates Swimming exercise improves your back arch while strengthening the back of your legs and shoulders.

Step 1

Lie on your belly with your legs straight and arms extended overhead. Lift your head off the ground.

Step 2

Lift your right leg and left arm off the ground simultaneously. Do not allow your back to rock to the side. Imagine you are balancing a glass of water on your low back throughout this exercise.

Step 3

Lower your leg and arm down and quickly raise your left leg and right arm off the ground. Continue lifting and lowering your opposite arm and leg as quickly as possible without moving your torso.

Step 4

Breathe in and out in a regular pattern. For example, breathe in for two lifts, then out for two lifts. Perform this exercise for six full breaths.

Tighten your core muscles before you perform the Shoulder Bridge.
Tighten your core muscles before you perform the Shoulder Bridge. Photo Credit McIninch/iStock/Getty Images

Shoulder Bridge

The Shoulder Bridge exercise can be modified to your current fitness level. If needed, use your arms to help support your pelvis until your strength improves.

Step 1

Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms resting at your sides. Tighten your abdominal muscles.

Step 2

Press down through your heels and lift your tailbone off the ground. Lift your pelvis and then your spine. Continue lifting until only your shoulder blades are in contact with the ground.

Step 3

Maintain the bridge position and slowly lift one leg off the ground. Inhale, straighten your knee and lift your leg straight up until it is perpendicular to the ground.

Step 4

Exhale and lower your straight leg down as far as possible, or until it is a few inches from the ground. Be sure to maintain your bridge position throughout this movement.

Step 5

Inhale and lift your leg as previous until it's pointed straight up toward the ceiling. Lift and lower your leg for five breaths, then switch and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Read more: 10 Surprising Benefits of Pilates

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