Stories from Pilates Workouts

The Resistance Band Pilates Series That Works Your Back and Core Like None Other

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerMarch 21, 2020

If you’ve been cycling through your fair share of at-home workouts lately, chances are your abs, glutes, and arms are feeling the burn. But one spot you want to be sure not to leave out? Your back, which is important to strengthen all the time, but especially when you might be hunched over in a less-than-ideal work from home situation for days on end.

This workout uses a resistance band (though, if you don’t have one, you can swap in some free weights) to open your back and build strength so that you’ll be able to sit up straight all day long. The moves also work your core, which you’ll want to keep engaged while you’re sitting for bettered posture. Cycle through these four Pilates back exercises at the beginning or end of every work session to help your whole body feel some relief.

Try these Pilates back exercises

1. Seated row: Start sitting up on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet flexed. Wrap the band around the soles of your feet, and hold each end in your hands. Pull your naval toward your spine and roll your shoulders back to ensure proper form. Squeeze your elbows as you drive them all the way back into a row, pause, and release. Keep your arms narrow to your sides and be sure to keep your neck relaxed and spine straight the entire time. Do 10 reps, and repeat for up to three sets.

2. Wide seated row: Seated in the same position, cross your band in front of you. Keep your elbows upright, and pull your arms back into a wide row. Hold at the top, squeezing your muscles. Do 10 reps, and repeat for up to three sets.

3. Roll up, roll down abs: In the same position (sitting with your legs straight out in front of you and the band wrapped around your feet), uncross the band and hold the ends in each hand. Roll down slowly, one vertebrae at a time until you are flat on the mat. Then roll back up slowly, using the strength from your abdominal wall to pull you. Do 10 reps, and repeat for up to three sets.

4. Plank with resistance leg raise: Start in a high plank, holding the handles of the band and placing one foot through the loop. Raise your leg to pull against the resistance band, then lower it down slowly. Keep your back straight and core engaged the entire time. To modify, simply hold the plank. Do 10 reps on your left side, then 10 on your right, and switch.

Combine this back and abs series with a Pilates-based glutes workout for a full-body burn, or try this at-home megaformer workout that’s just as good as the one you’d get on a machine.

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