Please extend a warm welcome to Spiral Spine Pilates’ newest teacher, Whitney Etheridge! Whitney has returned home to Nashville after teaching Pilates in New York for many years. She is a fully certified Pilates instructor who received her training from the Kane School of Core Integration in NYC (where I also received my training). In addition, Whitney holds a level 1 and 2 Reiki certification from MINKA School for Healing Arts and Sciences and is a classically trained ballet dancer. Whitney has worked with many different body types and conditions but has developed a specialty in working with clients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders. Read her blog below, her full bio, and check out her schedule at the Spiral Spine. We are thrilled that Whitney has joined Spiral’s team.
During my career as a dancer, I accrued several lumbar spine and pelvic injuries. During the years when I taught Pilates in New York City, a majority of my clients came in with low back pain, whether from scoliosis, disc and spinal issues, hyper-mobility, neurological diseases, etc. I saw it all. So as someone who lived in intense pain for many years with no real help or guidance from doctors, I found immense joy in helping my clients finally find a way out of their pain.
Here are three of my favorite exercises to give in my sessions, and don’t worry, they all have multiple modifications.
Bumpy Ball Curls
Everyone knows that feeling when “crunches” make your neck uncomfortable. The bumpy ball makes this a game changer. Placing the ball under your mid to low thoracic spine (think tips of the shoulder blades) makes a “crunch” or upper curl a success. The ball gives your body tons of proprioception, loosens up your thoracic spine and helps teach your body how to move your rib cage into flexion. Plus, the thoracic extension over the ball at the end of the exercise is an awesome reward that everyone needs.
“Love-hate relationship.” When I hear this phrase I’m pretty sure someone is talking about bridging. But guess what? I always bridge in my sessions! A Pilates bridge is going to strengthen the glutes, increase the flexibility of the hip flexors, and build core strength. Yes, please. A Pilates bridge is the reverse of sitting, so bridge if you sit! I meet new clients all the time that feel bridging isn’t for them or that it gives them a terrible feeling in their low back. These clients are usually bridging incorrectly, to no fault of their own. Helping clients into the proper placement to successfully bridge is one of my favorite things. They love it, I love it, and your glutes will love it.
Side planks are a great way to work several core principles of Pilates with one move. You’ll strengthen your entire core, all of your abs (hello obliques), shoulder girdle, and glutes all together. Another bonus muscle they work is the QL (quadratus lumborum), which is a deep spinal stabilizing muscle that can help protect the back from injury. Side planks also don’t put any pressure on the low back and will improve your balance and coordination. Pretty fabulous right?
I can’t wait to show you these, and many more exercises, in the studio!