I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

In my weekly lessons (mostly on the Reformer because I am obsessed), Karen Frischmann has been encouraging me to reach my legs/thighs long and away from my center.

At first I admit I had no idea what she was talking about.

It was not until months later in the midst of the Overhead on the Reformer that I understood.

I am my own Spine Corrector.

Over time, using the entire Pilates system, the gifts we receive from each of the various apparatus get built right into our bodies.

How nice.

It's no secret that the firm support of all the apparatus act as a template for the shape of our backs: lying down on the Mat, Cadillac and Reformer; upright and tall along the Electric Chair and Arm Chair.

But what about the round apparatus? Surely they are our teachers too.

31 Days of the Hundred

March MATness 2016 coaxed me to get up close and personal with my Pilates Mat exercises.

In the Hundred, figuring out how to maintain the length and strength of my back despite my legs reaching lower became one of my pet projects for March (and beyond, evidently).

A noble pursuit.

I begin my Hundred lying down and lift everything into position.

Wherever I park my legs I can get the job done, but are they really connected to my center?

Perhaps not.

Enter the Spine Corrector.

I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

The Spine Corrector is an amazing apparatus that truly lives up to its name. With the opening and ‘correcting' of the spine, this apparatus also promotes an opening of the hips, thighs and shoulders.

Over time, the muscular action we cultivate in the Spine Corrector exercises will infiltrate the body.

And elsewhere in the system we've got numerous occasions to be our own Spine Corrector:

  • High Scissors and High Bicycle on the Mat
  • Other inverted exercises: The Overhead, Corkscrew, Control Balance
  • The Hundred and the Ab 5 on the Mat: Yes you are working your stomach, but there's a lot of hip opening and seat action to complement your abs of steel.

One clear example is the High Scissors and High Bicycle on the Mat.

We do the identical exercises on the Spine Corrector.

I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the HundredI am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

Now you see the Spine Corrector…and now you don't!

Or do you?

Now let's take that same idea and apply it to another inverted exercise, the Overhead:

I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

S-t-r-e-t-c-h those legs up and over the imaginary Spine Corrector behind you.

Now to the Hundred to look for length in the back by being our own Spine Corrector.

Perhaps the hardest of all…

I am my own Spine Corrector: How to Lower your Legs in the Hundred

I can use the same feeling in each of these examples: the same scoop of my stomach and I can imagine reaching my thighs and legs over the apparatus which is now imaginary.

An integral facet of our minds, imagination is a fantastic tool to control our muscles.

Romana Kryzanowska spoke about the 5 parts of the mind inherent in our Pilates workout:

Pilates is “Intelligence guided by the will using memory and imagination assisted by intuition.

You know how I feel about control.

The mind in charge of the body.

My favorite.

It is called ‘Spine Corrector

Remember the Spine Corrector is best at doing just what its name suggests. As it lengthens and balances our various curvatures, our lower body learns a new way of moving along the Spine Corrector.

And over time…you are your own Spine Corrector!

Give these tips a try in your next workout.

Questions? Leave me a comment and let's have a chat.

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  1. Awesome. Curious if you think this will help a client with roll up?

    Do you have tips for tight low backs?

    • Jodie,

      Yes!! On the Spine Corrector you are working the stomach fiercely which will open up the lower back. Also you are opening up the hips and thighs and working the bottom fiercely. If you see the client’s legs popping up off the mat, her thighs and hips are trying to help with the Roll Up. So yes, Spine Corrector exercises will work all the muscles to make the roll Up on the mat better. Great question!

      Tight low back can benefit from all the Pilates apparatus especially the Spine Corrector, but also the High Chair, the Reformer, the Cadillac, etc…hmmm this sounds like a blog post topic – tips for tight low backs 🙂 Let me know if your have more specific questions on this topic and I will see what I can do… 🙂
      And thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and questions here…

      • Thank you. Yes a blog post on this would be awesome. I am thinking it would also help when performing the bridge, etc (releasing tight back).

        I know for me no matter how I try my low back hinders me a lot when performing exercises.

        I just absolutely love your posts!

        • Yes, Pilates exercises definitely make one aware of tighnesses/strengths/weaknesses. I am a big fan of the information Pilates exercises gives us, but sometimes we might not like the info we receive LOL. I thank you for the post inspiration. I too have a tight back and I’m happy to share my strategies and thoughts on how to work effectively and find more length and strength in our backs 🙂 So stay tuned – and thank you thank you for your kind words about my posts. I have a fun time learning and writing and sharing them with Pilates teachers and enthusiasts around the world. Yay! Pilates everywhere!

  2. Another genius post Andrea!
    Off to share this lovely post 😉

    • Thank you Justine! Thanks in advance for sharing it and you are so sweet to use the word genius – Romana used to say if you learn 1 new thing each day you are a genius, so I have high hopes LOL. Cheers to you!

  3. Love this, Andrea! Thank you. Such a great post on using the apparatus well…and the Spine Corrector is such a useful little beast, no?!? Thanks for the tips and connections.

    • Hi there! I have heard you have been taking Skype lessons with Karen at Vintage? Yes? So happy for you! Maybe I will see you at one of the camps this year…please remind me – it would be lovely to have another “reunion”. What a great description that the Spine Corrector is “such a useful little beast” so true!! Often it is used for whatever rather than its intended purpose. But it is so golden at what it does best 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts here. xo

  4. Alessandra says

    Another great post indeed! I’ve recently been using my spine corrector almost daily having been inspired by your post on backbends (I’ve been delving into your archives!!)…and now here’s more for me to think about! Who knew spiney c could be so useful?!!????
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and ideas!! #rockon Andrea

    • Thank you so much Alessandra – so glad you found the other Spine Corrector post. Gosh I love that apparatus 🙂 I so appreciate your kind thoughts on the blog and thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts here!

      • Alessandra says

        Hey yes I’ve had some spare time over the holiday weekend so I’ve been swotting up on your Pilates talk???? So much to read!! I’ve posted a couple more comments on building a better back bend with spiney c and the two way stretch and Pilates anatomy… Both very informative and I couldn’t stop myself adding my musings from London ???????????? … Not sure if you can see them as they are older posts… Let me know if you can’t and I’ll re post…
        #rockon #pilatesgeeksunite ????????❤️

        • Thank you for letting me know about your comments on older posts – but I’ve got them all now 🙂 #pilatesgeeksunite #ishallrockonindeed

  5. Hi Andrea
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your enthusiasm!! ???????? It would be great to have tips for tight low backs. Thank you Dolores

    • You got it Dolores – I have plenty of posts and info on lengthening the back. So glad you find the posts to be helpful 🙂 Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts here!

  6. Found it ????????Strategies for a Tight Low Back: Getting to the Bottom of It

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