Inner Strength Pilates' new video demonstrates the Sphynx for Improved Posture

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Poor upper body posture doesn’t have to be a problem, insists leading Australian Pilates coach Tamara Gollan. Not if you’re aware of the Sphynx exercise anyway; which she goes on to demonstrate in her new four minute long video.

Improve posture with Pilates

Pilates teaches back exercises to improve posture

It's not only mothers of young children who can benefit from this Pilates exercise.

This simple exercise, outlined in her new blog post entitled Upper Back Exercise Video Called The Sphynx, prevents the dreaded and extremely unflattering hunchback posture which develops through constantly bending the upper back. The exercise demonstrated in the video works by strengthening muscles in the upper back area – particularly the rhomboids and lats.

Former professional dancer Gollan herself who has recently given birth to a baby boy says she’s personally found the exercise useful.

“My little boy is only three weeks old,” she said. “And what I'm finding is that with all the breastfeeding, lifting and carrying I’ve been doing my back tends to be in a rounded position a lot of the time. And indeed all those activities I’ve just mentioned gives you the kind of posture that, if continued, can definitely make you get round through the upper back.

“But of course it’s not only mothers of young children who can benefit from this exercise I demonstrate on the video Adelaide Pilates Upper Back Exercise. It’s also excellent for the millions of people out there who have a desk job and who sit day in day out in front of a computer for hours at a time. And, of course, our love of technology doesn’t help. If we’re not in front of a computer then we’re bending over an iPad screen at home.

“On the surface this may look like an extremely simple exercise but it really is wonderful at helping to open up the chest via the collar bone and in doing so is brilliant for stretching the back muscles.”

Firstly, before performing the exercise it’s necessary for anyone carrying out the instructions to place a mat or blanket down on the floor. A rolled up towel or jumper makes a good pillow for the head and will help with the important aspect of neck alignment.

The next step is to lie down on the stomach, resting the forehead on the makeshift pillow in order to maintain the body in a straight line and, and the same time, ensure the neck remains relaxed. The elbows should be lying slightly lower than the shoulders and the toes splayed out at a right angle. The toes should then be joined together but the heels allowed to face away from each other – in this way the legs and bottom manage to remain in a very relaxed position.

The next step in this exercise is to inhale then, on the exhalation, engage the core while at the same time making sure the shoulders slide away from the ears. At this point squeeze the shoulder blades together and lift the hands, all the time stretching through the fingertips. Breathe in once more and relax forward.

In summary Gollan says: “Really, the first step is to slide the shoulder blades down, the second is attempting to squeeze them together and the third step involves simply lifting. All three steps take place on the exhalation. To finish inhale completely, relax and shrug your shoulders forward.”

For those who want to make the exercise a little more challenging, Gollan suggests picking up some hand weights such as half a kilo or one kilo.

To discover more about the increasingly popular exercise of Pilates, together with Barre and Reformer classes, then take a look at Gollan’s website. This lists the company’s three studios – all of which can be found in Adelaide’s King William Road.

The website also allows visitors to peruse different types of classes then sign up straight away online. However Gollan and some of the other Pilates coaches are also available to chat over any worries or provide advice on the best type of class to attend. A class timetable provides a range of dates and times to fit in with most busy lifestyles.

On arriving at the studio, every client is given a personal one-to-one assessment and provided with a tailored programme designed to help them achieve their own individual exercise goals. Further information, exercise tips and regular updates can all be found on the company’s Facebook pages and Google+ accounts.

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Tamara Abdilla

Tamara Abdilla
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