I’ve been quoted many times over the years saying, ‘It’s all about intensity!’ but sometimes it’s important to relax, open up the body and stretch.
The cat-cow is a simple exercise that goes between a back stretch and a back extension. It can decrease lower back pain and is a great tool in pilates to help find neutral spine.
Start in a four point kneeling position, with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. Your toes can either be curled under or over depending on comfort. Your back should be flat.
- Engage your abdominals by lifting your belly button up to support your spine.
- Slowly roll your back to the ceiling whilst pulling your abdominals in and dropping your head and tailbone to the floor to go into cat stretch. Hold for 2-5 secs.
- From here reverse the curve of the spine by bringing your belly button down to the floor, lifting the head up and sticking your butt back going into spinal extension or cow pose. Support your neck and don’t let your head drop back. Hold for 2-5 secs
- Go from cat to cow as desired. The mid range between the two movements will put you in neutral spine.
Inhale to prepare. Exhale as you go into cat, getting all the air out of your lungs. Inhale as you go into cow poking the chest out and filling the lungs up with as much air as you can. Nice full deep breaths.
Start out with 10-20 repetitions and adjust to your desire.
In Cat stretch take it further by imagining your head connecting to your pelvis creating a big circle.
A great stretch to do with kids with an optional ‘meow’ at the top of the movement in cat and optional ‘moo’ at the bottom of the movement in cow.
Aaron Smith is the CEO & Founder – KX Group. KX is a boutique fitness company with 17 studios across Melbourne and Sydney, offering dynamic pilates, barre and yoga. KX also run international retreats to Vanuatu and Bali.
Model: Pia Muehlenbeck
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