The Pilates exercise “Chest Lift” can be used to increase mobility in your upper back, help correct a forward head posture and reduce tension in your neck that may lead to headaches. Follow these steps to perform the exercise and with regular practice, you will notice a difference in your posture.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor – keep a neutral spine. Place your hands behind your head, elbows pointed toward the ceiling and gently press your head into your hands to create more length through the back of your neck. Inhale.
Exhale, nod your chin gently toward your chest and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor by engaging your abdominals. Imagine the movement beginning with your sternum and your head and neck just follows along without tension.
Inhale, staying lifted and sweep your arms toward the ceiling and down to your thighs.
Exhale and lift your shoulder blades a little higher off the floor – your eye gaze is looking between your thighs as you keep your spine/neck lengthened by keeping your chin down – be mindful to not jut your chin forward.
Inhale, continuing to stay lifted, and bring your hands back behind your head.
Exhale and lower back down – shoulders first, then your neck, and the head last.
Repeat 4 more times.
Chest Lift is a wonderful Pilates mat exercise that builds a strong foundation of strength. Once you have mastered this, you are ready for more advanced exercises! Achieving improved strength and better movement quality comes with regular practice and consistency – keep up the great work!
*NOTE: If you have neck pain, maintain your hands behind your head for support. Do not perform this exercise if you have Osteoporosis or are in the late stage of pregnancy.