Pilates For Back Pain: 5 Effective Exercises For Relief – NEW YORK PILATES Skip to content

Pilates For Back Pain: 5 Effective Exercises For Relief

Back pain is a prevalent issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a major vibe killer for the daily grind and overall happiness. Whether you’ve dealt with a twinge here and there or straight-up chronic backache, it’s time to find a long-lasting solution to live that pain-free and active lifestyle you deserve and that solution is Pilates.

This powerhouse practice not only helps you keep back pain at bay but also brings some sweet relief to existing discomfort. If you’re ready to boost that spine, we have five of the best Pilates exercises for back pain that target and strengthen those muscles supporting your back.


With a sequence of badass, coordinated moves, Pilates aims to conquer those core muscles – think abs, back, and pelvis. By toning these muscles, Pilates enhances your posture, makes your spine happy, and reduces the chance of back pain or injury. And one of the primary culprits of back pain is poor posture. Blame it on a sedentary lifestyle and endless sitting sessions.

But don’t worry, because Pilates is here to the rescue. It’s all about boosting your body awareness, and alignment, and nailing that perfect posture. Just take a peek at our exercise list and see for yourself! Pilates has got your back, quite literally!


If you need to use Pilates for lower back pain, pelvic tilts are for you. They’re perfect for targeting the lower back and enhancing pelvic mobility. As a bonus, they give those core muscles a gentle workout without putting stress on your spine.

  1. Start by lying on your back, knees bent, and feet planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Position your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
  3. Take a nice, deep breath in and exhale while smoothly tilting your pelvis backward, pressing your lower back into the floor.
  4. Feel your abdominal muscles engage as your lower back arches just a tad.
  5. Take another breath in and exhale, bringing your pelvis back to its neutral position.
  6. Do 10-15 reps.


The cat-cow stretch is a fantastic way to use Pilates for upper back pain. It helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles along the front of the torso and provides a gentle extension for the spine. No matter your fitness level, this smooth and controlled stretch is sure to leave you relaxed and pain-free.

  1. To begin, get down on all fours in a tabletop position.
  2. Make sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.
  3. Now, take a deep breath in and arch your back, lifting your booty and head towards the sky, creating the “Cow” position.
  4. Let your belly drop towards the floor, opening up the chest, and activating those powerful core muscles.
  5. As you exhale, gracefully flow into the “Cat” pose by arching your back upwards.
  6. Gently draw your chin towards your chest, and tuck your belly button towards your spine.
  7. Effortlessly glide between the Cat and Cow poses, synchronizing your breath with each movement. Inhale as you transition into Cow, and exhale with finesse as you flow into Cat.
  8. Repeat this motion 10-15 times.


The bridging exercise is a supercharged Pilates move that hones in on your abs, glutes, and hamstrings. It doesn’t just make them stronger, it also amps up spinal flexibility and core stability. Think of it as giving your spine a tune-up, promoting great posture.

  1. Lie down on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Relax your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
  3. Now take a deep breath in and press those feet into the floor, while tightening those buns and core muscles.
  4. Slowly lift your hips off the mat, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  5. Remember, don’t over-arch your back, and keep your spine nice and neutral throughout the motion.
  6. Exhale as you gracefully lower your hips back down to the mat.
  7. Aim for 10-15 reps.


The spine twist flexes and fortifies the alluring muscles surrounding your backbone while also amping up your torso’s ability to move gracefully. This leads to less nagging back pain and a lot more flexibility.

  1. Sit up straight, legs out in front, flexed feet.
  2. Rest your hands gently on the sides of your head, elbows wide.
  3. Inhale, elongate your spine, like a string pulling you up from the top of your head.
  4. Exhale, twist your upper body to the right, leading from the waist.
  5. Let your ribcage rotate while keeping those hips grounded.
  6. Inhale and return to the center, then exhale and twist to the left.
  7. Keep the movement smooth and controlled as you feel your spine working it.
  8. Do this 8-10 times on each side.


This dynamic and challenging move is all about targeting the back, shoulder, glute, and hamstring muscles. Not only does it build their strength, but it also takes your coordination and posture game to a whole new level.

  1. Take a deep breath, lift your chest, arms, and legs off the mat all at once, while keeping your spine long and neutral.
  2. Now, shift your gaze downwards. Flutter-kick your legs and make those arms move forward and backward in small, controlled movements.
  3. Continue that swimming motion for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and synchronize your breath with each movement.
  4. Exhale as you pump your legs and move your arms forward.
  5. Inhale as you gracefully return to the starting position.


So, is Pilates good for back pain? Absolutely. We’re talking about powerful and holistic relief.

With these five moves, you’ll target your core, flexibility, posture, and body awareness to kick discomfort to the curb. Just make sure you’ve got a pro guiding you and stay committed to that practice.

Book a spot in our Pilates class today! Get ready to transform your life with a pain-free, active lifestyle that will leave you feeling oh-so-sexy and unstoppable.

Heather Andersen
Heather Andersen
Hello World! I’m Heather Andersen, the Founder of New York Pilates. My goal? To elevate Pilates into an accessible, fun, and kickass experience. My Pilates journey began back in high school, where I used Pilates as cross training as a pre professional ballet dancer. In 2006, I completed a mat Pilates certification from Balanced Body. A Gyrotonic certification soon followed, and then a 600-hour Pilates equipment certification from the Kane School. To delve deeper into anatomy, I studied with Irene Dowd, anatomy Guru who is the resident expert in the dance department at The Juilliard School. I launched the New York Pilates Pilates certifications in 2016 bringing my unique perspective to pilates training informed by my varied training background and my years of teaching and running a studio. I’m thrilled we have certified over 200 exceptional Pilates instructors through this program, who are spreading the pilates love in studios & gyms all over the globe. The impact of New York Pilates transcends workouts & reps. We teach people how to change not only bodies, but also lives.

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