A Weak Back

By June Scharff

A student approached me after class one day and said, “I have a weak back, what should I do?” I said, “oh no, how long have you had that?” She said, “about a week back”. Bu-dump-pa!

Actually a weak back is no laughing matter. In order for muscles to strengthen they must be able to both contract and extend. If a muscle is chronically tight, it can become weak.


There are a couple of initial things to keep in mind if you realize your back is always tight. First, resist the urge to twist and stretch abruptly or with intensity. Depending on your condition, this possibly could cause more harm than good. The safest way to get your back muscles to release is from the inside. You can do this laying down, sitting or standing. Scoop the abdominals, and bring them deeply to the spine. As you scoop deeper and deeper you are actually stretching your back from the inside. As you do this, take your attention to the outside of the back; think of the back muscles gently allowing room for the abdominals as they press internally to the spine. Using the abdominal scoop is two fold; not only the abdominals are stretching the back safely from the inside, but they become stronger. Eventually the abdominals support the spine so the back muscles do not have to grip and hold on. When the back muscles release they can then get stronger as well.


This is one example of the Pilates method training the body from the inside out. Thank you Joseph Pilates!