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Why I'll always keep working that extension

Extension movements are always a challenge for me.

They feel amazing, and I definitely need more of them, but they are always hard work.

I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago at Jade Pilates practicing Climb a Tree on the High Barrel. After rolling back over the barrel into extension and reaching to place my hands down on the floor, I experienced MASSIVE muscle spasms from my pelvis all the way up my spine to the back of my head. I tried to work through it but it was so extreme I had to come out of the position (with care - so that I didn't hit my lovely instructor in the face of course).

Knowing what I know about my own body, and movement in general, I was very confident I hadn't actually experienced an injury - but my nervous system had definitely freaked the F. out.

It made me think of the reason I first started Pilates....a back injury as a teenager. I kept trying to do backbends and tumbling with extension at acrobatic classes and my body wasn't conditioned for it. Eventually my back just went "nah, screw this", and I found myself at the Physio looking for help. That was actually my introduction to Pilates - as a rehabilitation tool for that back injury.

Some 15 (or more) years later and my body has definitely recovered from that injury, but has my nervous system?

To be fair - I spend excessive amounts of time in spinal flexion for both of my jobs. And this extreme reaction to a position could have just been a case of "too much, too soon". I practiced the exact same exercise the next day when I was back in the studio with no issues, which for me supported the thought that the initial spasm was a nervous system response instead of any peripheral issues. Meanwhile I'm still working to keep the low body reach, and to pull myself into the barrel, and get my hands to the floor, and keep my heel connect to the rung, and relax my head down to see the floor.....just a few things to work on!

In the mean time, I'll keep moving myself into extension because:

I need to balance out all of the flexion in my life...

A strong back is a happy back...

It feels AMAZING, even if it is hard work.

What are you favourite spine extension exercises??



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