Spine Stretch Forward on the Pilates Mat is an easy exercise to cheat on. This is probably due to the "stretch" part of the name. But, it's not about stretching only your hamstrings. It's a fabulous exercise for stretching your entire back body. That said, it requires you to use your front body to lift up and over your legs while anchoring your lower half. It's easy to let your pelvis tip over while you are working on your stretch. But, can you maintain a lift in your front hips while you bend over your legs? When you add this prop in, give it a try!
Use the ball to connect your arms to your back and lift your center.
Sit with your legs as wide as the mat, flex your ankles. Lift your shoulders over your hips and place your hands on a ball on the mat in the center of your legs. When you press down on the ball, be sure it is not coming from your locked elbows or your pecs. You want to feel your arms connected to your back. And as your arms press down into the ball, feel a lift in your center. Press your thigh bones and heels down but keep the back of your knees light.
Press into the ball with your hands round forward over your legs. The ball will roll up your forearms as your round and if you press your arms into the ball you can feel your arms connect to your back more. This connection will help you lift up and over your legs even more. Then press into the ball as you roll up back up and repeat 3-5x. Then try to do the exercise without the ball. Can you feel a lift up as you round over? Are your arms connecting to your back and then pulling you up and over your legs?
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!