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We all know the exercise called the ‘plank’ because we see it in so many magazines and videos. But what if I told you that in Pilates, we reverse the plank, and we call it a ‘Back Support’ because that is really what your body is doing, supporting the back of your body. In the normal plank, you work the entire front part of your body, in the Pilates Back Support, you work the entire back part of your body. If you are looking for an exercise that targets the back of your legs, your hips, your back muscles, and your shoulders, then look no further because here it is.

Pilates Back Support

The Pilates Back Support offers you a great workout on the back of your body but it also gives you the opportunity to open your chest, stretch your shoulders and work into your triceps (the back of your upper arms). You know that part of the arm that jiggles when you wave. Well, the more you work the triceps the less it jiggles.

The Back Support is also going to highlight some important information about your body. If you are struggling to open the shoulders as shown in the video below, this may indicate a stiffness in the shoulders. This stiffness could be due to your posture or sitting at a desk working on the computer day in and day out.

back support | Longevity LIVE

If you do feel that you have stiffness in the shoulders and the front of the chest, this could lead to problems with your neck which in turn leads to unnecessary tension in neck and shoulders. The knock-on effect of this is possible headaches. So not only will the Back Support work the back of your body, but it will also allow you to release the front of the chest which in turn will have a positive effect on your posture and neck.

We always want to tone and get stronger, which is really important for our wellbeing, but what if we could do exercises that have more than one objective i.e. toning and posture improvement.

Today’s video is here to teach you the Pilates Back Support. Listen carefully to the cues, hints, and tips that will make this exercise achievable by anyone who does it. You will also see that I will show you the Back Support with a variation if you feel that you are strong enough to take it up a notch.

How to start?

Sit on the mat with your legs straight out in front of you. If you can, press your legs up against each other with your knees facing the ceiling or sky. Place your arms behind you at a 45° angle and open your chest. Press the base of the palms of your hands and your heels firmly into the mat and then gently lift your pelvis off of the mat.

How many times should you do this routine?

The Pilates Back Support focuses on what we call a ‘static contraction of muscles,’ therefore, you are going to lift up into the position and hold it there for 10 – 30 exhales with good form. The length of time that you stay up there depends on your strength. Remember good alignment is key to this type of training so please watch the video carefully and if you can, take the leap and do the exercise in front of the mirror. This way you can always check what your alignment looks like and compare it to the video.

Please be aware if you have any shoulder injuries, you will need to get consent from your Health Care Professional in order to ensure that your safety comes first.


Inhale and prepare your body for movement, then exhale, contract your abdominals and core and then lift your hips up off of the floor. As you do this, also focus on opening your chest. You are now going to stay in this position as you do 10 – 30 good breaths remembering to contract your abdominals and core every time you exhale.

Take a mind-body journey with Pilates. I would like to invite you to discover the movement differently. Take this time to be still, feel, and embrace what your body has to offer you. This week we are looking at the Pilates Back Support where we allow your body to get stronger and to improve your posture in one simple movement. As you do these Pilates exercises, connect to your body, feel all the muscle contractions that are emanating through your body, hear and feel your breath, and start developing your true mind-body connection. As we embark on this Pilates journey, we will introduce you to both Pilates Mat and Pilates Equipment repertoire. Enjoy!



Tanya Thompson

Tanya Thompson is the owner and founder of Pilates Unlimited. Tanya has been in the wellness industry since 1998. Her company has over 180 000 hours of experience in movement and rehabilitation. Pilates Unlimited has helped thousands of people achieve a holistic approach to health. Pilates Unlimited is blessed with clients that have been with them from the first day that they opened their doors. They are committed to offering a warm and inviting environment for all their clients in their beautiful studio. Tanya has also developed and presented specialized courses to assist health care professionals, Pilates instructors and personal trainers improve their patients or clients results through movement and exercise. Her company has launched a new product called, which is focused on post education for all movement professionals across the globe. Of-CourseOnline currently has members in South Africa, USA, UK, UAE, India, China, Australia, Namibia, Botswana, Switzerland and Belgium.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.