Introduction to Pilates for People with Spinal Fusions

Focus Exercise Video SF: The Hundred

This video is a focus exercise video on The Hundred. This video is important because there are many exercises in the Pilates repertoire that are taught with the head, neck, and shoulders lifted into spinal flexion. This video demonstrates a good alterative for modifying these exercises, which include The Hundred, Single Leg Stretch, Double Leg Stretch, and Single Straight Leg Stretch.

The use of breath in The Hundred is valuable and interesting for people with spinal fusions. It is traditional taught with the head, neck, and shoulders lifting off the floor in a chest lift, which causes that area of the spine to come into flexion. For people who have a fusion that starts in the thoracic, a fused lumbar with a remaining scoliosis curve and/or hyper kyphosis in the thoracic, or osteoporosis, a wonderful modification is to allow the head to rest on a moon box, block, or blankets while maintaining axial elongation through the neck and spine. This modification will help load the anterior tissues of the torso without pulling on the adjacent segment above the fusion or transition points between the curves. It may also relieve some of the neck tension that a more traditional approach creates for those of us with spinal fusions.

I personally enjoy using The Hundred to improve my use of breath and breath control while maintaining the thoracic (mid-back) areas of collapse expanded. I find that I’m best able to do this with my feet resting on the floor or both legs in tabletop. Positioning really depends upon each unique person! A few additional modifications for the body position:
⭐ Keep both feet on the ground while focusing on the breath and pumping the arms
⭐ Lift one leg into tabletop (dead bug) and change to the other halfway through
⭐ Keep both legs in table top
⭐ You can also use a nonslip wedge under the torso with any of these leg positions

There are many approaches to the breath. Find one that works for you and helps keep the rib cage equally weighted on the mat (left and right side). You can also shorten the breath cycle to 3 pumps inhale and 3 pumps exhale or 4 pumps inhale and 4 pumps exhale. A few different options for the breath:
⭐ Imagine that an umbrella is opening up inside your rib cage and pay special focus to how the umbrella opens in the back space (towards the mat) as well as out to the side
⭐ Inhale to expand your thoracic concavity and exhale keeping that concavity slightly expanded
⭐ Inhale to open the front rib on your thoracic convexity towards the ceiling, exhale to connect your back ribs on your thoracic concavity towards the floor

Inspiring health and happiness!