28 Days of Pilates: Day #6

Before we dive into today’s workout I want to touch on an important aspect of Pilates that you’ll hear me mention quite a bit, neutral spine.

While some Pilates instructors teach all exercises with a flat back, I lean more toward maintaining neutral spine throughout most exercises.

pilates roll down

What is neutral spine?

A healthy spine has natural curves.

There is a curve in the neck and a slight curve in the lower back. These curves are GOOD! They keep the spine healthy and safe by providing shock absorption and promoting flexibility.

If you’re new to Pilates you probably aren’t aware of what your spine is doing while you exercise.

Chances are when you do abdominal work (like crunches) you flatten your back and imprint your spine down into the mat. This isn’tΒ alwaysΒ a bad thing, but more often than not I’d like you to try to find your neutral spine while doing these exercises. Β Don’t worry, I’ll remind you frequently.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.


Now, on to your workout!

Today we’re going back to some nice, pure ab work (you love it right?). Enjoy!


Today’s Check-In: Snap a photo of ONE thing you’re doing to take care of yourself today. It may be your workout, it may be a nap, it may be a latte. Whatever it is, I want to see it! Don’t forget to hashtag #28daysofpilates.





PS – Needing a little boost of motivation? This post might help: do what you can, where your are, with what you have.

PPS- Just joining us? Welcome! You can catch up by doing day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 and day 5. Or just jump right in and add those on later πŸ™‚

disclaimer: these videos were created for individuals in good health. Robin recommends that you speak with your doctor prior to beginning a new exercise routine. By doing this video you do so at your own risk and agree to release Robin Long and The Balanced Life of any and all liability.

  1. Liz S. 7 years ago

    I’m SO SO glad that you wrote about neutral spine. Imprint/flat back isn’t always the best position to be in, especially all the time when doing Pilates (at least, I learned that that’s the case for me. I used to only do Pilates in imprint and now that I’m stronger, I feel better working in neutral).

    Day #6 of this challenge = fabulous. Loved the ab work and movement in the spine.

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Yes, Liz, I completely agree! A lot of times we work in flat back because our core isn’t strong enough to maintain neutral. I’m glad you’ve realized what works best within your own body. Thanks for posting! xo

  2. Kim 7 years ago

    I love that you teach us to work in neutral spine. I know it is better for me, anyway. I appreciate the reminders you give throughout the workouts to keep our spine neutral. Usually when you are giving a reminder I find that I am in need of a correction. πŸ™‚ My abs are getting stronger!!!

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Hi Kim! Glad the reminders are helpful. It takes time for neutral spine to become a habit but eventually it will become your natural place to be. πŸ™‚

  3. Stacey 7 years ago

    Thank you for giving some insight on neutral spine, I’m new to Pilates so it’s always great to learn about positioning. I’m finding that I’m having a difficult time breathing–as in, I do okay with the breathing for the first couple of reps, but then I tend to hold my breath for the remaining reps. Do you have any suggestions on how to work on breathing? Thank you!

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      You’re welcome Stacey! Just like with neutral spine, breathing is a skill that can be built with time and practice. It’s ver normal for people to hold their breath when learning new exercises or doing challenging moves. I will try to cue the breath to remind you to breath but truly it will come more easily with practice. I bet by the end of the month it will become more of a natural habit for you.

      For now, just keep doing your best the BREATHE – don’t worry too much about when you should be inhaling or when you should be exhaling, just keep the breath moving. xo

  4. Elisha 7 years ago

    My abs were already so sore, this was pure torture! Lol. Each day I’m reminded of why I love Pilates.

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      It’s the best kind of “torture” isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  5. Amy 7 years ago

    Loved the abs! I need to do a challenge where I do The Hundred every day.

  6. Karen 7 years ago

    I’m really loving these workouts! My butt is sore from the Glutes workout 3 days ago … is it actually possible to feel my body getting more toned in only 6 workouts or is it my wishful imagination? Doesn’t matter I feel great!

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      It IS possible to feel that way! Use that as motivation to keep going. You’re doing great! xo

  7. Jennifer M 7 years ago

    Thanks for telling us to only lower our legs as far as we could without arching our back on the last exercise. No one ever told me that before and my lower back would hurt. Now I have more of a goal to reach for – lowering my legs further!! Thanks for a great workout!!

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Yes! That’s super important. And the great thing is you will actually get stronger and get MORE work out of it if you work within your current range of motion. As your core gets stronger you will be able to go lower. But lower legs doesn’t mean better work if your back is arching. So good job! xo

  8. Jennifer M 7 years ago

    Thanks for telling us to only lower our legs as far as we could without arching our back on the last exercise. No one ever told me that before and my lower back would hurt. Now I have more of a goal to reach for – lowering my legs further!! Thanks for another great workout!!

  9. Janine E 7 years ago

    Love love love, as a dancer a lot of these exercises are familiar but with a new twist! There is something here for everyone! πŸ™‚

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Yes! Dance and Pilates are so great for one another πŸ™‚ Glad you’re enjoying it! xo

  10. Vett 7 years ago

    this one felt so good afterward! slight burn in my abs, but a good burn! thanks, ready for day 7! πŸ™‚

  11. Nina 7 years ago

    Great workouts!! I’m loving this, I’ve been doing yoga in between my strength training, dancing, and running and I forgot how invigorating pilates is! Thanks!

    xo, Nina

  12. Lori 7 years ago

    I am so appreciating this challenge! My baby is 7 weeks old and I’m just beginning to try to do some intentional exercising again. These are prefect because they are short, but also, my body is so out of shape that it feels very manageable for me in small steps! Everything is a challenge so I appreciate how you show us to modify and encourage to just do what your body is able right now. Thank you.

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Hi Lori! I’m so glad you’re doing this. I know how hard it is to get back into the swing of things with a newborn. I’m impressed you’re jumping in at 7 weeks postpartum! It definitely took me longer than that πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re modifying and listening to your body. You will feel different as the days and weeks go on. And you will continue to get stronger if you just stick with it. Congrats on your new baby! xo

  13. Courtney Carter 6 years ago

    Sometimes I get a tightness in the center of my chest when lifting off the mat during the roll up. Am I doing something wrong? Also can I bend my knees when the legs are pointed toward the ceiling or is that not good?

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Hi Courtney,
      Tightness in the chest is not typically a sensation I hear of. Unfortunately without seeing you in person I can’t correct your form and help you adjust. You may want to play with different positions, like bending your knees, placing a towel behind your back, or using a theraband wrapped around your feet for extra support. And it’s absolutely fine to bend your legs as you reach them toward the ceiling. πŸ™‚

  14. Crystal 5 years ago

    That last exercise was perfect! It hit the exact spot I’ve been trying to figure out how to get after baby! Thanks for posting these!

  15. Issah 5 years ago

    I just started last week and everyday I do 2 work outs. Is that okay? πŸ™‚

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Absolutely – Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

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