Are You Outsourcing Your Back Muscles?

Pilates Admin Video Training 8 Comments

T his might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually possible to strengthen your back while sitting at your desk or even watching T.V. AND you can do it without adding extra exercise time to your daily routine.

You just need to know where your sitting bones are and how it feels to sit on them. 

Yup, it’s that simple.

Here’s how it works.

If you’re like me, you probably started sitting in chairs at a young age, and chances are those chairs had backs that you leaned against.

As comfortable and well-meaning as chairs may be, leaning back on one all the time weakens your back muscles.

Since the chair holds you up instead of your muscles, you wind up outsourcing your back muscles’ job to the chair. Over time, your body gets the message that your back muscles aren’t needed as much.

The solution to this problem boils down to simple re-alignment.

Think of your pelvis like a pedestal, and on top of your pedestal sits your spine.

Sitting correctly on your sitting bones levels your pelvis-pedestal, creating the ideal position for your spine’s natural curves to align, AND for your back muscles to hold you up.

Leaning back against a chair tips you to the back of your pelvis-pedestal, undoing your spine’s natural curves and leaving your back muscles turned off.

If you spend a lot of time sitting this way, it can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, neck and back pain, and bone density issues.

It might sound ridiculously simple, but learning how to sit on your sitting bones is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your whole body.

In today’s video, you’ll learn where your sitting bones are and how to sit on them correctly.

If you’re not used to sitting this way, it’s probably going to feel unnatural at first, and your back might get tired quickly.

That’s totally normal and okay, though!

It takes a little time and persistence to get used to, but your back will get stronger, and it will get easier to sit this way the more you do it.

And to clarify, by no means am I suggesting that you never lean back into a chair again. Sometimes leaning back is exactly what your body needs!

It’s not leaning back itself that creates problems, it’s the amount of time you spend in that position!

Be easy with yourself as you get used to sitting on your sitting bones. Celebrate those moments when you catch yourself leaning back and then pop up onto your sitting bones and see if you can stay there for thirty seconds.

I’m here rooting for you! Let me know how it goes in the comments.


P.S. If you haven’t checked out the Pilates Tonic Online Membership site, now is a great time! You can still sign up for a two-week free trial and secure the Founding Member price of $10 a month.


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Comments 8

  1. I really like these little slices of Pilates. Serves as helpful reminders of how to integrate them into everyday life. Thanks for taking the time.
    Lyn UK

  2. Ok. I’m doing it and here’s a little history. Suffered w sacrum/low back pain for years. Found seq of leg moves that released hip flexors and low back pain moved to around top of hip bones and side of upper legs. I did the learn to walk movements, and wow it hurt! I am weak. Doing this now the Leg crease / hip flexor Area is very tired very quick. What are your thoughts? Any additional moves? You’re the best body doc I’ve ever had. Thank you. ( of course I’m not relying on you as my doc, but you are helping my situation). Thank you. Tamela

    1. Hi Tamela, Thanks for your feedback and questions! Are your feet flat on the ground? If not, that could contribute to your hip flexors working when sitting on your sitting bones. Also, sitting in a higher chair, so that your knees are lower than your pelvis, will make a difference. Try one with a seat that’s higher from the ground, or sitting on top of a couple folded towels on top of your chair. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. Sydney, Thank you for these videos. All of them have been very helpful – little reminders for daily life. Thank you!

  4. I love these quick, informative videos. So helpful, I can incorporate them into my daily life and use a lot of the information in my yoga classes as the instructor. You make things so much easier and definitely lovelier! I’m so grateful Sidney. Thanks, Laura

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