Jump to content

Hypermobile Back and Back Cambre


Mae Elizabeth
 Share

Recommended Posts

I naturally have quite a hypermobile/flexible back, and my teachers have pointed this out to me multiple times. Because of this flexibility, when I attempt a back cambre, I tend to arch my lumbar spine and stick out my bottom. When I try to keep my pelvis tucked and only bend my thoracic spine, I feel very restricted and like I can barely move. Does anyone else have this issue or does anyone have any tips or exercises to strengthen my core to resolve this issue?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not an expert, just a dance mum, but perhaps if you try doing it seated e.g. on the floor with legs straight out in front of you  that will stabilise your pelvis and allow just the top half of your back to move. Or on a Swiss ball to practise the pelvic stability needed. 

 

If you are hypermobile the chances are this is an issue of muscle strength/alignment rather than flexibility of the upper back. 

 

Bridges could also help you learn to articulate your spine properly and strengthen glutes and pelvic stability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Mae Elizabeth said:

I naturally have quite a hypermobile/flexible back

 

Is the issue here that while your lower spine is flexible, your upper spine is not? It's quite normal to have different levels of flexibility in different bits of our bodies.

 

I commiserate - I tend to let my pelvis tip into a lumbar arch - I have various prompts I try to remember to help me maintain a neutral pelvis such as thinking of my pelvis being heavy and dropping straight to the floor. Also thinking of lifting my sternum (breast bone) and opening my upper chest, rather than bending my back. Lifting up, rather than bending back.

 

Hoping ballet teachers here see this and can suggest some proper exercises to help.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree @Kate_N, it seems fairly common to have different flexibility in different parts of the spine. I have a hypermobile lumbar and mid-back, but struggle with mobilising my upper spine. When I used to do "back stretches", I tended to just crunch or collapse into the parts that were already mobile and the bits that weren't as naturally loose would stay straight (probably because if there wasn't some sort of tension somewhere my spine would have crumbled and you'd need to carry me around in a bucket :))

 

@Mae Elizabeth I have had to work specifically on mobilising my upper spine while keeping the lumbar spine relaxed and not switching on. I do two exercises with the physio to help with this. One involves lying face down with my forehead on a towel, then slowly lifting my arms behind me, allowing my shoulder blades to draw together and 'set', and then I lift just my head and neck and maybe first two vertebrae of my upper back off the mat while everything else stays switched off and relaxed. It's surprisingly hard! I hold there for one breath, again without bracing, and then breathe out and relax. Repeat. As I've improved I have added light weights in my hands as they go up behind me to make it harder. The second exercise I stay flat on my tummy but put my hands in front of my forehead, making a triangle shape with my thumbs and fingers (not sure if that makes sense). I then slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae, lift my head and neck off the ground. When I need to I take the weight into my hands more to push further up. This is like the yoga 'seal' position but with the hands further forward. It is done more slowly and again, the focus is on a steady roll up without the lumbar back ever being allowed to switch on or take over. If I do normal seal pose I just hinge into that part of the spine and while teachers go "wow you have such a bendy back" I'm not actually using it properly or safely.

 

When I do my cambre now, I try to replicate the feeling of those two exercises. Plus strengthening my core (which you've already mentioned in your post) to hold my pelvis steady and use my stomach muscle to brace, instead of the big muscles in my back. If you're using the large outer back muscles to hold yourself stable, of course those same muscles won't be able to bend! So the stability comes from the pelvic floor instead :) And think about lifting up before going back, that helps me feel like there's space between my ribs and is a bit of a reminder about which part of the back is meant to be moving.

Edited by Viv
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, are you familiar with PBT exercises? There are some excellent exercises that you can do on a Swiss ball or using a Swiss ball. PM me if you can’t find them and I’ll try and send you a couple. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

Is the issue here that while your lower spine is flexible, your upper spine is not? It's quite normal to have different levels of flexibility in different bits of our bodies.

@Kate_N This is definitely the case, my lower spine is much more flexible than my upper spine, and I think this is why I find seal poses etc. so easy, but really struggle with back cambres.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Viv Thank you so much for these exercises. I will try out these exercises and hopefully I can see some improvement. I will also focus on strengthening my stomach muscles rather than my back muscles. I think this is definitely something I need to work on as when I attempt a back cambre, I can feel myself falling and this is why I sink into my lower back.

 

I also thought it might help to mention that on multiple occasions, my ballet teacher has told me to protect my back with my stomach muscles in grand battements/developpes derriere, however I really don't know how to do this and was wondering if anyone had suggestions. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...