If your neck hurts while or after doing Pilates, let's say in your 100's, something's up. First off: where does it hurt? 1. front or 2. back.
1. The front hurts:
Congratulations, you're working your deep neck flexors and if you sit in front of a computer all day, they pretty much don't exist. The computer posture or "turtle neck" is connected to many other imbalances (dysfunctions) in our body. Achy neck, tight and rounded forward shoulders, back pain... working your neck will tremendously improve all of the above. It's important to know HOW to work your neck.
2. The back hurts
Check and see what muscles are actually contracted while lifting. Front or back. My bet: your muscles in the back of your neck are working (habitually holding your head up) and it's not their job, at least in that position! Muscles pull bones. So get into the front of the neck to pull your head up, rather than pushing from the back. Start by just lifting the neck a tiny bit. Is the front activating? Then proceed to TILT your head on your neck, chin directionally moving towards the sternum to functionally stretch the back. Keep looking towards your toes or pubic bone to avoid the back muscles taking over. Keep the brain back to avoid more pushing from the back.
If you can't sustain the position for your 100's, lower down. Don't practice the shitty position. All you get is .... yeah, right! Be humble. Don't do it because the neighbor is doing it too. Do YOU! Your instructor should be watching you and correct you if your head position is wrong. If your neck is weak, it will be challenging and maybe "hurting" a bit, but know you're also getting stronger.
Please keep in mind, it takes time and effort to change your patterns, but know, you can change them!!!
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Show here: me and my double chin doing the 100's.