Book Review: Back Exercise: Stabilize, Mobilize, and Reduce Pain by Brian Richey

Back Exercise: Stabilize, Mobilize and Reduce Pain by Brian Richey


Chronic back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide and Back Exercise: Stabilize, Mobilize and Reduce Pain gives the reader tools to address their own back problems. Brian Richey is well qualified to write this book being a Medical Exercise Specialist and Post Rehab Conditioning Specialist, as well as a Balanced Body faculty educator and master instructor.

The book is divided into three sections: the first covers the anatomy of the spine, and the effect of posture; the second is a detailed breakdown of each of the recommended exercises; and the third covers common conditions e.g. stenosis, describing what they are and exercises suitable for each.

Although most of the exercises are strictly not “Pilates”, they are nearly all pre-Pilates or part of the Pilates Instructor’s toolbox e.g. clams and dying bug.

First Impressions

I like the way the book has been laid out. It is easy to navigate. Each exercise, one per page, has clear photos and a concise description. The exercises are ordered according to base of support and progression, from supine/prone to quadruped to seated to standing.

For each back condition, there are six months’ worth of monthly exercise plans. The plans are tables of exercises with thumbnail photos, page references, and number of repetitions.

The theory sections are effectively illustrated and clay models have been used to show particular muscles. As it can be difficult to distinguish one spinal stabiliser from another, the use of different coloured clay makes this much clearer.

To prevent the book becoming too dry and academic, Brian has included personal stories and “Straight Talk” inserts. He gives plenty of practical advice. What I found helpful as a Pilates Instructor was that my previous training focused on what to do and avoid when the client first comes into the Pilates studio whereas Brian maps the progression, capabilities and appropriate challenges to give the client over time.


Would I recommend Back Exercise: Stabilize, Mobilize and Reduce Pain by Brian Richey? For a client wanting a better understanding of their back pain problems and what they can do at home to help themselves, definitely. For an instructor wanting to increase their knowledge, the book is helpful, especially in the practical sense, although I would rank it below more Pilates specific books covering a wider range of conditions.

Reviewed by Karen Goh
PAA Ordinary Committee Member and PAA Member

Booktopia – 10% extra discount for PAA members!

Back Exercise: Stabilize, Mobilize and Reduce Pain by Brian Richey was generously supplied for review by Human Kinetics and is available at Booktopia with an additional 10% PAA member discount (check under Resources in your membership area for the Human Kinetics discount code).

, ,

Comments are closed.