Sciatica: Total Gym Exercises for Long-Term Relief

Sciatica: Total Gym Exercises for Long-Term Relief

Part 1 of 3: Strength

Maria Sollon, MS, CSCS, PES

Picture this: It’s a new day, a fresh start… You wake up, ready to tackle the day, but as soon as you attempt to rise from your slumber, a lightning bolt of pain shoots down your leg, leaving you crippled with discomfort. Sounds familiar? You’re not alone.

Sciatica affects millions worldwide, dampening spirits and hindering mobility. But don’t get discouraged, because amidst the shadows of discomfort lies a beacon of hope with your trusty Total Gym!

Demystifying Sciatica

So, what exactly is sciatica? Simply put, it’s like an unwelcome guest crashing your body’s party, causing chaos and discomfort.

Sciatica stems from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which spans from your lower back down to your legs. This pesky nerve mishap can manifest as a shooting pain, tingling sensation, or numbness, making mundane tasks like sitting, standing, or even walking a Herculean feat!  If you have ever experienced this feeling,  you can agree that it’s an unwanted pain that is not welcome in your daily world!

The Power of Exercise

Now, onto the good stuff… exercise. Contrary to popular belief, movement isn’t the enemy, rather it’s the unsung hero in this saga of discomfort. Movement helps your body function at optimal levels, even when in pain or discomfort.  The most important part is to understand what your body needs, how to perform the specific movements with control and proper form, and being consistent.

Exercise Adjustments

IF you are used to being active, it may be tough not doing your norm!  You may have to train your mind to slow down and take a different approach so you can rebuild the lacked strength of your spine.  IF you are new to moving and want to start feeling better, the hardest thing is to just make the decision and start!  So- take things slow and in small doses to help your body develop a strength foundation to regenerate mobility, and this will contribute to helping alleviate the symptoms of discomfort.

Total Gym Intervention

Your Total Gym equipment is your trusty sidekick in the battle against sciatica. We can agree, that the Total Gym is a versatile piece of equipment that can be put to work in a multifaceted manor to achieve specific goals.  The equipment offers a low-impact, full-body workout that strengthens muscles, improves flexibility, and enhances overall mobility, all while sparing your sensitive sciatic nerve from unnecessary strain!

Are you ready to have a sciatic intervention on your Total Gym??  It cant hurt more – right?! (No pun intended!)

Total Gym STRENGTH Exercises for Sciatica Relief

In order to keep the pain and discomfort at bay, it’s imperative to keep your joints and surrounding tissues strong.  Take time to learn, practice, and perfect these strength  exercises on your Total Gym and look forward to alleviating that pain for good!

Set Up:

Level: Set your incline to a low-medium level so that the glide board accommodates your strength and flexibility.

Accessory: Squat Stand


  • Learn the exercises with the proper movement skills on your Total Gym.
  • Perform each exercise slowly in a controlled manor to work with your body’s range of motion.
  • Utilize your breath to assist with the exertion of the movement. (Hardest part)
  • Strength: Perform 5-10 reps based on your comfort level. Increase reps as your strength improves.
  1. Pelvic Tilts: (supine)
    • Targets: deep core muscles of the entire pelvis, glutes, hips, hamstrings
    • Focus: This simple yet effective exercise engages your core muscles, stabilizing your pelvis and spine to reduce strain on the sciatic nerve. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to improve posture and get your nerves off your spine!
  1. Glute Bridge: (supine)
    • Targets: glutes, lower back, and core
    • Focus: The bridge is a Total Gym staple! It helps bridge the gap between discomfort and movement freedom to provide much-needed support to the spine while strengthening surrounding muscles. Say hello to a stronger, more resilient back and farewell to those sciatica woes.
  1. Leg Press: (supine, side-lying, various feet positions)
    • Targets: quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
    • Focus: This exercise not only builds leg strength, but also alleviates pressure on the sciatic nerve, paving the way for pain-free movement.

Be sure to check out the video demonstration to see how these strength exercises for sciatic pain relief are performed on your Total Gym.

So, seize the day of feeling pain-free, embrace the burn (in a good way), and let the journey to movement be a part of your daily routine to keep your body healthy from the inside out!

Tune in to Part 2, where we will discuss the best flexibility movements for sciatic pain relief that can be performed on your Total Gym.



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Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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