Backbone and Wingspan


Backbone and Wingspan®

New York City & The World

Herald : 212 - 647 - 8878

Also at




Integrating the arms and legs into the powerful muscles of the back enhances stability in the spine - as well as shoulder joints and pelvic girdle - for power and endurance with less strain or risk of injury.


Connecting the arms into the back and the legs into the pelvis creates a system of support on either side of the spine with simultaneous release of tension in shoulders and neck and also pain relief in hips.


The spine alignment you learn here can be incorporated into group exercise classes, assist home fitness, enhance sports conditioning, and inform everyday activities. These are movement principles.




One of “New York's fitness trailblazers... the focus here is on helping clients achieve a ‘back body’ - meaning enviable posture via a strong skeleton and a well-supported spine.”


- W Magazine


The architecture of the “back body” begins below from heels-to-hamstrings-to hips, with a structural integrity of a foundation into a footing - the lower spine extending downward with stability. Then triceps muscles wrap into lats and lower traps - granting a wingspan of expansion - with the upper spine suspending through the spread between right and left halves of the back with mobility.


Another site aligns with this one: Foot Function for Spinal Support & Pain Relief: How to flow toes, ease the insteps and expand the soles for posture, getting grounded, & comfort in footwear is located at and presents detailed information on using foot alignment for spine support. These two websites offer complimentary bodily information and are designed to be used in tandem.


Back Strength & Spine Supporton Google+ The Wingspan Channel Subscribe to me on YouTube

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I’ve Got Your Back


Hello. I’m Herald. I’ve spent seventeen years bending over back-sides - helping people access powerful muscles which they had never felt before - or didn’t even know existed.


I learned ways the back supports the spine because I was in a position to see it over and over on hundreds of people. The spine and back are elusive because we can’t see them on ourselves. You must use imagination to sense your back.


Over seventy photos, images & video on this site as well as it’s companion Foot Function site show the back at work on other people’s bodies to help you visualize your own.


This site is a simple outline of back body principles - the accompanying blog is like an encyclopedia. So read on and if you wish to delve further, click on a blog link anytime. This is not a bullet-pointed listing of tips or quick- fixes. These sites are guides to working more efficiently through better-knowing the spine, the back and the back bones.




“I worked for many years with Herald. He has a rare gift to integrate and incorporate different movement disciplines, absorbing those elements that are most in accord with the body’s truth.

The result is much more than exercise.

It is a movement education that reaches our most fundamental support system. Connecting with and strengthening this deep support system then allows for a freedom of movement and profound expression of ourselves in the world.”


- Dr. Jill Sanders - Osteopathic Physician

pelvic bones - lumbosacral - spine curves


Make No Bones About It:


The aim here is to provide you with a “bone”-afied physical education - perhaps the P.E. we should've received in school - learning about the scapula, sacrum, the ball and socket joints of the hips and shoulder girdle, and the curves of the spine in ways useful to everyday life and physical pursuits.


These are not anatomy lessons. Body systems are described in the simplest terms possible so you gain useful understandings of body mechanisms that doctors, physical therapists or personal trainers are often not able - in complex anatomical language - to find an uncomplicated method of explaining.


“I have thought often of the ‘aha’ moments from my lessons with Herald. He taught my body how to integrate the strength of my core into my back, spine and hips so that the alignment messages made sense to my brain. Working with him provided me with information that has translated into ongoing skeletal stability and a loving relationship with my body.

Thanks to him I’m doing a challenging exercise program now, am able to run around with my grandchildren, play badminton, and jog a little. I've even gotten back to the golf game I'd previously given up because of hip pain and back discomfort - since now I've learned to find relief through the strengthening of my back.”

- Molly Holmes



Core Beliefs:


My teaching of deep core strength is not the typical pulling inward or upward used in many fitness methods. I teach people to use the ball of the thigh bone to access muscles of the legs connected to the deep muscles directly attached to the spine. I teach using the heels to access support on either side of the lumbar spine and sacrum and also how to use the palms of the hands to connect the triceps to the shoulder girdle which grants a wingspan of support on either side of the entire spinal line. My belief is that although the core is a central thing, the spine runs through the center of the body vertically. Accessing the entire spinal line is intertwined with deep core work : the spinal line must extend for deep abdominal muscles to be activated.



Putting a Spring in Your Spine:


I used Pilates equipment spring resistance as a way to grant elongation of the spine, elasticity in muscles and mobility in the joints. In learning how to support the spine, the springs on the Pilates reformer or trapeze table can act as a sensory feedback to the body so it senses its own potential for a spring-like elasticity and resilience.


Some of the same sensory feedback can be obtained using stability ball exercises, movements with an inflated roller or stretches supported with a resistance band, and in a very particular way I'll show you how to use each of these props in order to help you sense your spine. Balls, rollers and bands are easily purchased, common fitness tools that take up very little room - or that can be easily stored in a drawer or closet.



My commitment is to provide the same exceptional virtual teaching for posture and pain-free movement as I used to do in person - as well as give alignment advice for any exercise routine, artistic pursuit, or athletic endeavor.


I endeavor to grant people easier access to feeling empowered & free of pain at work and in day-to-day sitting posture support, as well as capable of pursuing sports, dance, performance and other activities with a confident body and free-moving spine.


My blogs and spine support and core stability videos have been resources for my students to access in-between sessions but they are tools now for anyone to learn back strengthening and spine alignment through self-study.

For excellent movement and posture instruction: Mind Your Pilates & Fitness UES NYC and SPACE Pilates & Yoga Beyond in Bedford Hills, New York.





The following are articles written in the eight years I owned a studio in NYC about the distinct benefits of exercise with emphasis on back body and spine. I have since moved on from owning a studio, however, my main endeavor continues to be spreading this message: it isn’t the technique or method you practice - it’s the underlying universal principles of movement common to any physical endeavor which can be learned and refined throughout any practice to avoid injury, build elastic muscle tone, protect joints for a balance of stability and mobility, and move with ease, empowerment and minimal stress.



back muscle strength - elongated spine - Backbone and Wingspan



In each press piece,

the writer engaged in a

hands-on session.


What is written is an account of a

first-time personal experience

with this back body work.

*Elongated Posture         




“The intriguingly named Backbone and Wingspan

Universal Principles of Movement Studio has a

Pilates-based approach... explains that sessions are

designed to create what he calls ‘subtle space’ in the

muscles of the back, and to increase the space

between the ribs and pelvis.


Unlike core-strength exercises which tend to crunch

us inward, his approach makes a person

visibly taller and less hunched-over

after a session."


- Time Out New York


Click here to enlarge the full article

*Spinal Support





“Indie instructors are opening studios that promise

personal attention, no-frills conditioning, and a

fast-track to a perfect physique....


... small and specialized studio... Backbone and Wingspan...

... sessions that incorporate elements from Pilates,

... Feldenkrais and Bioenergetics...

It’s custom-crafted, service-intensive, all-about-you

approach to exercise - think of it as fitness gone couture.”


-W Magazine


Click to enlarge the adapted article


At these two websites, peruse testimonials written by some of the clients I taught during the seven years I owned a studio: such diverse aspects as


deep core strength for chronic back pain”... to “improving effectiveness of group exercise classes”... to “lugging around a toddler”... to “creating lean body lines”... to “feeling taller, pain free and aligned”... to “relieving aches and pains of pregnancy & birthing recovery”... to “inwardly focusing as an actor”... and especially to “articulating a more natural posture and being more confident because of it.


Read these and more on profiles for: Backbone and Wingspan on New York and Backbone and Wingspan on Insider Pages


sports conditioning - back stretches - latissimus dorsi muscle strengthening - Backbone and Wingspan
*Sports Conditioning         






...takes clients through back-related stretches and exercises,

an oft-neglected muscle group... spreading their shoulder blades...

and stretching their arms so that they extend from the latissimus

dorsi, thus creating a ‘wingspan.’


... focusing on the transfer of power from the frontside (chest and

shoulders) to the backside... specialized core-stability... can be

beneficial to anyone on the fitness spectrum.


- Metro Sports New York


Click here to enlarge the full article

healthy exercise - core strength exercises - core stability - lats muscle connection - Backbone and Wingspan
*Core Stability





Backbone owner brings his

experienced background with

resistance band training,


and a strong understanding of the

universal principles of movement to his

unique Pilates-based teachings.


Backbone and Wingspan focuses more on

sustained work, allowing you to find your deep,

posturally supportive core strength...


By doing these sustained poses with

light resistance, you can more actively

engage your mind into your workout,


allowing you to forge a connection with the

exact muscles, even the exact parts of

the muscle you wish to work.”


- Healthy Living NYC


Click here to enlarge the full article


More press mentions and articles......
The Luxury Spot: Fix Your Abs with Backbone and Wingspan Click Here to Read This Mention Online
The New York Times: Are high heels getting you down? Have foot pain? Click Here to Read This Mention Online
Gotham Magazine: Alternating your fitness routine... Healing Heels Click Here to Read Article Online
Kendall Farr’s Blog: Let the Heeling Begin - High Heel Recovery Clinic Click Here to Read Blog Post Online
See more articles and online mentions particular to feet and posture on the High Heel Healing page at


“Working with Herald has shown me how to better integrate the structural support of my upper and lower spine into my daily activities. As a result I can more regularly release the ‘holding patterns’ I developed over time.

Particularly when I walk, bike or jog, I now am more naturally aware of the relationships between my foot (toes, arch, heel), the ‘footing’ of my femur into my hip socket and the connection with and support from the hamstrings / back of the hips / spine connections.

My work with him has allowed me to continue - even increase - my regular jogging and biking activities - including my first ‘century’ ride - with far better, injury-free body mechanics and enjoyment.”

- Andy Lewis

hamstrings strengthening exercise - stability ball exercise for home fitness

Getting a Leg Up On The Competition


There are thousands of choices of exercise programs and classes to choose from, not to mention sports and other activities in which you may be seeking guidance.


These websites of mine about back strength, spine support and foot function are resources of knowledge for less-seldom attended-to parts of the body, crucial to any exercise form, sports and everyday sitting and reaching postures. In New York City everyday I see someone on the street or in the park or on the subway platform, stretching or jogging or riding a bike or struggling up stairs in ways that do not serve their bodies. There are many ways we’re apt to use the feet poorly and faulty postural notions of the spine as straight.


Knowing how to use the resilience of the three-curved extending spine and the corresponding bounce of a three-curved ball-arch-heel gives your body an edge - and a leverage - literally - over methods that take too much muscular exertion.


lumbar extension arching using fitness roller - back muscle strength supports spine

I’ll Be Your Wingman


I'm currently writing a foot alignment book for relieving pain from wearing high heels. As well, I’m creating a back body service manual and developing apps for specific posture situations. I’m planning in-person workshops, as well as webinars and other forms of on-line instruction.


Through self-study and home fitness, my intention is to provide you with knowledge about the back and spine that becomes ingrained in your body - not as exercise - but as movement know-how.


Having a sense of your spine is empowering - I believe this is how the term backbone came about. And we all have had the urge or wished for the capacity to or even made a life change which could be described as spread your wings and fly. In the case of connecting your arms to the powerful muscles on either side of the spine, that phrase is no longer figurative. You’ll have a span of back spreading wide to support your spine like wings which lift the weight of the torso off of the pelvis.


Of the two Backbone and Wingspan sites, this one: Integrated Back Strength and Spinal Support will eventually include separate in-depth pages for integrated sections of the body which will be:

Heel Knee & Hip            Pelvis Lumbar & Core            Triceps Lats & Traps            Shoulders Ribs & Neck


More complete at this time is the site Foot Function for Spinal Support & Pain Relief with in-depth information about how the feet relate to the back, spine and core with pages for:


Heels & Hamstrings Relieve muscle tightness in the backs of the legs using leverage of the heels

Ankles, Shins & Calves Open ankle joints to release calf muscles for plantar arches pain relief

Knee & Hip Joints Sitting postures which assist in connecting the inner thighs to core strength

High Heel Healing Using the heels to connect the legs to the toning of hips and back pain relief

lunging exercise using a stability ball - sacroiliac joint pain relief - back wingspan


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Review  Write a short review of your experience with these Back Strength & Spine Support principles


on the Integrated Back Strength on Google + Page.


And also please


Visit the or websites where you’ll discover much more spinal support information as well as standing, walking and even sitting posture know-how.


Whether or not you are moved enough to give feedback - and especially since this website is in beta-stage and it has several more pages-worth of information and images to be added - please bookmark this site to your toolbar.


Back Strength & Spine Supporton Google+ The Wingspan Channel Subscribe to me on YouTube

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Disclaimer: Please note: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Please consult your doctor or exercise professional before beginning any exercise program.
The instructions and advice presented within this website and accompanying blog and video sites are in no way intended as a substitute for medical or physical therapy counseling.
Backbone and Wingspan LLC as creator, producer and developer of this work disclaims any liabilities or loss in connection with the exercises and advice herein.