Pilates Exercise of the Month: Double Leg Stretch
Purpose: As the second exercise in the Stomach Series, Double Leg Stretch continues to challenge your coordination, work the powerhouse and stretch your body.
- Lie on your back and hug both knees into your chest, hands reaching toward ankles, head and shoulders lifted off mat.
- Inhale and reach the arms overhead back by your ears and your legs straight out in front of you. Raise them off the mat at about a 45 degree angle. Back must not arch off floor.
- Exhale and circle the arms around as you bring your knees back into your chest. Remain still in your torso; head and shoulders lifted throughout the exercise.
- Repeat 8-10 sets. To finish, hug both knees in toward chest, put head and shoulders on mat.
Visualization: imagine the center of your body thinning out like taffy.
- Support your neck by keeping your chin toward your chest as you stretch long.
- Squeeze your buttocks and upper inner thighs tightly as you extend your legs to support the lower back.
- As you inhale and stretch out, keep your arms straight.
- Your abs hold you down on the mat.
Modification: For a sensitive low back, begin with the legs at a 90 degree angle and gradually advance to 45 degrees. Abbreviate the arm movement if you have a delicate shoulder.
Progression: Move directly to Single Straight Leg Stretch – which will be previewed in next month.