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.

  1. Lie on your back and hug both knees into your chest, hands reaching toward ankles, head and shoulders lifted off mat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Repeat 8-10 sets. To finish, hug both knees in toward chest, put head and shoulders on mat.

Seattle Pilates
Visualization: imagine the center of your body thinning out like taffy.

Checklist:

  1. Support your neck by keeping your chin toward your chest as you stretch long.
  2. Squeeze your buttocks and upper inner thighs tightly as you extend your legs to support the lower back.
  3. As you inhale and stretch out, keep your arms straight.
  4. 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.

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