Pilates Exercise of the Month: CONTROL BALANCE
Benefit: This advanced exercise strengthens hip extensors, improves hip flexibility and strengthens core. You should be able to pereform Roll Over, Jack Knife and Scissors correctly before adding this exercise.
Starting Position: Lie on your back with legs extended at a diagonal; arms overhead, palms facing up.
- Inhale, perform Roll Over: flex at the hips to hinge legs toward torso, then sequentially articulate spine off mat from tail bone to upper back area. Reach legs overhead, parallel to mat.
- Exhale; Reach both legs up to the ceiling, weight remains on upper back into Jack Knife. Inhale, stay.
- Exhale, extend 1 leg overhead, foot towards mat. Gently grasp ankle.
- Inhale, switch legs, passing in mid-air; Scissors. Keep pelvis and trunk as still as possible.
5. Complete 3-5 repetitions with each leg.
6. To finish: Inhale, reach both legs up toward ceiling. Exhale sequentially articulate spine down to mat, one vertebra at a time, returning legs to diagonal.
- Keep the focal point of your weight on shoulder girdle, not neck (cervical spine).
- Keep pelvis and trunk still as the legs scissor.
- Maintain contraction of abdominals to avoid losing balance and/or rotation of pelvis
Modification: Omit scissoring. Lower and lift one leg completely before starting with other leg. This requires different coordination and control.
Visualization: Imagine the legs are like a protractor. The lower leg is the arm of the protractor that remains stationary. The upper leg is the arm that moves in a vertical position.