Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Break It Down: Single Leg Stretch (Part 1 of Series of 5)

1st in the series of 5 the Single Leg Stretch is sure to challenge your clients and leave them with the oh so good sore feeling that Pilates is known for.  The possibilities of how to modify or add in a challenge are endless making this a staple mat exercise for any level.

Purpose- strengthens abs, builds endurance, leg tracking and proper body alignment

Preps- 100s, Toe Taps, Curl Ups, Roll Up, Ab preps

Form- sit bones remain level, low back is always flat on mat and supported with abs, elbows wide, head in C curve if able

*May not be appropriate for those with low back or neck problems (spinal flexing) such as disc injuries, fusions or osteoporosis.  

Modifications- keep straight leg higher off floor to 90 instead of 45 degree angle, spot at clients feet to track legs or guide to appropriate angle, prop upper body onto an arc to maintain C curve shape, both hands hold one knee at a time instead of fancy hand position, let head rest on floor, in a seated position practice leg/arm transitions before moving into full exercise

How to Advance- outside hand holds ankle/opp. hand holds knee that's into chest, keep head lifted throughout whole ab series without breaks, hold small hand weights in hands by waistline as you move legs only, prop yourself up on elbows than do legs movement

Challenges- hold Magic circle/ball in hands and add in pulses with upper body at each leg switch, increase reps to 10 each leg, hands in loops to translate onto the Reformer or Cadillac with arm springs 

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