How to a Do a Pilates Single Leg Stretch
Lifting the head back too much
Hi, my name is Audrey Laurelton, owner of Equilibrium Pilates in Montclair, NJ. I'm here for About.com today to show you how to do a Pilates single leg stretch.For the Pilates single leg stretch, bring both knees into your chest, you're going to place your right hand on your right ankle, your left hand just below the knee. Curl the head up, lift those elbows and extend the other leg out to a 45 degree angle. You want to pull the leg in towards the chest. The hand placement is really important for the knee and hip alignment. From there, you are going to deepen your belly and change legs, switching the hands as well. So now we have the left hand to the left ankle and the right hand below the knee. Go ahead and change.You are going to make a nice big inhale as you pull. Deepen the belly, exhale as you change legs. Again, you are going to inhale, pull the leg in and exhale to change legs. As you get a little bit more advanced you can inhale for the first 2 leg changes and then exhale for the next 2. You want to go ahead and complete 8 - 10 sets of the exercise. Common mistakes with this exercise are dropping the elbows, keeping this leg a little too low, and lifting the head back too much, this is going to create some strain on the neck. You'll find that if you lift your head up to look at your belly, there's less pressure on the neck and more work on the abs. By lifting the arms, we're going to get the under side of the arms to work as well. Then we want to lift the leg up a little bit for core stabilization. Now, if you have a bad knee, we are going to place the hands underneath the knee to pull from the back of the thigh. That way there is no pressure on the knee as you pull the leg in. If you have a bad back, we are going to change the height of the extended leg and reach it right up to the ceiling. That's going to alleviate pressure on that lower back. Thank you for watching. For more information, go to: health.about.com.