Form Fix: The Leg Pull

The Pilates leg pull is one of those basic bitch exercises you love to hate. It looks graceful but it kind of makes you want to pour your hot Starbucks latte all over your North Face fleece and Ugg boots, know what I mean?

However, the beauty of this exercise is how much stability, strength and flexibility is required all over to pull this off.

Basic Tips

  1. Create a long line from your toes to your low rib cage
  2. Avoid dropping your head back like the top photo. That takes your cervical spine out of alignment. Protect yourself!
  3. My butt is hardly working in the top picture, hence my booty dropping down low, making it harder to raise my leg and stay engaged. Use #datass!
  4. Notice how my toes point down in the bottom pic versus up on the top? Yea, aim for that.
  5. Finally, letting your hips sag, and your shoulders internally rotate puts a lot of stress on your joints. Using your abs, butt and thighs to help you LIFT saves your shoulders from having to hold you up
  6. How high the leg goes is a flexibility thing, so don’t sweat it. What matters is how stable and controlled you can maintain the body while moving that leg

When to use it

Quite frankly, only in a Pilates routine or for cool Instagram photos. There’s no point in doing this cold or when you’re stiff as a board. It will feel awful. However, you can modify this exercise by taking the leg pull (raises) out of it and turning it into the meathead version: the reverse plank. The same rules still apply but now you don’t have to worry about moving your legs and kicking your Starbucks gingerbread- extra foam-with an extra shot of vodka-caffeine-sprinkled with magic dust-latte.

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