“So, is Pilates like, really good for my core?” – said every sorority girl on the planet.
Why yes, Janice. It is indeed.
Janice and her mythical sorority sisters love Pilates because someone on TV said it’s great for abs. I love coaching these women because they become Pilates Evangelicals once they learn how ab-mazing Pilates is. But that’s not to say Pilates is a bunch of crunches and side planks.
Let’s take the single leg stretch. This is the first [unilateral] exercise in the series of five. If you’re tired after three reps the rest of the series will feel like torture. So let’s clean it up and make sure you can make it through the whole thing.
- You want to rock that C-curl so you can flow directly into the other exercises without losing your form.
- Press the outside arm outside the ankle and inside hand inside the knee with elbows wide. This ensures your ankle, knee and hip joints are tracking in the same line.
- The extended leg should be lifted off the floor with your glutes, not hanging off your hip flexor like in the top photo.
- This exercise is about spinal flexion but I’m cranking my neck (cervical spine) in the top photo. Find your C-curl by contracting from the bottom 5th ribcage
- As you draw the knee toward your nose, avoid bouncing in your torso or using your chest to reach out and grab the leg. Let the leg come to you so you can work on those hip extensors at the same time.
When to use it
If you love adding in core exercises at the tail end of your workout, this is a good one to throw in there. Not only do you get more core activation than a standard crunch, you get the added benefit of strengthening and lengthening the hip extensors, and it’s unilateral work which we don’t get much of anyway. So go ahead, Janice…rock that core!
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