Do you ever wonder why you do all that side-lying leg work for your hips in Pilates? Why does it feel so tight and burn so much?
These are some of the most important exercises you can do for strengthening your hips and supporting your hips, pelvis, low back, knees.
If you think about what runners, cyclists, and walkers are doing, their legs are all moving forward and back. It’s rare that most people will actually move their legs out to the sides. And as much as we love to practice yoga, it doesn’t do much side leg strengthening either so it’s just as important to have a Pilates practise…they complement each other very nicely.
Pilates clams; Set your feet up in the same line with your hips and your shoulders and head. So everything is in one line. Prop your head up with your hand behind your head, or a pillow if you have neck or shoulder problems. Bend both knees and stack them on top of each other. Lift just the top knee, being careful not to roll your top hip back
Pilates straight leg lifts
straighten your top leg, and lift it up about a foot off the floor, then do small pulses up and down with the knee pointing forward. Try to keep that straight leg in a straight line underneath you, rather than forward of your hip.
Thread the needle” or “Reclined Figure 4′
Just as important as it is to strengthen those muscles, you want to stretch them. This is an excellent stretch for sciatica. You can do this stretch seated, standing, or lying down. If you’ve just finished your side leg series, you can rollover onto your back, bend both knees, bottoms of the feet on the floor, and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Now thread your right hand between the hole you’ve created in your legs, and your left hand on the left side of your left thigh….clasp your hands together and pull that left thigh toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in your right hip. You can also place your left foot flat on a wall and use the wall to hold up your legs…this allows you to relax your upper body. Flex your right toes back toward your right knee to protect your knee.