Pilates Pose of the Week: Double-Leg Stretch

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Starting position with head lifted.

I love the double-leg stretch. This is the second exercise in the traditional ab series. Following the single-leg stretch, you can either flow right in to this exercise or, if you need a break, take a long stretch on the mat with your arms and legs reaching long.

 

When you’re ready — or from your ending position for single-leg stretch — bring the legs into table top to begin.

With your hands behind your head, inhale and curl up into that nice C-curve. This motion comes from your powerhouse, not from your neck. Tuck your chin to your chest as you lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat, coming to the tips of your shoulder blades.

If you’re going straight in to this exercise (like while you’re reading this post sitting on the couch), you may need a little warm up. If so, curl back down on an exhale and repeat just this abdominal curl 3-5 times, inhaling as you come up and exhaling down. Keep your legs in table top, shins parallel to the floor.

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Starting position with head lifted.

When you’re ready to continue the exercise, inhale and stretch long, arms by your ears and legs at about 45 degrees.

 

Exhale, circle your arms back around to your knees and repeat.

Try not to lose your lift and your curve. Remain still in your torso and keep your chin toward your chest. If this is challenging on your back, raise your legs to the ceiling (90 degrees).

Repeat 6 times.

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