Welcome to the second exercise in Pilates 5 abs series. Double leg Stretch kicks up the challenge on the Powerhouse just a notch. The abdominals are utilized to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulders as the arm and legs extend and move away from the body. This is an excellent example of “opposition”. I use this term a lot in my teaching. The primary challenge in this exercise is to maintain stability in the upper spine when reaching the arms back.
Lie back in the center of your mat
Bend knees into the Powerhouse
Place hands on shins close to the ankles
Lift the head, neck and shoulders off the mat
Inhale lengthen arms and legs simultaneously 45 degrees from the Powerhouse
Exhale circle the arms around and pull knees into the Powerhouse
After the last rep, lower the head, neck and shoulders to the mat.
If you have neck issues, keep your head, neck and shoulders on the mat and extend arms and legs to the ceiling. Issues with your knees? Hold behind the knee so the pulling in action is assisted by the back of the thigh. To emphasize the reach through the arms draw the shoulder blades on the back. Lastly for hip issues work the legs in a table top position. This is when the knee and hips are flexed only to a 90 degree angle. If you have a hip or knee replacement, please work a certified instructor until you are comfortable performing the exercises on your own.