One of the elements of Pilates is to work the body in different planes of movement while the torso stabilizes along different planes relative to gravity. Up to this point we have worked the body laying on the back and the front, along with seated work. This series strengthens and stretches the hips. The Powerhouse assists in stabilizing the torso. When the pelvis and lower back are stable, this can assist with lower back pain. If your low back pain is caused by weak muscles in hips, back extensors and those used in the Powerhouse.
Repetitions: 8-10 each variation
Lie on your side – with back of shoulders and hips lined up with long edge of the mat
Head is either propped up on the bottom hand or lay the head on the bottom bicep
Bring both legs to the front corner of the mat
Place top hand in front of abdominals about 6 inches from the body
Front/Back – Lift top leg hip height. Double pulse the leg forward with a flexed foot, point toes lengthen leg back for two pulse
Lower/Lift – Point toes - lift top leg to hip height - lengthen leg long - flex foot to lower. Reverse after five reps.
Small Circles – Lift top leg up to hip height. Make small circles in one direction brushing the inner thigh - Reverse
Inside Leg Lifts/Circles – Bend top leg and place foot on the floor in front of the bottom thigh. Lower and lift bottom leg then circle 5 times in each direction
Finale – Large Leg Circles – Bicycle - Scissors
As a transition to the other side, roll on to front, stack hands one on top of the other, rest forehead on hand. Lengthen legs hover knees off the mat and beat the heels together using inner thigh muscles. Roll to lie on the other side and repeat series on other leg.
Roll on your back in the center of the mat.
Focus on stabilizing the torso as the leg moves. Control is the key factor here as we work the moving leg. As you are lying on your side keep the torso squared off. Think of your top leg reaching longer than the bottom leg. This will give a "lift" feeling at the waist. The squaring off the torso is keeping hips and shoulder stacked on top of each other. Visualize your back lengthened against a wall. Keep working the opposition of the spine through this series.