Do you ever wonder why we perform all of that side-lying leg work for your hip flexor mobility in Pilates? Why do these movements feel so tight as well as burn so much? This is some of the most vital work that you can do for strengthening your hips as well as supporting your hips, pelvis, lower back as well as knees.
If you’ve ever undergone physical therapy, the therapists make you do these exercises as well. In addition, they may even tell you that you should never stop doing them. That’s why we practise Pilates. Lengthening your hip flexors is one of the fastest ways to transform your thigh and pelvic region. Released hip flexors improve your Pilates technique and your overall physical performance.
The following exercise is deceptively challenging. It requires coordination of muscle patterning, brath and balance to achieve abdominal control and pelvic stability. Practise this exercise daily until you can intensify the movement with ease.
Gain hip flexor mobility with the leg float
- Lie supine with your legs bent as well as your feet positioned on the floor, hip-width apart, place your fingertips on the crease of your hips.
- As you exhale, engage your stabilisers and make sure that your spine remains long.
- Fold one leg to your chest with your leg bent at 90-degrees.
- Inhale to return to your starting position.
- Repeat 10 times on each side.
Ensure that the front of your thighs relax throughout the movement to counter the tendency for your hip flexors to dominate by engaging your gluteals and hamstrings. Pelvic stability is achieved by maintaining pelvic floor connection throughout the exercise.
If you want to simplify the leg float exercise, start from an assisted position with your feet resting on a stack of pillars, book or a chair. This reduces the range of movement requires to perfect the muscle patterning. Gradually reduce the height of the assisted position.
As you get stronger, you’ll want to intensify the exercise by suspending one leg and bringing your second leg into a leg float. Your belly must stay low throughout the movement with your back relaxed and pelvic stability maintained on the exchange. Place your first leg down and then gently lower your second leg. Repeat on alternating sides.
The imagery to keep in mind
Visualise a marble balancing on your pubic bone. As you lift your leg, you roll the marble to your navel. The marble should stay in this position throughout the exercise as your body appears completely still.
The gluteal, pelvic floor and transverse abdominal connections practised here should be performed with each exercise in a programme. For simplicity’s sake, these muscles will be referred to as the stabilisers. Make a concerted effort to perform these multiple connections with each movement and each time you are instructed to engage your stabilisers.
If this article has started your creative juices flowing then you may want to become a Pilates instructor. If you do want to follow this line of work then you need to study our Pilates Instructor Course. For more information, please follow this link.