Exercise of the Month: Leg Pull Front

We are half way through January! At this point, some of us might be revisiting our New Year’s resolutions and goals to see how we are doing thus far. Whether your goal was to move more, eat less, be kinder, slow down, or some combination of these, it’s still very early in the year to think about what we would like to accomplish and how we want to feel. Even if you’ve found yourself off course, it’s not too late to hop back on the resolution train!

For me, I know a good workout is exhilarating and motivating. Each workout usually includes some version of plank (since I love the benefits of working the core – I mean, the core is where essentially EVERY movement begins).

This month, we are featuring an exercise that will take your planking skills up a notch, challenge the core even more and get those wonderful muscles firing all over!


This exercise is a core strength builder that literally engages every part of the body (a bonus for those of you who appreciate a full body workout as well as efficiency). While this is an exercise that uses many muscles, it is considered a beginner Pilates exercise and can be done on the mat without any equipment.

How to do Leg Pull Front:

  • Start on your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of you – fingers pointing straight ahead. Arms are straight and elbows unlocked. Knees should be lined up under the hips and wrists lined up under the shoulders.
  • Press your chest away from the mat, engaging the shoulders and making sure those shoulder blades aren’t popping up towards the ceiling.
  • Engage your abdominals (drawing naval to spine), lengthen your spine (thinking reaching top of your head forward out in front of you) as you float those knees off the mat. Step one foot back at a time to a plank position.
  • With abdominals lifted, legs are straight and together behind you. Your toes are curled under so that some weight is on the balls of your feet.
  • Double check your position: Your ears, shoulders, hips and heels should be in one long line.
  • Engaging the abdominals even more, extend one leg from the hip so that your foot lifts off the mat a few inches. Remember – the movement is initiated by using your core, not just from the back of the leg.
  • Focusing on length (rather than height of that lifted leg) will help keep abs engaged and from “crunching” into the low back.
  • Return your foot to the mat and switch to the other side.
  • Repeat the lift five to seven times on each side.


  • Improve scapular stability
  • Enhance stabilization of the trunk
  • Strengthen abdominals
  • Strengthen arms


  • Let your breath help you through this exercise. Breathe fully and keep those abdominals engaged and pulled in.
  • Keeping your legs and butt engaged and pulling in toward your center will take some pressure off of the upper body.
  • Keep the elbows close to your sides at all times.


  • If you have wrist problems, try to place a towel under the wrist or lower down to your forearms for the exercise.
  • Watch that the low back doesn’t sag or arch towards the mat.
  • Avoid during mid-late stage pregnancy.

***As with all exercises programs, please consult with your physician and know your limitations prior to starting a new workout regimen.***

Once you have mastered this exercise on the mat, come on into Pilates in East and one of our instructors will have you perform a version of ‘Leg Pull Front’ on the reformer! Just when you thought it was beginning to feel easy, they will help you get deeper into the exercise, find ways to build more strength and push you to become the best version of yourself!


January’s Featured Instructor: Iona Ruiter


Our first featured instructor of 2017 is Iona Ruiter. Iona is a champ in all sense of the word! She just gave birth to her second child (10lbs 3oz 100% naturally!) this past month and taught classes up until right before she delivered her sweet little daughter.

Although she was never a fan of working out, Iona found Pilates in 2011 after a couple years of being married and “starting to feel a little softer.” She had heard about the benefits of Pilates – toning with lean muscle – and decided to give it a try. She loved what she saw, how she felt and eventually wanted to share this passion with others by becoming an instructor.

Not only has Iona thoroughly enjoyed the physical benefits of Pilates, the emotional stress reliever was an added bonus for her. “Emotionally I feel like a weight has been lifted, I always found Pilates to be a great stress reliever because I have such a busy mind. The mind body connection you get with Pilates makes it so I don’t think about everyday life. I only think of what my body is doing using my mind to focus and create healthy movement with my body. That is why I fell in love with Pilates! For me it does not feel like a workout, it feels almost like a form of meditation.”

Iona loves being an instructor and in between being a mom, doing Pilates on her own and finding time to walk and hike with her husband and 2 little ones, she loves that she has found a career that does not feel at all like work! When asked what her favorite part of being an instructor is, Iona said, “I always love the positive feedback from clients whether it be that they really enjoyed the workout, that they thought something new that we did was really interesting, that they learned something new, or that they notice how much stronger they are getting and that they are finally able to do that one thing that they couldn’t before. To me that is the best feeling.”

One of Iona’s passions in working with her clients is working with prenatal and postnatal women. “I discovered Pilates before being pregnant with either of my children, so I really enjoy working with prenatal women, I also suffered from diastasis recti [abdominal separation] after my first so postnatal Pilates is a true passion of mine. I learned so much from the experience and was able to make my most recent postpartum part of pregnancy so much easier. I still have the diastasis, but it’s so much less severe this time and I already feel so much stronger. I’ve done so much research on the condition and love to share my knowledge and passion about the issue.”

Prior to her work as an instructor at Pilates in East, Iona became certified in the pink ribbon program, which helps breast cancer survivors learn how to move their bodies again after their treatment. Iona is truly a caring and informative instructor who will give you a challenging workout but also feel like a friend after the hour class.

When asked what advice she would share with someone new to Pilates or Barre, Iona said, “Don’t give up if it seems too hard, and ask questions!!! Also listen to your body, don’t push your body too much thinking you have to be doing the exercises like the person next to you. It’s about teaching your body how to move, and we are all at different levels physically. That’s why you really need to focus on you mentally and physically, and how often do we really get a chance to do that in this day and age?”

Iona will be back in the studio before we know it. Check out the schedule and come check out a class!


Happy New Year From Pilates in East!


Happy New Year! For most people, January 1st is a time for us to set new goals, new aspirations and resolutions for the upcoming year. It is a time of refresh and blank slates. It is a time when people push themselves to try new things and jump past the boundaries of comfort zones.

If Pilates has ever been on your radar as an activity that you’d someday like to experience, we invite you into Pilates in East to meet one of the instructors and give a class a try. In order to make this new experience even more seamless and less intimidating, we are committed this year to featuring our instructors each month – for you to get to know them better, to hear their stories (how they found Pilates and why they love it) and to provide more insight on why we, as a team at Pilates in East, are committed to helping our community feel stronger, healthier and happier.

Here’s to a stronger year full of bold goals!