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!
LEG PULL FRONT
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!