How to Do a Single Leg Stretch in Pilates: Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

The single leg stretch in Pilates is a mat exercise that focuses on the core muscles and the lower body. The exercise focuses on building strength and stamina, along with muscle stability.

This exercise differs from a straight leg stretch, as it’s focus isn’t on just the hamstrings. You can, however, combine the two stretches during your Pilates days for optimum effect.


Correct form of doing single leg stretch

Lie down on your back, and keep your knees bent. Make sure that your shins are parallel to the floor.

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Next, lift your upper body from your shoulder blades and lower body from the hips. Extend your legs while you lift your lower body, and bring your right knee towards your chest while the left leg remains extended.

Use both hands to pull your right leg close to your upper body, and let go once you feel the stretch. Move your right leg back to the neutral position, and repeat for the left leg.


Tips for doing single leg stretch

There are various ways to improve the exercise, and you can do that by following these tips:

Keep your core muscles engaged

It’s important to keep your abdominal muscles engaged. This is what helps you maintain balance and stability during the exercise. The more stability you have, the better it’ll be for you to pull your legs closer to your upper body.

Control your breathing

Inhaling as your knee comes towards your chest and exhaling as it moves back is an important part of the exercise.

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That way you control your breathing, which will have a significant impact on how you feel during the exercise. If your mind connects with the movement, you’ll want to continue with it for a long time.

Maintain stability

The exercise is based on how much stability you can provide your body with. It could be tricky to maintain a proper posture during the exercise if you’re a beginner, but you should try to hold the position as long as you can before relaxing.


Benefits of single leg stretch in Pilates

The single leg stretch in Pilates focuses on working the abdominal muscles along with allowing the arms and legs to move.

Almost every exercise that focuses on the core muscles will help develop a stabilisation for the upper body and protection against pain.

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Furthermore, this exercise helps build flexibility and mobility, while developing a range of motion and coordination.


Common mistakes

If you want to make sure you master this exercise as quickly as possible, you need to be aware of some of the common mistakes:

Upper body movement

Whenever you’re doing the single leg stretch, the overall movement should be with your arms and legs. Do not move your upper body, or disengage from the core.

If you feel your upper body getting involved in any shape or form apart from engaged core muscles, do the leg switches slower to maintain control.

Turning to bicycle exercise

Additionally, this exercise can swiftly turn into a bicycle motion. You need to be well aware that this exercise does not take on the cycling motion at any point.


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