In back pain rehabilitation this modification of Pilates' single leg stretch is targeting the control and coordination of the deep abdominal muscles - especially hip flexors, which have an important role in spinal alignment and segmental trunk control.
The correct way to do single leg stretches (legs passing):
- Lie on your back on a soft carpeted floor with your head in your arms.
- Tighten your tummy and press your low back into the floor to remove any lumbar arching.
- Bring your left knee towards your left armpit with the knee fully bent.
- As the left leg starts its return to the floor, lift the right leg so the legs pass in mid-air, at all times keeping the low back pressed into the floor.
- This is not a ‘bicycling action’ so you do not straighten either knee at any stage as this strains your low back.
- As each leg comes down, just brush the floor with the sole of your foot between excursions—that is, do not fully rest your leg on the floor.
- You will feel the midriff fully switched on as you control the weighty legs alternately passing one another.
- Continue for 60 seconds, moving the legs slowly and with control.
Your own physical condition and diagnosis may require specific modifications or precautions. Before undertaking any course of self-treatment you should consult a doctor or a physiotherapist.
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