Single Leg Stretch (Pilates)

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.

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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.

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression:

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