I'm probably the only Pilates instructor whose husband is more flexible. Back in his hockey goalie days, he could do the splits. I have many talents, the splits will most likely never be one of them. Just not that bendy, which is fine by me. The more range of motion one possesses, the more responsibility needed to support that range. The bendy people can do cool tricks, but have to work pretty hard to stabilize their loosey, goosey joints. But improving/maintaining flexibilty and stability as more birthdays pass is necessary to remain painfree and active. I'm not a big fan of traditional static stretching, reach for your toes kind of way. I prefer dynamic stretching and, big shocker, Pilates.
After revisiting The Bicycle this week in classes, I decided to retake the pictures and was pleasantly surprised to see so much improvment. I wasn't specifically working on improving quad/hip flexor mobility/flexibility, but what do you know that right leg isn't sticking straight up in the air any more.
The top picture was taken last spring (April 2015). I wasn't happy with it at the time, my right thigh should be reaching more towards the floor, rather than straight up towards the ceiling. But that's where my bod could safely go at the time while stabilizing the lumbar spine. Bottom pic was taken today, January 19, 2016. And that's closer to what this exercise should look like. Still SAFELY working on mobility and making changes 12 years into teaching Pilates.
Figuring out how all your parts are put together and how they are supposed to interact with each other is a never ending process. Chances are none of us will be perfectly symmetrical and 100% efficient when moving joints, muscles, organs, etc. before our stay on this earth ends. Your body and the environment around it are constantly changing. You have to keep moving to support it appropriately.