26. The Leg Pull
If you can keep your shoulder blades out of your ears with this exercise and/or keep pressure off the wrists, you have definitely figured out how to organize the shoulder girdle. The Leg Pull can be pretty intense on the wrists and neck when when the scapulas creep up the rib cage towards the head. Definitely, master some or all of the modifications before trying the real deal. Those with neck, low back, SIJ, hamstring, knee, wrist, shoulder injuries, use caution or try a modification. And if you haven't figured it out by now, to make almost any Pilates mat exercise harder, just add a BOSU.
Classical/recommended start: seated with legs straight, hands behind pelvis.
1. Exhale to lift pelvis off ground until in line with shoulders and ankles.
2. Inhale to raise one foot towards ceiling without lowering pelvis. Kick leg twice.
3. Exhale to lower leg to floor. Repeat with other leg. Continue three to six reps each leg.
To maintain pelvic stability: tip pubic bone towards ceiling/nose, press non-kicking heel down into the floor.
To decrease head, neck and shoulder tension: press shoulder blades away from ears/hands into floor, point gaze about three feet off the floor, place more emphasis on maintaining alignment than how high you can kick the foot.
Modifications: fingers can point towards feet or away from each other, bend the knee of the non-kicking leg, place hands on higher surface (step, chair, weight bench), can use push bars or dumbbells, use foam roller, on elbows, eliminate the kick and perform reverse plank only.
Challenges: can always add BOSU or balance disc under feet