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Video:Pilates Leg Bend and Stretch With Exercise Band

with Kimberly Corp

The leg bend and stretch is an exercise that's great for toning, but must be done safely to maximize your results. Find how how to position yourself into the perfect pilates leg bend, and find out what mistakes you should avoid.See Transcript

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Transcript:Pilates Leg Bend and Stretch With Exercise Band

Hello, I am Kimberly Corp for Pilates on Fifth in New York City, for About.com.

Footwork with the exercise band is a great way to introduce leg-toning exercises into the pilates mat workout. Sometimes the mat workout is so ab-focused that you might not feel that your legs are getting great toning exercises. But, adding the band in allows you to do this great footwork exercise and you can tone the muscles of your legs.

This exercise is called Bend and Stretch. My model today is my sister, Catherine.

Pilates Leg Bend Exercise Position

To get your client into this safely, you want to use the abdominals to roll the hip bones up to meet the ribs, pick one knee up, and then the other knee up, and then place the band around feet. We will start with the toes apart and the heels together and you want to keep your lower back pressed against the mat and the belly button pointing toward the spine. Elbows stay on the mat to open the collarbone.

Bend the Leg

Inhale to prepare, exhale straighten the legs against the tension and inhale bend in. And exhale stretch and inhale bend. So do not just think about straightening the knee, also think of extending the hip, because as you move from here to here, you can think of using your hamstrings and hip extensors like you have tension against the thighs.

Pilates Leg Bend Tips

Make sure as you do this that the lower back does not pop off the mat, very important to keep the belly button pulled to the front wall of the spine. As you hold the band, it is important not to take tension into the neck and shoulders. So if you find that the tension you have created for yourself is too much, then just walk your hands up the band and hold closer to the edge and that will help out.

Finish the Leg Bend and Stretch Exercise

And to finish, bend both knees in, take the band away, and one foot comes down, and the other foot comes down. And that is the bend and stretch.

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