A Deep Dive – Knee to Chest
DR. SAMANTHA ROBIN
Pilates is a great form of exercise that can easily be done at home. Although props are helpful, most of the time all you need is a mat. Many of us, including me, turned to virtual classes during the pandemic. However, without the proper cueing, some pilates moves can be done improperly. Some major goals I have for my clients is to move with intention, understand alignment, and bring awareness to your body. I know we sometimes like to lose ourselves in our exercise but it is so important to be mindful. When you have a mind body connection to your movements, you will reap the most success out of your exercise.
One move that I commonly see done improperly is the hands and knees position as seen in this picture.
There are a lot of great exercises that can be done in this position. It involves the whole body including shoulder stability, core strength and hip stability. I especially love this position to improve glute and hip strength with a series of movements that target these muscles. Alignment is key for this posture. It is hard to stay stable when your leg or arm are moving, which creates an amazing core workout.
Some cues that I provide for alignment are:
- Roll your shoulders down and back
- Clients will forget to stabilize on their shoulders and start lifting their shoulders by their ears causing neck tension. Make sure to feel the muscles right underneath your armpit working.
- Hug your midline
- Feel a connection between your right and left side, drawing your belly button in. Even draw an imaginary line running through the center of your trunk that you should stay on.
- Don’t hang out on the supporting leg
- The leg that is down is the leg that is supporting you. Don’t fall over to the side letting the hip kick out. Stay engaged at your midline and lift up from the hip so that it is even with the opposite side
- Elongate from the crown of the head. Imagine you are wearing a necklace and push the back of your neck into the back of the necklace. Look a little in front of you on the floor.
- Neck position is so important to not cause neck pain. Make sure to stay neutral with your spine
- Do not extend your lower back
- I see so many people kicking their leg up way too high and getting extra movement in their back. The core should stay still as the leg moves.
Listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t continue. Sometimes we need to modify to keep an exercise safe. If you are having trouble keeping proper alignment, try one of these modifications:
- Place your elbows on a box or ottoman in front of you instead of being on your wrist
- Limit the range of motion
- Try short hold instead of fast pulses
Just remember Move with Purpose. When you do this, exercises become harder and more effective!
Questions on Pilates moves like this? Reach out to us!