By Pilates instructor – Emma Boggi
We have had them exposed all summer and as February draws to a close and brings Autumn closer to us, it might be time to think about how we can work on those pins as the months get colder so when Summer returns with vengeance they are ready to be exposed. Apart from the obvious grooming (tanning, waxing etc.)…most of us will not have given much thought to the shape or form of those things that dangle from the end of our torso and get us from A to B.
Naturally the aesthetics are important but don’t underestimate the importance of the mechanisms. Healthy muscle tone will look great but it’s nothing in comparison to how good it feels on hips, knees and ankles. Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen and lengthen legs while working on good alignment from hip to ankle.
Your adductors (inner thigh muscles) are a busy bunch. The young girls fuss about “thigh gap” but really this group of muscles has a much bigger role, steering your pelvis along and also influencing further down the chain towards the medial side of your knees. Add in your quads and hamstrings and you have a beautiful synergy that works to flex and extend your hips and knees as you stride along. So it’s really important to have some tone in these guys so your legs not only look good but also function beautifully and hopefully offset any knee pain.
So what exercises are going to create this lovely symphony of muscular mechanics?
Prone (which is lying on your tummy) single leg lifts are great for strengthening & lengthening hamstrings.
Side lying double leg lift will also works quads and hamstrings
(isometrically contracting) along with your abdominals as you stabilize your self while you lie on your side, so it’s a fabulous all round work out.
Leg and footwork on the reformer are another great set of exercises to tone up legs and work on your hip/knee/ankle alignment. There is also a great calf series as part of this workout, which really works calves hard.
And some inner thigh squeezes of the magic circle will definitely warm-up those adductors.
There are some links below to show you the mat work so check them out, but don’t be afraid to jump into the Pilates studio to have pins to die for this summer.
Prone single leg lifts
Side lying double leg lift
Magic Circle inner thigh squeeze
Feature Image credit: ilovegreeninspiration.com Image credit: Getty images
The exercises that Emma discusses in her blog are for bodies that have no prior injury or existing pathology. Please consult your physician before you commence any exercise program.