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An In-Office Pilates Move—Single Knee Lifts

One of the many great things about Pilates is that it helps balance out the overuse and underuse of muscles to relieve daily aches and pains. When sitting at a desk for multiple hours at a time, the combined lack of movement and constant forward sitting position causes your head, neck, shoulders, upper, mid, low back and hips to take a beating. Once you have an understanding how to engage your “Core,” it is quite easy to turn those muscles on to put into action anywhere you are at, including the office.

The following Pilates exercise, Single Knee Lifts, has been modified so you can practice it while sitting at your desk, Use this move to turn those core muscles on and start working on balancing the use of muscles to improve your posture.

Target Areas in addition to Core: 1. Mobilize hip joint 2. Engages mid back muscles to support the neck

Position: Seated at the edge of your chair, knees bent 90 degrees feet flat on the floor parallel and sit bone distance apart. Arms hang straight down on the sides of the chair (or if you have arm rests then to the front seat of the chair), and palm of hands press into edge of the chair. Torso should start and stay stacked on top of the hips

Movement: Inhale through the nose expanding the back and sides of your ribs (the opening of a wind sail). Exhale through your mouth funneling/narrowing your front ribs (closing of a wind sail) and narrowing your front hip bones. Inhale again for 3 counts and at the same time, roll the left foot (heel, ball toe) approximately 1 – 2 inches off the ground with the knee pointing straight towards the ceiling. On your exhale slowly return the foot to the floor (rolling toe, ball, heal). Repeat with the right leg. This should all be done while staying evenly waited on both sit bones, and not pushing or slouching into your low back (a.k.a. maintaining your core contraction).

Repetitions: Lift each knee 6 – 10 times alternating.

Visual Cues: As the knee is lifting, visualize your knee as a helium balloon, slowly floating up towards the sky. As the knee lowers visualize the helium balloon is slowly floating back down to the ground.

Modification: If your foot can not leave the ground without maintaining a core contraction and proper alignment, then modify the movement by rolling the foot up just to the tip toe still on the ground, hold for 3 counts and roll back down.

Side Notes:

1. Make sure to articulate through the bottom of the foot, as this is also a great way to loosen up ankles and feet that are in shoes all day

2. Keep the knee lift small to stay out of the hip flexors.

If you are new to Pilates and want to learn how to turn on those Core Muscles, call 310.798.7600 or click here to book your Introductory Pilates Package today!


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