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Uncover the single straight-leg stretch

This is an excerpt from Pilates Illustrated by Portia Page.

Single Straight-Leg Stretch


  • Intermediate


  • Pain in, injuries to, or chronic conditions of the trunk or shoulders


  • Abdominals and muscles of the legs, arms, and back


  • Strengthens the abdominals
  • Increases upper back and hamstring flexibility
  • Teaches core control
  • Teaches breath and movement coordination

1 Lie on your back with one leg reaching toward the ceiling and the other leg stretched from the hip above the mat. Lift your head, and reach with both arms toward the lifted leg, holding onto the calf from behind. If your flexibility is limited, you may take hold of the leg above the knee.


2 Pull the lifted leg toward you as the leg parallel to the mat pulses away from you and you inhale quickly two times.


 3 Exhale as you switch legs. Repeat the sequence with the new leg positions. Repeat, alternating legs, for 5 to 10 sets.


Read more about Pilates Illustrated.