Exercise #5590

Double Leg Stretch

3 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals

Objective: Maintain the connection of the abdominals to build a stronger core and flexibility in the hamstrings.

Apparatus: Mat

Start Position: Begin in a supine (laying down) position on the Mat.

Movement: Bring the legs up to a tabletop position. With an exhale, lift the head, neck, and shoulders, wrapping the hands around your shins. Maintaining abdominal connection, extend your arms and legs away from your center. Circle the arms around to bring the upper and lower body back together to the starting curled position. Repeat up to 10 times.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Let's talk about the double leg stretch. The double leg stretch is a traditional Pilates exercise that focuses on building and maintaining abdominal strength. So what we're doing is we're bringing spine into flexion and then isometrically holding the spine in flexion as that position of the body is challenged by the gravitational weight of the arms and the legs moving out from the center of the body in space. In this exercise, if you watch a variety of different styles of Pilates teachers, you'll see a variety of different ways of doing this exercise, but that's not important. You just follow the teacher or choose the choose the variation of the exercise that that you like the best, but what we'll show you today is the most classical version of that movement pattern.

It goes like this. We start down on the mat The legs come up into a bent position and the head and the chest come up as well. The hands, you might see on the knees, on the shins, on the ankles, but most classically, they're low on the legs and we're drawing the knees in towards the body. So what we're thinking about here is using a press down on the legs with the arms to curl the chest up, and we were creating like a Circular energy in the center of the body with the arms and with the abdominals. Now what we're trying to achieve here as we go into the movement pattern is to hold the height of the trunk as the arms and the legs reach out.

This is the most difficult part of the exercise. Where you have to hold the weight of gravity against the strength of your abdominals, which is the goal of the exercise. We then circle the arms around Take the legs again and exhale. Reach out. Feel the stretch in the body. Push the air as the arms come around and exhale breathing all the air out of the body and inhale.

Done this slowly, the exercise can be quite challenging. So you might just do 5 or 6 or if we get into a level where we're really speeding things up and moving with the breath, you could do up to 10. Inhale to reach, exhale to circle and take the legs, the double leg stretch.


I like how you made a point of keeping the trunk lifted. It really is the most difficult part!
Julie Lloyd
1 person likes this.
These break downs of the mat classes are most helpful. Thank you x
Katie S
1 person likes this.
Wonderful teaching. Merci!
Thanks gals!  So happy to hear that these are helpful.

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