Video: Pilates for Legs

Here is part 3 of the pilates video: The Glutes Routine.

Strengthening the leg muscles can add strength and stability to your  lower back area.  You might never guess that your legs could be causing you lower back pain, but as I always say, everything is connected.  Most leg muscles originate from the pelvis and any muscle imbalance in the legs can have an effect in shifting, tilting or rotating the pelvis and upsetting the natural balance of the body, thus causing lower back pain.

Pilates is a system of exercises which targets and strengthens core muscles.  This video teaches some exercises for toning the legs.  It especially works the inner thigh muslces (adductors) and the outer hip muscles (abductors).  These 2 muscle groups work together to stabilize your hips in both athletic or non-athletic activity.  Like the glutes, dysfunction in the leg muscles is rarely felt in the legs themselves, but rather in the lower back.

Practising these exercises on a regular basis will help to strengthen your leg stability muscles and can give you greater ease standing or walking as well as improved performance in athletics.

You should only try these exercises if you have a very strong core and are relatively athletic already.  If you have a weak lower back or abs, you may find these exercises especially difficult or even painful.  If you are healthy enough to do these exercises, they can be an important step in improving your health.

Guidelines for performing the exercises:

  1. Check with a health care professional before you attempt these exercises to ensure that it is safe for you.  It is especially important to rule out any disc problems before you do this exercise.
  2. Do not do these exercises if you have any kind of acute low back pain or pain due to a herniated disc .
  3. Do the exercises carefully.  Failing to follow the instructions or consult with a health care professional could cause your symptoms to worsen.
  4. Pilates is a very technical exercise.  It works very well because of the finely-tuned movements.  To get the most of the exercises it is best and safest to go to a pilates class or work with a pilates instructor.
  5. Be very careful with the position of the lower back.  It should be in a neutral position for the exercises.  It should not be arched or rounded.  In some of the exercises, you may feel like you do  not have the strength to keep your lower back in a neutral position.  You may feel like you cannot stop it from arching or rounding.  In this case, do not do that particular exercise as it may do more harm than good.  Challenging and potentially dangerous exercises are the seal, the hundred and the hundred prep.
  6. You should feel a bit of a workout when doing these exercises, but you should not feel any pain.  If you do feel pain, especially sharp or intense pain, stop immediately.
  7. Do not feel like you have to do all the exercises.  Only do the ones that you are most comfortable with when you are starting.  Listen to your body.
  8. As you gain strength and confidence over the weeks, you may want to add back the exercises that you had skipped.  Only do so when you are sure that you can do the exercise safely.
  9. If you cannot find a comfortable, pain free way to do these exercises, discontinue immediately and seek the advice of a health care professional.
  10. Try to do the exercises at least twice a week to start off.   You can increase the frequency as you build up strength.