This is an excerpt from Pilates and Conditioning for Athletes by Amy Lademann & Rick Lademann.
The single-leg stretch increases the flexibility of your hip flexors, strengthens your core, and stretches your back and legs. Because your upper body remains in flexion throughout the series, your entire powerhouse works, which increases your stamina and endurance.
- Lie supine. The knees are bent, feet on the floor hip-width apart, and arms alongside the body (a).
- Exhale while straightening one leg and place the hands firmly on the shin of the opposite leg just below the knee. The knee comes in to the body just beyond tabletop while the other leg extends away fully from the body at a 45-degree angle (b).
- Inhale as that leg comes back toward the body, and exhale to extend the other leg while holding the bent leg with both hands.
Repeat, inhaling as the legs pass and exhaling as the single leg extends. Extend each leg 6 to 10 times.