John Appleby’s PILATES: Lower Back & Hip Flexors

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If you only have time for one exercise, do this back stretch.
Simply hug your knees close to your chest and enjoy.

TIP: Increase the stretch by lifting your head and shoulders.



Start from the back stretch position shown above (picture 1). Pull in your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to prepare for the exercise.

Hold the left knee and breathe in (picture 2), then as you breathe out, stretch the right leg towards the floor (picture 3). Breathe in again and return the right leg to the bent position towards your chest. Swap the hands over to the right leg and hold it in position, bent at the knee. Breathing out, now stretch the left leg towards the floor.

During the exercise maintain a neutral spine (the natural curve of your spine) by engaging the deep abdominal muscles (transversus abdominis muscle).

Repeat 5 to 10 times for each leg.


• For beginners or those with a neck problem: Keep your head on the mat and when you stretch your leg away from you, keep the leg high up rather than going too close towards the floor ( 45 degrees or higher).

• If you have difficulties with maintaining a neutral spine, only extend the leg vertically, towards the ceiling.

• For advanced level: Raise your head and shoulders off the mat, and stretch the leg away at 45 degrees or even lower. Do not let your lower back arch upwards.

JOHN APPLEBY’S MAT PILATES classes are available in a number of locations in the Ross-on-Wye area.
Tel: 01989 567 505 or 07760 341 543 Email:

John Appleby
John Appleby is a Pilates instructor teaching in various location in the Ross-on-Wye area. Tel: 01989 567 505
One Response to "John Appleby’s PILATES: Lower Back & Hip Flexors"
  1. Joe Slade says:

    I like the fact that these are simple but practical exercises that anyone can do from home to unlock your hip flexors and ease your lower back. Thanks for posting.

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