Kneeling arm/leg reach, sometimes called bird dog, is one of those Pilates moves that builds core strength and balance by challenging stability. It is often recommended as an exercise for people with back pain
. Though it is not a traditional Pilates exercise, kneeling arm/leg reach, done in a Pilates way, will build core strength
and encourage balance and symmetry in the body.
Time Required: 1 min
- Begin on your hands and knees.
Your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips at right angles to the floor.
Make your legs and feet parallel and hip distance apart.
See details on this leg position).
- Your neck treated as a long extension of your spine. So your face is parallel to the floor, gaze down.
- Your back is in a neutral spine position supported by your abdominal muscles which are pulled in. Don't let your back sag like an old horse, or arch up like a stretching cat.
- This exercise is going to require shoulder stability. Take a moment to slide your scapula (wing bones) down your back so that your shoulders are away from your ears, your chest is open, and your scapula are settled on your back, not poking up.
- Inhale: Extend your right arm straight in front of you and your left leg straight behind you at the same time. Your arm and leg will be parallel to the floor. This is the pose that reminds some people of a bird dog.
Please also see tips below.
- Balance. Hold one to three breaths.
- Exhale: Return to hands and knees.
- Inhale: Extend your left arm straight in front of you and your right leg straight behind you at the same time.
- This is a wonderful oppositional stretch where the head and tail bone are reaching away from each other, and the arm and leg are reaching in opposite directions along a diagonal through the body. It feels great, but don't get carried away. You still want to work for core strength and stability by keeping your shoulders even and down, and your pelvis stable and even as well.
- As you take you leg back, make sure it tracks straight back. Don't hike up your hip to take it back, just extend the leg out of the hip socket.