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Movement Monday: Mastering the Pilates Leg Pull Prone

Challenge Your Stability: Strengthen your core and glutes with the Leg Pull Prone. Perfect for Pilates matwork.
Mastering the Leg Pull Prone: Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine for optimal trunk stability.

Welcome to Movement Monday! Today, we’re focusing on the Leg Pull Prone, a powerful Pilates matwork exercise designed to challenge trunk stability by using the core to stabilise the spine. The movement of the legs further tests this stability, making it an excellent addition to any Pilates routine.

Preparing for the Leg Pull Prone

Before diving into the Leg Pull Prone, it’s essential to prepare your body with a solid foundation. Starting with a plank on your knees is a great way to build the necessary strength and alignment.

Knee Plank Preparation:

  1. Position: Begin on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

  2. Alignment: Step your knees back slightly to form a straight line from your head to your knees. Engage your core and glutes, and maintain a neutral spine position.

  3. Hold: Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds, focusing on breathing and keeping your shoulders stabilised, your core engaged, and your spine in a neutral position.

Transition to the Leg Pull Prone

Once you’re comfortable with the knee plank, you’re ready to progress to the full Leg Pull Prone.

Starting Position:

  1. Move from the knee plank to a full plank position, with hands directly under the shoulders and feet hip-width apart.

  2. Ensure your body forms a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core and glutes to maintain a neutral spine position.


  1. Inhale to prepare, maintaining the plank position.

  2. Exhale as you lift one leg off the mat, keeping it straight and in line with the body. Focus on engaging the glutes and using your core to stabilise the spine.

  3. Hold the leg lift for a count of two, ensuring the supporting leg remains strong and the shoulders stay stabilised.

  4. Inhale to lower the leg back to the mat with control, maintaining a neutral spine throughout.

  5. Repeat the movement on the opposite leg, alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions.

Common Mistakes and Corrections

  1. Sagging Hips:

  • Mistake: Allowing the hips to drop can strain the lower back.

  • Correction: Emphasise engaging the core and glutes to maintain a straight line from head to heels and keep the spine neutral.

  1. Shoulder Misalignment:

  • Mistake: Shoulders creeping up towards the ears or collapsing.

  • Correction: Cue clients to press into the mat with their hands, broadening the collarbones and keeping the shoulders away from the ears.

  1. Overarching the Lower Back:

  • Mistake: Lifting the leg too high can cause the lower back to arch.

  • Correction: Instruct clients to lift the leg only to hip height, focusing on glute engagement rather than height, and keeping the spine neutral.

  1. Neck Tension:

  • Mistake: Holding tension in the neck and upper trapezius.

  • Correction: Remind clients to keep the neck long and gaze slightly forward, maintaining the natural curve of the cervical spine.

Teaching Tips

  1. Use Verbal and Visual Cues: Combine descriptive language with demonstrations to help clients understand the exercise.

  2. Provide Modifications: Offer easier variations, such as performing the leg lift from a forearm plank or with knees on the mat, for clients who need additional support.

  3. Encourage Mindful Movement: Remind clients to move with control and focus, maintaining awareness of their body alignment and neutral spine throughout the exercise.

  4. Demonstrate Proper Form: Show clients the correct alignment and movement before they attempt the exercise.

By mastering the Leg Pull Prone, you can help your clients build a stronger, more stable core, enhance their upper body strength, and improve their overall balance and coordination. This exercise is a valuable addition to any Pilates matwork routine, offering both challenges and rewards for practitioners of all levels. Happy Movement Monday and happy teaching!


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