Pilates Exercise of the Month: Sciatic Stretch

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Image of Exercise

Aim

To stretch the sciatic nerve

Starting Position

Lie supine on the floor with both knees bent.  Bend the right knee in towards the chest and place a stretch band behind the foot.  The band is held in the opposite hand to the foot (i.e. left hand).  Extend the right leg away from the body until the leg is as straight as possible.  Bring the leg towards the chest (hamstring stretch) as far as a neutral pelvis allows

Action

Inhale - to prepare

Exhale - Guide the right leg across the body towards the left side, using the band to pull it gently over to the opposite side.  Simultaneously bring the left bent knee also towards the opposite right side, ensuring that the foot stays on the floor.  Effectively the legs criss cross eah other.

There are 2 actions for the straight leg here: the leg comes towards the chest: the leg comes across the body.  Use the right hand to press down on the right hip so that it does not lift away from the floor as the leg comes across the body.

Target Muscles

Sciatic nerve, hamstrings

Watchpoints

  • Ensure that the hip and buttock of the straight leg stays on the floor to prevent them from lifting
  • Keep the waist long and equal on both sides to avoid hip hitching
  • Keep the foot flexed to ensure a nerve stretch
  • The knee must be as straight as possible to gain maximum benefit from the stretch
  • A nerve stretch can often be unpleasant so be careful not to go too far and overstretch
  • Ensure the spine stays in neutral with the head on the floor
  • Keep the neck long

Contra Indictions

More Exercises... 1 - 20 of 53
Quadricep Lean Backs with Pelvic Rock

  To work the quadriceps

OPEN WINDOWS EXERCISE

  To open the chest and shoulder muscles and learn good workings of the scapula stabilising muscles

More info about OPEN WINDOWS EXERCISE
SINGLE LEG STRETCH WITH BACKSTROKE SWIMMING ARMS

  To work the abdominals whilst maintaining scapula and pelvic stability

AROUND THE GLOBE

  To work the oblique abdominals whilst achieving segmental control of the spine

More info about AROUND THE GLOBE
Legs in straps

  To prepare the body and mind for the more challenging work later on when the feet are in the straps.  To reinforce the powerhouse connection.

More info about Legs in straps
SHOULDER BRIDGE WITH HAMSTRING CURL

  To maintain a strong bridge position with neutral pelvis and also maintain an equal height in the pelvis whilst the feet push the roller forwards and backwards

SINGLE LEG DOGGIES

 To work the core abdominals, whilst maintaining lumbar and scapula stability.  To challenge balance and co-ordination

More info about SINGLE LEG DOGGIES
Side lying obliques

  This exercise strengthens and stretches the oblique abdominals and lateral flexors

More info about Side lying obliques
Hip Circles

  This is a challenging exercise for the core abdominals to maintain pelvic stability

More info about Hip Circles
DOUBLE LEG PRESS WITH THE HEAD OFF THE FLOOR

  To work the abdominals whilst maintaining a neutral pelvis

The Scale

  To work the abdominals and stretch the hamstrings, whilst hinging from the waist

More info about The Scale
Dolphins

  To strengthen the upper body whilst maintaining scapula stability

More info about Dolphins
Around the Globe

  To work the oblique abdominals whilst achieving segmental control of the spine

More info about Around the Globe
Handstand Preparations

  This is a very challenging exercise, which strengthens the upper body and requires great control and balance

More info about Handstand Preparations
SWAN DIVE ROLLING PLANK

  To use the core to stabilise the body in a plank position whilst moving from the shoulder joint and to maintain scapula stability whilst the body is in motion

More info about SWAN DIVE ROLLING PLANK
LEG WORK

To work the adductors whilst maintaining an upright posture

More info about LEG WORK
Half curl up with leg raise

  To work the abdominals, whilst maintaining pelvic stability

ROLL LIKE A BALL WITH ARM CIRCUMDUCTION

  To work the abdominals and massage the spine and open out the chest and shoulders whilst balancing

Quadricep Lean Backs with Pelvic Rock

  To work the quadriceps

Adductor Stretch against the wall with side bend

  To stretch the adductors and lateral spinal flexors

1 - 20 of 53
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