Pilates: Variations in Footwork

By Denise Vidal

In one of my first blogs, I wrote about the importance of calf muscle tone.  By stretching and strengthening the calf muscles, we not only increase the blood flow throughout the entire leg, we also allow for better ankle mobility. Healthy ankle mobility, as well proper hip joint movement, is essential for efficient posture and gait. Therefore, we are going to build on last week’s footwork blog to include an ankle movement, similar to how you would push off the floor when walking.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and put your hands on your hips.  Inhale and sit back into a squat position, feeling your sits bones widen and your thigh bones roll back in the sockets. As you slowly exhale, feel your sits bones narrow and your thigh bones roll forward in the socket to stand back up. While standing, imagine your lower leg, upper leg, and pelvis stacking on top of your ankle bone. Keep this relationship while attempting to lift your heels off the floor. As you do this, your sits bones will continue to narrow, and your pelvic floor muscles will contract. Inhale as you slowly lower your heels. When your heels touch, move right into another squat position and continue with the sequence above: squat, stand, lift heels, then lower heels.

Do this ten times in a row, remembering to coordinate your breath with the movement.

This variation of footwork can also be done on the reformer, with an added bonus of a calf stretch as you lower your heels. If you would like to give it a try, give Beyond Basics a call and schedule an appointment.  If you have any pelvic pain, bladder or bowel frequency or retention, you should speak to your pelvic floor physical therapist before attempting to do any pelvic floor contractions, because this may cause the muscles to tighten even more and increase your symptoms.

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