Difficulty holding Legs in the Air doing Pilates

by Laura

I've recently joined a Pilates class and have been finding your site very helpful.

I've been having a problem with a few of the exercises and I'm hoping you can give me some advice.

A lot of the exercises I do involve laying on my back and putting my legs straight in the air.

For whatever reason, I can't hold my legs in the air.

I have strong stomach muscles and strong leg muscles.

So, why can't I do this simple move?

Please help.


I find that when people first attend a Pilates class and state afterwards, “I didn’t feel a thing” or “What’s the point?”

Most people want the BURN or the HEART-POUNDING I’M GONNA DIE workout. If people don’t get the BURN right away, they quickly move on and never return to take another Pilates class. (And what a shame that is.)

Others may leave the class feeling like, "Wow!" I didn't know I had that many muscles, and "Boy, I thought I was in shape, but it sure is hard to keep my legs in the air for that long!" Just like how you feel.

What they don’t realize is that, without a doubt, Pilates can make your heart leap out of your chest and you can feel that internal muscle burn and quiver!

The KEY: You have to learn to use the smaller muscles, not just the larger ones!

Check out some free Pilates tips on this page.

Our core abdominal muscles are our support and stability for our whole body, especially our heavy legs.

That's why if these deeper transverse abdominal muscles are not developed we will not be able to hold our legs in the air, not for long anyway.

If you’re constantly moving from your larger muscle groups, you will feel nothing, except maybe a strain in your lower back.

Everything will seem easy, disconnected, and boring. Your musculature will never change, and you will most likely overdevelop those larger muscle groups, possibly leading to an injury or chronic pain.

What I know for sure and have experienced in my own body is, YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR MOVEMENT PATTERNS – PERIOD!

That’s what Pilates gives you in the beginning.

Check out this page to get some Beginner Pilates tips.

You have to be patient with this form of exercise until you learn to move efficiently, which means using all the muscle groups, and not only the larger ones.

Once you learn the fundamentals of Pilates and your body restructures or rewires its movement patterns, you’ll get that HEART POUNDING LIKE NO OTHER feeling.

(Just you wait and see!) In Pilates we call it an internal shower, and it’s addictive!

So be patient and kind with yourself in the beginning and keep your legs in a bent position until your muscles are strong enough to support them straight, or put your hands under your bottom to help support your legs in the air. You will get there, I promise!

Get the newly revised Pilates Ebook here today for thorough instruction to help you get the most out of your workout.

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