How to do Pilates table legs

AActivating your core is the key to so many Pilates moves, but actually finding and activating those core muscles can feel like you’re looking for something when you don’t even know what it looks like.

But there’s a simple way to set up your Pilates routine for success, and that’s back to basics. That is, doing the legs of the Pilates table in the correct way.

“That might not sound like much,” says Go Chlo Pilates founder Chloe de Winter. However, “when you do your Pilates plank correctly, you feel great activation through your core and abdominal muscles, and it feels great.”

Not to be confused with the tabletop position in yoga, where you’re on your hands and knees, Pilates table legs involve lying on your back, with your legs in the air above your hips and your knees bent in a 90 degree angle. It’s the starting point for so many Pilates moves, like leg and arm touches and extensions, roll-ups and more.

De Winter says the move is “simple” but deceptively complicated, as there are multiple ways to go wrong. “Little tweaks will really make you feel a lot better and a lot stronger at your tables,” she says. These are the three great tips from her:

1. Find a neutral backbone

To get that core activation, you’ll want to make sure your lower back is in that Goldilocks position: not too arched and not too flattened, but just a little curve. De Winter says to imagine creating enough room for a blueberry under your lower back, and then lifting it up through the front of your core (not arching your back further).

2. Align knees over hips

You can also ensure good form and activation by keeping your knees above your hips, without extending them too far or squeezing them too tight.

3. Don’t tense your shoulders

Finally, keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. The work should come from your core, not from a tense upper body.

If you follow these three tips, your Pilates table and practice are sure to be sturdy and supportive.

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