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Pilates/lower back and thighs


Can you give me a couple of pilates movements for my situation? My lower back gets tight from driving all day, and this is compounded by my belly.
What happens is, when standing, I am unable to lift my knees straight up verticly without having them splay out to the side. When I try to keep them straight I can only get up so far.
Is not so bad except for the fact I coach hockey and soccer, and this keeps me from skating and dribbling as well as I could before I got fat and started driving for a living.
Hockey skating crossovers are difficult, and I can no longer juggle a soccer ball, which requires the top of your foot to stay level with the ground.
Thanks for any help!

HI Sue,

Apologies for the late response.

Sitting for long periods of time will shorten your hamstrings  as well as put you in a flexed position in your low back - hence your associated stiffness.

If it is possible it would be great if you could stop your car to stretch several times throughout the day.  A simple Hamstring stretch will help.
from a standing position place the heel of one foot on a raised base, your car seat will be fine - standing outside of course... Stand tall and lengthen your spine now hinge gently forward - this should create a stretch at the back of your thigh.  Hold this stretch for 20/30 seconds then change legs.  If you feel this at the back of your knee simple bend the knee until you feel it in your hamstring.  If your hamstrings are particularly
short and stiff it may take time before you feel the stretch in the right place but preserver.  Avoid the temptation to bounce down on the stretch, simply find the first point of tension, then hold the stretch, if the sense of stretch eases then lean further into the stretch - only hold each stretch for a maximum of 30 seconds before changing legs, you can repeat this up to four times on each side.

To help to release your low back during the day,  you can so a simple pelvic tilt from a standing position.  Standing with feet hip width apart, bend your knees slightly then place your hands on your mid thigh.  Breathe out as you pull your pelvic underneath you lengthening and stretching your low back, inhale to return to a neutral position - repeat this 4/5 times.  You can also do this stretch from a four point kneeling position on your hands and knees.  It is also very relaxing to perform this exercise laying on your back with your knees bent, heels in line with your buttocks - this will also release your psoas which may become short due to your extended sitting.  Simply lay on your back knees bent, as you breath out roll your pelvis back against the floor, then inhale to return to your neutral position - repeat 5/6 times.

I hope this is helpful.



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One of the founding directors of the Pilates Institute UK teacher trainer for 10 years worldwide, presenter at mind body conventions world wide. Authors of Pilates and Golf published in 2005. In the fitness industry since 1979

Pilates diploma - Pilates Institute UK. Massage Therapist. Aston Pilates qualified

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Clients include organisations that require teachers trained, physiotherapists at St. Thomas's hospital, London. Pilates teachers who need ongoing training and career advice and private clients who attend my studio in Ramatuelle, in the South of France.

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