• Joy Bylsma

Heel Slides "Pilatesized"

Heel slide is a common exercise used in rehabilitating the hips and knees either pre or post surgery. It is also used with stabilizing the lumbopelvic region to prevent back dysfunction. Using the extension straps with the leg springs as seen in the photo, adds another level to just doing heel slides for the sake of gaining hip and knee mobility. “Pilatisizing” an exercise, as I call it, involves incorporating the basic principle of Pilates such as proper breathing technique and alignment of spine and pelvis as the heel slide is performed. Furthermore, this gives the client feedback and allows better facilitation of the extensor musculature. The result is a more controlled movement of the leg with stabilization of the spine and less effort to do a heel slide.

Another benefit of the leg springs with extension straps is to assist the hip flexors during 90/90 position, otherwise known as table top position.  When the core or the deep abdominal muscles are still weak as the case for those just beginning an exercise program, it’s not always easy to maintain the table top position and too often we see the psoas overworking or  too much of “butt tucking” will occur which results to overcompression of  the low back.   Maintaining a neutral spine is important during rehabilitation and for core strengthening.  Using the leg springs with extension straps is very helpful in achieving this to allow the client to perform the exercise correctly and prevent injury.  If the 90/90 position is still difficult for the client, single leg lifts can be done and the leg springs can still assist the hip flexors during the movement to help stabilize the lumbopelvic region.

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