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Reformer: Feet in Straps Series

– keeping your pelvis stable to open out your hips!!

Just like the Footwork, there are many variations in this series.  this post deals with the following:

  • Leg Lifts and Lowers,
  • Leg Circles Down
  • Leg Circles Up
  • Diamonds
  • Frogs

… there are many other variations, but I’ll look at those in later posts.  this should serve just to get you going!
So many muscle groups work around the hips, that any imbalance (we nearly all have some imbalances) can have a profound effect on the rest of the body.  Due to modern lifestyles and our sitting down for so many hours, the hip flexors often become tight while the hip extensors become weak.  These imbalances are often compounded by activities with highly repetitive motions such as running or cycling.
It’s useful to learn a  tiny bit of jargon to help understand this whole series: hip disassociation – the ability to perform smooth uninterrupted movements of the hip joint while the pelvis is kept perfectly still.

What’s it good for?

🌟 Opens out the hips.
🌟 Creates balance of the muscles in and around the hips.
🌟 Helps to develop control and precision of leg movements.
🌟  Creates stability in your pelvis whilst limbs are moving.
🌟 Strengthening the abdominals and lower back muscles to stabilise the pelvis whilst the legs move.
🌟 Strengthens the inner thighs.
🌟 Strengthens the butt.
🌟 Stretches the back of the legs.

Feet in Straps: Quick “how tos” …

  • Springs = light / medium
  • Repetitions = x6-8
  • Headrest = up
  • Footrest = down

The Mechanics

Lie on the carriage with your head on the headrest and the long straps on the arches of your feet.  Start with your legs at about 45 degrees relative to the floor.
Inhale.  Whilst lifting your legs.
Exhale. Whilst lowering your legs.

Leg Lift & Lowers – with your pelvis perfectly still, lift and lower your legs.  Squeeze your inner thighs together.

  • Your legs can be turned out, parallel or turned in.
  • Put some magic in it by using a magic circle to give your inner thighs an extra workout!

Diamonds – with your pelvis perfectly still, bend your knees slightly and perform the lifts and lowers.

  • Keep the diamond the exact same shape throughout!  Don’t let it lengthen or shorten.

Leg Circles – with your pelvis perfectly stable, and your inner thighs together, move your legs down as far as you can maintaining a stable pelvis and open your legs out to the sides and around to the starting position.  When circling in an upward direction, try not to cut off the top of the circle.

  • Your legs can be turned out, parallel or turned in.
  • Put some magic in it by using a magic circle to give your inner thighs an extra workout!

Frogs – with your pelvis stable and your legs turned out, knees bent and heels together, bring your knees as far as you can over your chest whilst keeping your pelvis perfectly still.  Push out by straightening your legs towards the wall opposite you at an angle of about 45 degrees to the floor.

Hints and Tips

💡  If you are having trouble feeling a stable pelvis, try these:

  • use a bolster under your lower back and maintain constant pressure throughout the movements;
  • place your hands (or better, a friend’s) under your lower back to feel and movement there that indicates pelvic movement;
  • keep your tailbone and lower ribs connected to the carriage throughout.

💡  Pull in your navel towards your spine before lowering your legs and don’t let your abdomen balloon out as you lower your legs to the floor.
💡  Engage the abdominals at the beginning and keep them engaged throughout.  No ballooning abdominals!
💡  Imagine you are stirring a huge pot of porridge: you pelvis being the pot and your femur (upper leg bone), the spoon handle.
💡  Lower your legs only as far as your lower back can stay on the mat.
💡  Keep tension out of your shoulders.
💡  Move your legs totally symmetrically.


Did you like this material?

There are literally hundreds of linked Pre-Pilates and Pilates videos and tutorials on the Resource Pages: click here

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