FITNESS FOCUS: Side-lying leg kick (up/down) Ok, so the inner thigh…what is the use? Literally, why is the inner thigh important to our entire body? It seems like such an small muscle, can it really be that necessary? The answer, simply….
YES! Not only does the inner thigh help keep the legs in toward the midline of the body for proper alignment, but the muscles of the inner thigh work together to stabilize and integrate the movements of the legs and pelvis. Everyday activities like walking, running, standing, climbing, and squatting are all supported by the inner thigh. Usually, during an exercise to tone this area, a person’s larger muscles in the quadriceps and outer thighs “take over” not allowing the inner thigh to be properly strengthened. In order to make sure that you are focusing your efforts on the proper muscles of the inner thigh, proper alignment, activation, and focus are necessary. Practice this inner thigh exercise, remembering the Pilates principles, to strengthen this key muscle group.
Lie on your side and prop your head up on your hand. Keep your elbow, shoulder, and hips in a line. Bring your legs out to the front corner of the mat. Be sure to keep your hips stacked. Keep lifted in the torso and ribs keeping the spine in proper alignment. (Don’t sink in the obliques.) Rest your top hand on the mat in front of your chest to help stabilize, but don’t depend on it. Rotate the legs out slightly from the hips, in Pilates stance (heels together, toes slightly turned out.) Shoulders and hips are in a line and the knees and ankles are a little in front. Make sure that your abdominal muscles are pulled in and up. Lengthening from the crown of the head all the way down through the leg- point the toe. Lift the leg up toward the ceiling as you inhale. Keep the hips stacked and the pelvis from rocking. Exhale as you flex the foot and lower the leg back down to meet the bottom leg. Do this with a slow, controlled movement. Repeat the kick series for a total of 8 times.
FAITH FOCUS: The muscles of the inner thigh work to stabilize and integrate all of the movements of the lower body. Although these are very small muscles, they serve a tremendous purpose as they align our bodies and support us in our everyday movements in life. Integrating prayer into our daily lives helps keep us in alignment with God’s will and provides us with the stabilization and support we need to walk, run, and otherwise move through the way of faith-strong and upright.
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— Romans 1: 9-11