November 15, 2017
How to Prepare a Lunge
by Anna Schrefl
There are many different lunge variations in the Pilates programme, on the Wundachair, Reformer, Cadillac or Mat. The lunge is a great exercise to lengthen tight muscles such as the m. iliopsoas and the m. rectus femoris. We all know, from our teaching experience, that tight hip flexors are a common problem. Sitting for hours has a negative impact on our hip flexors and many of our clients do have sitting jobs. “Sitting is the new smoking,” according to Kelly Starrett, DPT. He made a good point. But people who do a lot of exercise (e.g. bicycling) or dancers also complain about tight hip flexors. Whenever the hip flexors need lengthening and release, the different lunge variations are great exercises to add to the Pilates workout. However, you might have experienced that some people do not feel a stretch when they perform a lunge, especially those who have a limited range of motion in the hips.
Very often, people with tight hip flexors and a limited range of motion are compensating the extension of the hips with their lower back. Instead of keeping the pelvis upright, they are arching the lower back, shortening the lumbar-sacral transition. Their pelvis/lower-back area is so tight that there is no movement differentiation possible. There is a simple but effective exercise on the Mat that you can do beforehand to check if someone is avoiding the opening of the hips by shortening the lower back and to get more proprioception in that area.
1) Kneeling position: the left leg is in front (90 degrees angle in the knee joint or a bit more, but not less).
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Anna Schrefl studied contemporary dance at the Amsterdam School of Arts and the Modern Dance Academy in Rotterdam. In 2001 she finalized her Pilates training in New York with Romana Kryzanowska. She completed her Pilates Teacher Trainer training under Ton Voogt and Michael Fritzke and established in 2006 the “Pilates System Europe – Certification Program” with the supervision of Ton and Michael. Anna gives company training and seminars for classical and contemporary dancers, actors, and musicians for over 15 years. She teaches special seminars for Pilates trainers around Europe and works as a freelance choreographer.
Anna Schrefl is the director of Pilates System Europe® in Vienna and a certified lecturer of the Spiraldynamik® methode.