Movements at the Hip Joint

The movements at the hip joint can be seen in this diagram. They are listed below along with the muscles responsible for each action and a sample exercise.

Flexion – iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius, pectineus (range increases when knee is flexed)

The hundred (prep)

Extension – gluteus maximus; semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris (limited by the joint capsule and ligaments)

Prone double leg lift

Abduction – gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis and tensor fascia latae

Side-lying leg lift in parallel

Adduction – adductors longus, brevis and magnus, pectineus and gracilis (avoid if you have had a hip replacement)

Side-lying underneath leg lift in parallel

Lateral rotation – biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, piriformis, assisted by the obturators, gemilli and quadratus femoris


Medial rotation – anterior fibres of gluteus medius and minimus, tensor fascia latae

Sitting hip mobilisation

We can also combine movements such as lateral rotation with flexion and abduction.

Side-lying leg lift in turn-out

Note that the trunk and other joints maintain their position in all of the above exercises.

Since the structure of our joints and length of our ligaments limit our movement, a ‘full’ leg lift needs us to move other joints as well. In the exercise below there is lateral rotation with flexion and abduction of both legs. Although a good exercise for dancers, we do not usually do this one in Pilates. This is because we are aiming to use the movement of one joint to challenge the stability of other joints.

Side-lying leg lift in turn-out – ‘full’ range

15th Anniversary

3rd July 2018 was the 15th anniversary since I qualified to teach Pilates matwork with Body Control Pilates in London..

We celebrated with a small equipment circuit at all mat classes and fairy cakes all round afterwards. I made elderflower and lemon (inspired by the recent royal wedding) and Philip kindly supplied gluten free chocolate.

Pilates celebs: Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson, star of the The Fifty Shades franchise, displays more of her physique more frequently than the rest of us!

To prepare herself for those numerous nude scenes her pre-film training schedule includes high-intensity body weight and light weight exercises, along with a Pilates-based ab workout.

Read the full article on the Vogue website.


How Pilates Changed My Life

Caro, who suffered “really badly with back pain” writes about how Pilates changed her life on her blog.

She says:

“And little by little — week by week — my back began to loosen up and my body began to get stronger and stronger.”

“You can just go along to a Pilates class wearing comfortable clothing, that doesn’t restrict your movement. Most instructors provide all the equipment you’ll need — including mats.”

“But after a few years I realised that Pilates is for life not just for Christmas and I invested in some equipment to use at home.”

Read her full post.



All you ever wanted to know about back pain

A recent article called ‘All you ever wanted to know about back pain’ has a good summary on current thinking about low back pain and what to do – and what not to do – to deal with it,

It says: that most people recover from an episode of back pain reasonably quickly (within six to eight weeks); don’t panic and continue with your usual work and other activities; and exercise such as Pilates is very good for low back pain.

In summary:

  • Don’t panic if you get back pain, even on a few different occasions
  • Don’t rush for treatment
  • Don’t be put off by medical jargon and opinions
  • Don’t worry about what you read and see in MRI reports
  • Don’t be fooled by quick fixes
  • Remain active and avoid bed rest
  • Return to usual activities
  • Exercise helps to reduce pain and prevent future episodes
  • Stay at work or go back to work as quickly as you can
  • Remember it is the person that needs treatment not just a spine

Read the whole article on the RTE website.


Quote: suppleness, natural grace and skill…

Joseph Pilates called the exercise method that he developed ‘contrology’. In developing his method his aim was to change the way in which people used their bodies throughout their daily lives. He said:

“Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work.”

Your Personal Information

The new general data protection regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25th May 2018. You can read about the key changes on the GDPR website.

This means that I must tell you about the personal information that I hold about you and how I use it. So I have written a privacy policy to explain.

This also means that you must give me your explicit consent to send you marketing messages such as those about future class dates. So I will shortly be asking you to sign a form at class or sending you an email to give your consent online.

Rosacea and Pilates

Exercise increases your body’s core temperature and so it can trigger a bout of flushing, facial redness and itchy skin – the key symptoms of rosacea. However, low-intensity exercises such as Pilates, yoga and barre can help.

“Not only will Pilates stretch you while keeping your heart rate down, but it’s been proven to reduce stress too – another rosacea trigger.”

“Exercises like barre, Pilates and yoga are far less ageing on your skin too than continuous, repetitive, high-impact training that can cause premature sagging.”

Click to read the full article from the Express.