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Pilates Stretch: The Mermaid

The Mermaid is one of my favorite of all Pilates stretching series. It really stretches out the upper body in such an elegant fashion and is really great for opening up the chest.

Follow along and mirror the movement (do as I say, not as I do - just like Pilates mat class with the instructor facing the class).

Helpful Hints:

  • If the position bothers your hip, ankle or knee you can lengthen your back leg out to the side. Begin by stretching toward the leg that is stretched out to the side.
  • To see more detail on the "Z" leg position read this definition with photo. It will surely help.
  • To protect your knee, place the top of the foot on the ground and not out to the side.
  • Keep the motion fluid and don't jam into any of your joints.
  • When side bending toward your back leg, think of reaching on the high diagonal rather than down toward your knee. This should help keep pressure out of your knee.
  • When circling your arm around look at your hand as it circles this will increase the upper body stretch.

Music by Benny Benassi

Susi-May Susi-May 6 years
Leighanna, Different styles of Pilates have slight variations on exercises. I have learned both leg positions, but prefer the Z leg position because it feels more grounded with both sits bones resting on the floor.
KayeC KayeC 9 years
I just found! There are tons of free, full-length Pilates workouts so check it out! They have all levels -- super easy to KILLER HARD! I love it! You can also make your own workout!
My-Opinion My-Opinion 9 years
That 'looks' like it feels good! I can't wait to try it!
Leighanna Leighanna 9 years
While I don't see anything harmful in this exercise technically the leg placement is wrong for the Mermaid. I'm a certified instructor and I learned the Mermaid with both legs folded to the side. When the legs are at the side you then use the Powerhouse to lift you back to your center position. It is a wonderful side stretch!
fashion-lvr fashion-lvr 10 years
Dang...working up a sweat already...I'm so glad for these videos!
Alexa-B Alexa-B 10 years
kl, ill try this out!
rlveronica rlveronica 10 years
Awesome, I'll try this!
mrsyuen mrsyuen 10 years
Hmm I'll def this out
zc zc 10 years
thanks gonnu try it out
christie christie 10 years
I will definitely try that after my workout in a bit. It looks refreshing!
SU3 SU3 10 years
Thanks for the video! :D
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Love this stretch. Thanks for another great video, Fit!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
I have tightness around my lower back and hips, and this always feels good whether I'm finishing up with Pilates or winding down from a cardio routine.
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 10 years
This is my favorite. It feels so good.
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