The Right Way

Here’s How To Make Your Pilates Bicycle Form Even Better

The portion of the Pilates class when you're sweating and trying not to look at the clock always seems to be when the instructor (IRL or virtually) has you try the bicycle move. You know, to test your strength (both emotionally and physically). Sometimes the movement makes you feel like a turtle flipped on its back, trying with all its might to right itself. But if you feel like that, there are ways to improve your form. These changes can help you feel more control and actually target the muscles you're attempting to engage. If you're ready to reduce that stuck-turtle-feeling, you're in luck. On this recent episode of The Right Way, Chloe De Winter, Pilates instructor and founder of Go with Chlo, walks you through doing the Pilates bicycle move just right.

Let's start with the "don'ts" first. De Winter often sees people pedaling their legs so fast that it negatively impacts their form. Many individuals might be overwhelmed by this challenging pose, but speeding up isn't the solution to getting through it, she says. When you pedal super fast, it can cause your torso to twist, turn, and lift off the ground. The move is not designed to have you turning your entire body. De Winter advises that you keep your pelvis level and flat against the floor and engage your core as you lift each leg up. There should be a slight amount of shifting between your sides when you alternate legs, but your pelvis and lower back should remain on the floor.

De Winter also sees students holding their hands behind their necks and pulling too hard. This pulls the head farther forward than necessary. Placing your hands behind your head is more of a stabilization technique that helps you focus on using your core and legs to perform the movement. So to correct this, De Winter suggests imagining that your hands are merely resting like they would on bicycle handles. Your legs and core really take center stage here, and their strength might surprise you—once you get the form down.

Ready to give this a try? All you need is a mat and some comfy clothes to get this bicycle move going.

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