One of my recent posts looked at hamstrings, how they may become tight, how to test and how to stretch them back out. Keeping on that theme lets think about where else you may have tight, short muscles that could affect your posture and body functioning.
Here is today’s test… can you touch your toes? Many people I teach can’t touch their when they start in Pilates…. now instantly you may think this is due to tight hamstrings but it’s not always the case. There can be quite a few structures in your “posterior chain” that are limiting your movement. This is especially true if you have a job that requires you to sit down or drive for long periods of time.
Lets break it down…
Your calves (gastrocnemius muscles) cross the knee joint, so tightness there can make keeping your knees straight harder than it should be.
The connections from your hip/bum muscles (glutes, piriformis) can affect the ease in which your pelvis tilts, so affecting how you bend forward at the hip.
Tightness or restrictions in your lower back and pelvis. These can cause increased tension throughout your hips and legs. Often warming up the spine there can lead to more movement and flexibility. It can be interesting to compare your movement before and after a class, often without any stretching you will be able to go further in the movment of touching your toes.
Finally it may also be due to tight hamstrings, learn how to stretch them here.
So if you can’t touch your toes there are many reasons why this may be, the main thing to do is to stretch regularly and use Pilates exercises to help with posture, strength and alignment.