Control Balance

This is an exercise from the Pilates repertoire that integrates movement from abdominals, torso and hip extensors (the muscles that move your leg away from your body). So, there is a lot going on here.

Given that you are probably spending more time at home at the moment, working towards being able to perform this exercise would be a great goal.

Full version (I’ll give the easier entry version later). Start lying on your back. You want both arms overhead resting on the floor behind you with both legs extended straight up towards the ceiling. They need to be active. Your feet stay above your face.

Inhale to draw one leg down to the floor above your head and place your toes in the fingers of the same side arm. Exhale and return the leg back to the start position. Alternate sides. Do this 3-6 times each side.

Easier entry version: Start with a Rollover that we did in February.

Start by lying on your back, arms at your side and active, legs reaching to the ceiling. Legs should also be active and pressing together so that they move as one. You can point your toes if you wish, for some of us that helps with keeping adductors (inner thigh muscles) strong and active.

Gather your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles as you would normally. Inhale, then exhale to lift your legs overhead until they are parallel with the floor. Now, send the legs up to point to the ceiling until your feet are above your face. Place your arms overhead actively on the floor. You are now in the start position for Control Balance.


Things to watch out for when you’re not doing this exercise under supervision:

  • You might want to try having your hands support your back until you can hold your torso and legs up unaided. Start this way, then remove your hands to your side. When you’ve got that, try placing your arms overhead on the floor behind you
  • If you can get into the start position but are a bit wobbly when you start moving your legs, try having both foot in your hands to start and extend one leg to the ceiling at a time
  • You will want to actively hold your torso and legs up in the extended position
  • Think about the muscles at the front of the torso and back of the torso working together. Sometimes we tend to only think about one side
  • Imagine you have a string attached to both hip bones that is drawing you upwards
  • Have you got a helpful ‘other’ in your household who can either lightly hold your ankles as a starting point until you are stable, or place their lower leg against your back to support you until you are stable


What you will feel:

  • You are going to be so pleased that you can do any part of this exercise. It’s really challenging
  • The work in the body to maintain the position is tremendous
  • Once you can do this exercise, you will find many others are easier because you’ve managed to get abdominals, torso and hip extensors working together
  • I think you’ll even feel a bit taller!