Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Recently I spoke about my initial encounter with the Neck Pull.

The key to unlock this exercise for my body was a crucial skill not yet under my control: Hip Extension.

Oooh that sounds important.

Hip extension is a vital life skill.

It powers our locomotion and is a chief element of our posture.

Hip extension stands us up from a seated position.

And I don't have to tell you how important that maneuver is on a daily basis.

Check out this short article celebrating our favorite muscle to extend the hip as the “single most important muscle for movement and locomotion.”

The Neck Pull's Dirty Little Secret

Within our beloved Pilates method, we have countless exercises to extend the hip.

Hip Extension comes in myriad variations and many our of standard Pilates exercises are shining and straightforward ways to open up the front of the body.

You're sure to recognize these favorites:

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

The Knee Stretches with Knees Off: Full on gallop, human style.

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Down Stretch is moments away from lifting you up and into a backbend, the ultimate in hip extension.

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Make the Side Kick Series into a delicious opening of the hips and you'll want to do your Mat exercises all day long…

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

I've made my case about the Tree: Holy backbend, Friends!

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Nothing can kick your ass open up your hips better than Going Up Front.

But this direct approach is not the Neck Pull‘s way, dear readers.

The Neck Pull, she works in stealthy, covert ways. She hangs at the fringes of our mental Pilates checklist. Having a strong center and a supple back ranked high on my to-do list as my legs inexplicably flew up into the air.


“Secret” Hip Extension in the Pilates Method

Friends don't let friends miss any juicy hip stretches (or back stretches) in their Pilates workout.

Let's discuss a few awesome hip extension moments you may have missed. For example, armed with only your own inner conflict  you'll be amazed by how much hip opening can be had whenever we bend to the side.

No one loves those Mermaid sisters without a damn good reason.

Keep your eyes open for our “secret” hip stretch moments:

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

Of course, the Neck Pull: you had to see this one coming.

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

And the Neck Pull's underboss, the Roll Up.

Neck Pull REDUX: Desperately Seeking Hip Extension

The Long Stretch is a a sneaky one. Work your muscles just as for Down Stretch here and see what you think.

What?? Yes. Remember what goes up must come down.

Enjoy this short tutorial.

View the corresponding blog post here.

Thanks for watching!

Hey Southern California…

Saturday January 21, 2017 California Pilates Center, Oceanside, CA

Join me for a day of guest teaching in Michele Tandy's beautiful studio. Just a couple spots available for private lessons, contact Michele to book. Register for the 10am Mat class here.

Wanna experience the blog live and in person?

Here’s a bit of what’s cooking for 2017:

Thursday – Sunday May 11-14, 2017 Equinox, London UK

Contact Jayne O’Brien for more info and to register.

Friday – Sunday September 22-24, 2017 Pilates Mödling, Mödling Austria 

Join me in Mödling, Austria just 20 minutes from the capital city of Vienna. This is an event not to be missed! I’ll be offering lessons, mat classes and workshops. Workshops include: The Teaser: The Truth will PrevailOn the Order of the Pilates Mat Exercises and 3 Chairs + 3 Barrels = 2-way Stretch and more.

Contact Andrea Seipel for more info and to register.

Saturday + Sunday October 7-8 2017 Everybody Pilates, Portsmouth UK

Contact Amy Kellow for more information.

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  1. Great post Andrea. I really enjoy after years of practising the Mat to learn even more about how awesome it is for my body!

  2. You get some serious point A to point B on that Thigh Stretch! OMG I did something totally terrifying yesterday (because it was -5 and snowing and, what else is there but Pilates when you are stuck inside?)…I filmed myself via Photo Booth doing Mat exercises, one at a time…oh Andrea, I’m so sorry I put you through witnessing this weekly. haaaaa! But man, that is no lie, this shows one EVERYTHING that is NOT going correctly! Like, my knees lift off the Mat on every Rollup. No Boino (not enough seat/heel connection working there) and Neck Pull…yeah, same thing plus more! It all seemed disaster-ous (and I use that word lightly because, yes I am well aware of what is going on in the world and a weak ass is nothing in the bigger scheme of things)…but what comes from disaster = rebuilding. Like I said, I feel like I just started Pilates again and I’m not getting off the Mat until…never. Great tips today, thank you so much. xo

    • Alessandra says

      Wow Corr!! You’re one brave lass!! I’ve never dared film myself doing anything ???? Let alone The Mat!! I may never be seen in public again???? …my large mirrors are horrifying enough for me!! I was keeping you company over the holidays ???? Geeking away with Pilatesology at my side!! ????#pilatesgeeksunite
      Thigh stretch is a new addition for me and yes my range of motion is a fraction of la bella Maida????… Something to aspire to… for neck pull???? That’s a whole other story….!! ????????????
      Happy pilates new year! Let’s hope we all get together this year????????????????????????❤️

      • PilatesGeeksUnite!! Yes, it was er, um “enlightening” to say the least! I am a very camera shy gal; I was cracking up, horrified and amazed all at the same time. You should try it; it really shows things you can’t see in the mirror 🙂 and this is why Andrea says “LIFT LIFT LIFT” to me all the time 🙂 hahaahaha. My Thigh Stretch (when correctly done) travels about two inches from A to B 😉 Argh, we’ll keep trying! Let’s hope we get to geek out in Cali this year 🙂 (insert martini emoji).

        • My thigh stretch began as a very tiny movement as well. The up is the important part and eventually you will travel farther. But beautifully lifted, a modest Thigh Stretch is a beautiful thing 🙂

      • Yes, let’s look at a potential Pilates spring party! Be brave, if you can film yourself – or even record your Skype lessons – that could be fun too – I’ll try it if you do 🙂 xox

    • OK clearly I need to start giving awards out for most hysterical comment – Corrie, you are hilarious – but yes, see how informative filming yourself can be? I had the same reaction when I began to film myself in videos – I thought, “That’s what Karen is talking about in my Long Stretch Series…” not that I had any doubt about what she was telling me about my body, but when you see it yourself it sticks in your mind and urges you to wrangle it LOL.
      It is always a pleasure to work with you and there is always a “new” concept or understanding that infiltrates all your exercises and makes you feel you are back at square 1…but you are not! You had to experience all that came before to arrive at this new lightbulb moment about your workout.
      I had to join in on the conversation here, you guys were having such fun! xox

      • Alessandra says

        Love that ???? ‘You have to experience all that came before to arrive at this moment’ – so true for Pilates and indeed life !!
        Having been trained in a more contemporary approach, I totally feel that I’m starting from scratch, now that I am trying to delve deeper into the method and study the classical approach! And I’m really enjoying it !! We are all beginners – think Socrates said something about the wise man knowing nothing…#philosophygeek???? #loveyouguys❤️ #startfilming???? #beginnersmartiniparty????????????

  3. Hi Andrea,
    thank you for another great post on Neck Pull.
    I have the mat with a strap, yay, love it!! Feeling longer every time I get on it. I love Gratz.
    I totally relate to what you said about, if I, as a Pilates teachers cannot do a neckpull, I might not be a good enough Pilates teacher. I never omit this one in my routine.
    Looking forward to next Monday.

    • Andrea,
      Yes the Neck Pull was such an exercise that I felt it necessary to accomplish to feel like a real Pilates teacher, just my opinion – not that it is basic by any means, but as straightforward as it is, in general, it pained me that it was so bad for so long… our full experience of the exercises is a wonderful teacher. I never omit the Neck Pull either…and when I travel and am without my strap I consider it a challenge to do the exercise sans strap. It is not my preference but even done badly, the Neck Pull makes my body feel good. 🙂 Yes, stay tuned for more Pilates nerdery next week. Thank you so much for reading and watching, I am so lucky to have you here! xox

  4. Alessandra says

    Hey there Andrea! Great post as always! Hip extension….hmmm…I’ve had to re-visit this a lot recently… great link to article on the importance of the gluteals…thanks! It’s so easy to forget the practical applications of this wonderful method, whilst I’m wrestling with those pesky exercises! One thing I became aware of is that although I’m trying to reach my legs away from me as I roll back in the roll up , for example, I then realised that you also have to keep them lengthening away as you roll up again… d’uh!! To KEEP opening the hip, I think… hip flexors seem to have other ideas!! 🙂
    I can feel a hip extension session coming up in my next lesson 🙂
    #cantwait !! #rockon Andrea! xoxo

    • LOL, I had a Mat workout in my lesson yesterday with Karen Frischmann and my challenge at the moment is (no surprise here) keeping length in the low back and (wait for it) extending the hip and stretching the thigh. I had a whole hour lesson of that. I felt the full brunt of repetition in the Pilates Method. And after just publishing this week’s post – totally got my karma injection. Clearly what I write about is also what I need most in my own body and what I seek to understand in my mind. Not that I am unaware of the repetition moments and deja vu moments as we go through our Pilates order of Mat exercises, but literally every other exercise was back to that same old skill for me to work on. And this is true for whichever skill we choose as a daily focus, I’m sure. Pilates: something for EVERY body!
      Please know I was thinking about you all as I painstakingly searched for my seat. Somewhere in the midst of all the challenge you may just find a moment or 2 of “Hey, I have control over that. Cool.”

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