Single Leg Stretch Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

The Single Leg Stretch is an original Pilates movement that occurs in the “stomach series” of a mat Pilates sequence. It strengthens the core and promotes a stretch of the back of the leg and hip flexor using a fluid, controlled motion. Remember to keep your belly button into your spine and your back pressed into the floor to get maximum benefits from this move.

Single Leg Stretch

How to do Single Leg Stretch


Start by lying on your back with your legs flat on the floor. Then bring one knee up into your chest, and hold your shin with your hands. Use your arms then to pull this bent leg in towards your chest as much as you can. During the stretch, lift your shoulders and head up off the floor. Your spare leg should hover just above the floor.

Swap sides after the required duration.


  • When you're hoping, put a wedge under your back for protection. Extend the lower leg just as much as is possible.

  • Ensure you activate your heart entirely to assist the raising of your shoulders. When that is already painful, keep your head and shoulders on the mat, treating the lower body just until you are relaxed.

  • For more of a task, lower the bottom leg until it hovers over the ground.

  • When you're uncomfortable with this step, change the angle at which you stretch the bottom leg to which feels more natural while still engaging your heart.

Exercise Benefits

  • Leg Stretch

  • Core Strength

  • Full Body Stretch

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do single leg stretch from this step-by-step illustrations:

Single Leg Stretch 1
Single Leg Stretch 2
Single Leg Stretch 3
Single Leg Stretch 4

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for single leg stretch may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for single leg stretch are:

Primary Muscles

  • Abs
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hip Flexors

Synergyst Muscles

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Single Leg Stretch work?
Single Leg Stretch works abs, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors.
What is Single Leg Stretch good for?
Single Leg Stretch is beneficial for conditioning, for stretching and to strengthen. It works the best for buttocks, core, hips, legs, lower body, thighs, upper legs and waist, as it works abs, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors. Single Leg Stretch is a great bodyweight exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Single Leg Stretch a good exercise?
Single Leg Stretch is a popular bodyweight exercise for abs, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Single Leg Stretch faster?

Single Leg Stretch Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Single Leg Stretch and how should you?

Single Leg Stretch Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Single Leg Stretch Alternatives


Wonder how to make Single Leg Stretch either easier or more challenging?

Single Leg Stretch Variations

Discover more


Type(s) Bodyweight, Calisthenic, Strength
Muscles Worked Abdominals, Quadriceps, Gluteus, Hip Flexors
Difficulty Level(s) Easy, Simple
Equipment No Equipment
Location At Gym, At Home, Outdoor
Major Exercise Leg Extension

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Abs, Quadriceps, Glutes, Hip Flexors
Synergyst muscle(s)

Related exercises

Discover more