Pilates series 7# – squats and lunges

Wendy Davies suggests three exercises to improve your stability and alignment when land training


If you’re doing a lot more land work and weights, this will be putting different demands on your body. Poor technique can lead to injuries, so we are going to focus on increasing stability of the upper body, and promoting good knee and hip alignment for squatting and lunging. These exercises will help you stay injury free and get the most out of your land training.


Exercise 1, the plank with shoulder tap. There is a photograph of a lady in a plank position with one hand touching her shoulder, across her chest. Step 1: Adopt a normal plank position. Step 2: Lift one hand from the floor and touch the opposite shoulder, making sure you keep your shoulder blades stable and your pelvis aligned. Step 3Repeat with the other hand. Perform 10 reps, rest and repeat. Increase the reps and sets as you get stronger. As always, don’t sacrifice form to achieve more reps. Exercise 2, standing single-leg squat. Step 1: Stand on one leg, and engage the gluteal muscles on the supporting side. Step 2: Slowly squat as if you were about to sit down on a chair, while making sure that your knee is aligned over your second toe. You should only go about halfway to a seated position – less if you’re finding it hard to control the movement. Step 3: Return to the starting position. Start with three sets of five reps on each leg, gradually building to 10 reps as you improve.

1 – Plank with shoulder tap tips

Don’t let your chest or hips drop, and don’t push your bottom up.

Increasing the challenge

Perform press-ups, touching the opposite shoulder after each one.

These exercises will help you stay injury free and get the most out of your land training

2 – Standing single leg squat tips

Wendy Davies

Wendy Davies has over 20 years working with rowers and elite sportspeople, including at five Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and many training camps and World Championships.

Try not to let your knee wobble, and don’t snap it back into a straight position at the end of the movement.

Increasing the challenge
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell.
  • Perform the squat while pulling on a cable cord from the side of your body.

3 – Forward lunge

Exercise 3, the forward lunge. Step 1:. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your core engaged. Step 2: Take a big step forward with one leg, keeping the knee aligned over the second toe. Taking a big step will stretch the front of the thigh on the trailing leg – great for those hip flexors! Step 3: Slowly lower your hips towards the floor, keeping your body upright. Don’t allow your knee to extend beyond your toes. Step 4: Then slowly push back to the starting position. Do up to three sets of 10 reps on one leg before switching – this will help build endurance. Reduce the number of reps or sets if you find you’re losing the quality of movement.


Keep your hips facing forwards.

Increasing the challenge
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • When in the lunge position, pass a kettlebell under the thigh before returning to the start position.

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