High Bicycle on the Mat
High Bicycle on the Pilates Mat is one of my favorites to test my strength and stamina! Generally, it comes after High Scissors. The two are like partners in Pilates crime. The High Bicycle is also an easy one to cheat. Be mindful of where you are cycling your legs. Your goal is to try to touch the floor as you cycle your legs. After all, eventually you’ll be cycling right into the Shoulder Bridge. If you find yourself cycling your legs over your chest and the ceiling, it’s time to imagine that the pedals of your bike are across the room. If you find yourself wondering why do this exercise, then double check if you are challenging yourself. Some of the mat exercises are easy to cheat your way out of. The High Bicycle is one of them. It requires that you truly oppose yourself. Your head and shoulders will be going in one direction while your legs will be reaching for the other. If you’re ready for a good challenge, then this exercise is for you!
Your goal is to try to touch the floor as you cycle your legs.
You can get into the High Bicycle from your High Scissors or separately. From the High Scissors you will finish your last scissor and reach your leg as far as you can across the room, bend the knee and try to touch the floor. After you have gone as far as you can and pulled your heel back, your other leg can begin to reach across the room and to the same. Bicycling your legs three times in each direction before transitioning into your Shoulder Bridge. If you are getting into your High Bicycle on its own laying on your back pull your knees into your chest and lift your hips up. Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back/seat. Straighten your legs to the ceiling and then begin to bicycle your legs. Your pelvis may tip forward as your legs bicycle in order to allow your feet to touch the floor.
I find that the more I try to reach the floor the more I need to press my shoulders and head towards the floor. My legs are quite long! It’s tempting to want to look at what your legs are doing but this will change the curves your neck and make it more difficult to keep the length of the exercise. Trust what your legs are doing and focus on how your whole body can be involved in this exercise. I also like to channel the feeling of the Single and Double Leg Kick. The hamstrings and seat work the same way in the High Bicycle as they do in the Single and Double Leg kicks. If you are feeling the weight of your hips and legs in your wrists, it’s most likely because you are using your arms to hold your hips up. The more length you get in your spine the less weight you will feel in your wrists.
As I mentioned this is one of my favorite exercises to challenge myself with. How far can your legs reach? The worst case is you bicycle yourself right off your hands and have to start all over again!