24 gifts – day 8: In how many ways can you guide a side-lying lift & lower?

Have you ever considered in which way you guide an exercise?

Side-lying lift & lower


A few days ago, I shared one of my favourite topics to explore and play around with and that is in how many ways you can guide an exercise. We looked at the topic using spine curl/bridging as an example.

Today, we will look at another very commonly used exercise “side-lying lift & lower” as it is known in Body Control Pilates.

We will explore different perspectives from which you can cue/guide/perform this exercise.


What is the exercise about?

  • Mainly, I would say that the exercise is about anchoring the head of the femur into the acetabulum.
  • There is definitely a strengthening aspect of gluteus medius & minimus.
  • We also get an active involvement of quadratus lumborum since I will change the perspective of where to guide the movement from.

So in today’s video, I have chosen 3 focus areas or perspectives:

  • The greater throchanter (anchoring the head of the femur into the acetabulum)
  • Gluteus medius & minimus (to simplify I usually call these two the side glutes)
  • The pelvis & 12th rib (normally we don’t want to move the pelvis but here we actively move it)

I will guide the exercise in different ways using mainly anatomical imagery from The Franklin Method’s dynamic imagery types. But there will probably also be a happy mix of the other types of imagery.


What do I like about it?

To start with the exercise as such:

  • I find the side-lying position to be very supportive and a good starting point to strengthen the “side glutes”. But I prefer to do them in standing which opens up a whole array of other wonderful guiding opportunities ;o).
  • The clients can easily correct themselves because they can have their hand on the pelvis/thigh and thus add some proprioceptive input.
  • I like the active hip hike to consciously activate our hip-hiker quadratus lumborum.


Looking at the concept behind it:

  • Depending on the perspective the exercise feels different. Sometimes you can physically see the difference, other times it is just an internal feeling.
  • Using different types of imagery gives yourself or your client more options. I am sure you have all experienced that the clients try to lift the leg very high up and therefore move their pelvis. By allowing the movement it becomes much clearer what the difference to not moving the pelvis is.
  • It gives you tools to create variations on well-known themes to keep your brain and that of your clients alert. This way you can make an exercise you or your clients have done a million times seem fresh and new again.


What prop do you need?




Which course/workshop is the exercise from?


This is a workshop in which I combine pilates with The Franklin Method. This means I am bringing the idea of dynamic imagery from The Franklin Method into a pilates environment.


And here is the video …

Video length: 6:45 minutes


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