Question: Is it ok/normal for my standing leg to seem to work almost as much as my working leg?
Answer (From Rachel):
YES! Every time I take class, the standing leg burn is as much of a challenge as the working seat. If you think about it – you are balancing almost all of your body’s weight on one leg for 6+ minutes…of course that will tire the leg out! We actually want that to happen as that’s our “bonus” work in our unilateral seat work – simple, weight-bearing exercise like that is absolutely amazing for building bone density as well as challenging/sculpting your muscles (that are already very tired from thigh work :). However, the challenge is to not let that standing leg burn take over your mind and have you lose focus on your working seat. Often people will say their standing leg is burning MORE…and while that’s possible, it’s only possible if you let it be that way: ie you are not thinking about squeezing the seat muscle that we want to be working. I always say seat work gets much, much harder the longer you come because as you really learn to isolate your seat muscle, you then are really burning that side while your standing leg is working, too. Initially, clients are just feeling their standing leg burn (which again, is great…but shouldn’t be the focus) and not the working seat because they haven’t quite made the mind-muscle connection yet.
Remember in seat work we say to “shift your weight to the instep of your standing foot” – and if you have your hands on the barre to shift weight into the opposite hand (this is compensating for one of your legs not being on the ground) – the goal of this isn’t to make your standing leg stop burning, but rather to minimize it slightly so you are a little more comfortable and then able to keep your mind on engaging the opposite seat.