Pilates Exercise of the Month: Single Leg Kick

Purpose: Single Leg Kick works your hamstrings, biceps & triceps while stretching your thighs, knees, and abdominal muscles. Great exercise for cyclists.

1. Lie on your stomach, propped up on your elbows. Pull your navel up into your spine. Your pubic bone should be pressed firmly down into the mat. Squeeze your inner thighs together to support your lower back.

2. Make sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders, chest is lifted, shoulders blades down and neck long.. Your hands can be made into fists, in line with elbows. (If fists are uncomfortable, place your palms facedown on mat.)

3. Inhale to prepare. While keeping your upper torso stable, exhale and kick your right heel toward your right buttock with a double beat (or a pulse, pulse.) The left leg should be straight and slightly lifted off the mat.

4. Switch and kick the left heel to the left buttock with a double beat. Continue alternating legs, completing 5 sets. End by sitting back on your heels to release your lower back.

Checklist:
Remain lifted and perfectly still in your torso as you kick your heels into your bottom.
Keep your upper thighs and knees glued together as you kick to engage the hamstring muscles.
Try not to let the legs touch the mat in between kicks.

Note: If you have knee or lower back discomfort, upper torso may be lowered to the floor. Reduce the range of motion and work more slowly. If you experience pain, stop.

Visualization: Imagine there is a candle flame under your belly button. You must stay lifted so you don’t get burned. Swish your legs past each other, kicking in time to your heartbeat.
Single Leg Kick

Jocelyn Paoli, Pilates Instructor

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