Pilates Exercise of the Month: (SIDE KICK SERIES: FRONT/BACK)
PURPOSE: This exercise will stretch the back of the legs, tone your buttocks and improve balance. It is the first exercise in the Side Kick Series.
SET UP: Lie on your side and align your body against the back edge of the mat. Prop your head up on one hand and place the palm of the other hand on the mat in front of you. Position your legs in a 45 degree angle in front of your body. Feet are slightly turned out slightly in a Pilates V.
- Lift your top leg hip height, turn leg out slightly from the hip.
- Inhale, press navel into spine, swing your front leg and pulse it twice (similar to 2 small kicks) as far forward as it will go without rocking forward in your hips. Reach the leg further on the second kick.
- Exhale, and swing the leg back, reaching for the back corner of the room; gently pointing your toe; while stretching the front of the hip.
- 4. Repeat 8-10 times on each side. Bring your legs back together to prepare for the next exercise in the series- Up/Down.
Visualization: Imagine your leg swinging like a pendulum of a clock while the body holds still.
Modifications: If you experience discomfort in your shoulder, wrist or neck, lay your head down on your arm. You can also use a rolled up towel under your neck for added support.
To advance the exercise, place the hand behind the head and point the elbow to the ceiling.
Head to Toe Checklist:
- Avoid letting hips and shoulders roll forward.
- Don’t lift leg too high, only hip height.
- Make sure your hand on the mat is close to the body with forearm pressed into your midsection.