Category: Stott Certified Pilates

Pilates Exercise of the Month: (SIDE KICK SERIES: FRONT/BACK)

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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.

  1.  Lift your top leg hip height, turn leg out slightly from the hip.
  2.  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.
  3. 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. 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.

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.

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