How To Do Pilates Single Leg Kick

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The single leg kick Pilates exercise focuses on the hamstrings, the muscles at the back of your thighs. The hamstrings extend the hip and flex the knee in activities such as walking and running in daily life. The single leg kick exercise is also a great way to work your powerhouse. Practice keeping your abdominals lifted, chest open, and shoulders stable. This is an exercise suitable for beginners as well as valuable for advanced exercisers.

What You Need to do the Single Leg Kick

You need a Pilates exercise mat. This exercise can be performed at home or at the studio.

  • Difficulty: Easy, this exercise is suitable for beginners.
  • Time Required: 5 minutes

How to Perform the Single Leg Kick Pilates Exercise

  1. Lie on your stomach with both legs together, extended behind you. Activate your inner thighs and hamstrings to keep your legs from splaying out.
  2. Lift your upper body so that you are supported on your forearms.
    Check points:
    • Keep your shoulders and scapula (the bony wings of the back) down, and keep your chest broad.
    • Your elbows will be directly under your shoulders.
    • Hands can be clasped together on the floor in front of you or fisted as pictured.
    • Gaze down or slightly forward so that your neck is a long extension of your spine 
  3. This step is very important for the safety of your back: Send your tailbone down toward the floor as you pull your abdominals up away from the mat. Sending the tailbone toward the floor will lengthen and protect your lower back. Also, doing this exercise with your abs well pulled in adds stability and makes it a better workout for your core.
  1. Inhale. Exhale and bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle. Then, pulse it twice toward your butt with the foot lightly pointed. Use two sharp exhales to pulse the leg. Protect your knees by keeping the hamstrings engaged and not kicking too hard.
  2. Inhale to switch legs, extending the right leg as you bend the left.
  1. Exhale, performing two pulses with the left leg.
  2. Repeat 6 to 8 times.

Tips for the Single Leg Kick Pilates Exercise

  1. If you are strong through center and your lower back is lengthened, not crunched, try this exercise with the both legs lifted off the floor slightly when they are extended. This is a lengthening and lifting of the legs out from the hip. Keep the tailbone moving down toward the floor.
  2. Some people do this exercise alternating the position of the foot, they may do a flex kick and then do a point kick.
  3. Single Straight Leg Stretch will be a nice counter exercise for Single Leg Kick.It is an intermediate-level exercise that stretches the hamstring muscles you have just exercised.
  4. If you have difficulty due to foot pain during this exercise, especially from a bunion, ask your Pilates instructor for a modification or substitution exercise. That's the advantage of having an instructor!

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