Pilates focuses on the entire body and therefore it will come as no surprise that there are plenty of different moves that make up such a workout. One move that you will see show up over and over again is the Pilates leg kick. This is a staple move in this type of exercise and is one that is definitely worth putting in the time to perfect it so that you can get the most of this simple move.
The Benefits of the Leg Kick
There are two kinds of Pilates leg kicks, the single leg kick and the double leg kick. This move may look simple, but when done correctly it works the hamstrings, glutes, and core, while also strengthening the back and stretching your quads!
How To Perform the Leg Kick
This is a body-weight exercise so you will only need yourself and a mat. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you, feet together. Raise your torso, resting on your forearms. Make sure to keep your elbows directly under your shoulders, and keep your hands either flat on the map or clasped together (whichever feels comfortable for you).
Performing the Move
- Hold your head comfortably, either looking forward or slightly down, as to not strain your spine.
- Hold in your abdominal muscles, as though you are trying to pull them up and away from the mat while pressing your pelvis into the mat.
- Breathe in and point your toes, and then bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle.
- As you exhale, pulse your leg twice sending your heels towards your glutes.
- Inhale again and slowly lower your leg back to the floor.
- Repeat this move with your left leg.
Mastering the Move
While this move is simple it is important to perform it correctly. Like most Pilates moves it is the little details that make the biggest difference – and when you have mastered it you will really see and feel the improvement. Here are a few tips for mastering this move.
- Engage your abdominal muscles throughout the workout. Not only will this improve your stability during the exercise but it will also help to strengthen your core muscles.
- When you pulse your leg backwards work on exhaling sharply with each pulse. Therefore you should inhale as you lift, exhale twice as you pulse and then inhale again as you return your leg to the floor. Breathwork is a very important part of Pilates and can make the biggest difference in the long run if you pay attention to your breathing.
- In the same vein as your breath control, Pilates places a lot of focus on intention and focus on the body. Connecting with your body during every move can really help you to improve your form. Be aware of the muscles being used as you perform the leg kick and make sure that you are not straining other areas of the body unintentionally.
The Pilates leg kick is a move that you will come across many times and it is worth taking the time to master it properly. As you improve you can move on to master the double leg kick as well as other variations!
Want to increase your knowledge of Pilates and perhaps even become a Pilates Instructor? If so, check out our Pilates Instructor Course. For more information, please follow this link.