Strategic Pilates Side Kick Series Part 1

Strategically Kick Your Way to Toned Legs

Pilates leg toning exercises that most everyone can do at home or in a studio setting. All Pilates mat classes should include the side leg kick series. This delightful classical Pilates mat exercise series always shows up in its proper place in the classical Pilates mat sequence. Improved tone in your legs, waistline, hips and buttocks are just a few benefits of this refreshing and progressive Pilates exercise. This exercise series offers the basic few and also many variations. In today’s blog, I will give instructions for the very basics with progressions of the variations to follow in future blogs. If you are curious enough to ask, a well trained Pilates Teacher should be able to tell you why a particular variation was used and what was being sought out by choosing a certain variation. Because this series is performed in a side lying position, your body will experience hip differentiation, sideline activation, and improved dynamic stability. Adding prescribed variations promotes fine tuning of precise movement, balance, agility and strength that becomes part of your every day functional movement.

Strategic Pilates Side Kick Series Basic Instructions Part 1

Forward and Back: lie on your right side, place right arm bent elbow on the mat with hand at side of head, left arm bent at 90 degrees with hand placed at belly level, palm down with fingers facing toward right elbow. Legs positioned slightly forward of your trunk initially stacked, with toes slightly pointed. Keep hips perfectly stacked, ribs stacked and shoulders stacked, and keep this alignment throughout the entire exercise. Be sure your eyes šŸ˜³ are looking straight ahead so that your neck is not pulling forward. Stabilize your trunk using your breath, press the bottom leg (right) into the floor and lift the top leg (left) parallel to equal to hip height, no higher. Inhale deeply as you isolate a STRAIGHT LEG swing of the top (left) leg forward hinging at the hip as far as you can go without destabilizing your trunk including your hips, ribs and shoulders and reach a little further. Now begin the isolated STRAIGHT LEG swing back hinging at the hip with a deep exhale drawing the leg as far behind as you can go without destabilizing the trunk, including the hips, ribs and shoulders. Make sure your legs stay straight, imagine you are reaching for something across the room with your legs but don’t grip the muscles. Keeping your legs straight helps you maintain the stability in your hips and also helps to improve tone in the waistline. Are you still as stacked and aligned as when you first began? Repeat this movement 4-8x on each leg.

Side Kick Up and Down: The position is the same (begin by lying on your right side) Slightly externally rotate (slightly turn out) the top leg (left). This is not accomplished just by rolling the foot outward. External leg rotation comes from high up the leg, think ‘hip’ and you’ve got it. This exercise in good form requires your body to resist the urge of rolling the top hip forward because you’ll that perfect stack and be out of alignment, therefore missing the Strategic purpose of the exercise. Inhale as your left leg reaches up to the sky as far as you can go (important to keep the leg very straight) without destabilizing your trunk including hips, ribs and shoulders. check in: where are your eyes looking? With a very deep exhale resist gravity while lowering your left (top) leg to meet the right (bottom) leg and imagine feeling length from your hip all the way down to your toes. It should feel as if someone else was helping you tug that leg across the room. Repeat the exercise 4-8x on each leg. Remember to breathe throughout each exercise. The standard rule is: inhale to begin, exhale to complete. (video coming soon)

Published by Strategic Pilates

Natalie Shook NCPT Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher with an interesting journey as a practitioner and teacher of the classical Pilates Methodology. More about me on the 'About' page at