Adding Pilates to your weekly fitness routine is a great way to achieve a stronger, and more flexible body and core. These controlled exercises aid in faster recovery times, while strengthening muscles all the way from the shoulders down to the hamstrings and toes. Whether you’re a runner, swimmer, a gym or yoga lover, pilates can make a huge difference to your sense of balance and flexibility, while adding more power and longevity to your movements.
The immediate advantage is that you can perform quite a large selection of Pilates workouts anywhere, with just an exercise mat and a bit of focus. There are several variations that target and tone different muscle groups in your body, while also adding to overall fitness and core strength. The side-kicking toned legs series, for instance, strengthens the lateral flexors and the muscles that stabilize the lower back and pelvis. At the same time, they also stretch the front of the hips and works on your glutes, while giving you the toned legs.
Executing the Pilates Side-Lying Power Kick
Essentially a stability exercise, this routine demands concentration from your abs as you kick your legs out. Remember, it’s not a display of how far you can kick your legs, but how balanced, aligned and flexible your body remains as you complete the motion.
- Begin by lying down on your side with your legs slightly in front of your body, resting towards the front edge of your mat. Let your head rest on your bottom hand, propped up on a bent elbow on the floor, while your top arm is bent with the palm down on the mat in front of you for stability.
- As you inhale, flex your foot as you kick your top leg straight out in front of you. You can give kick out front in two quick phases to add more power. Keep your toes pointed straight so as to demand more stability and balance from your core.
- Kick your leg behind you as you exhale, pointing the foot, and keeping it the same height as your hip. Remember to squeeze your glutes and work your abs inwards for added stability. Try and complete at least 10 repetitions on each side.
Keep pressing into the bottom hip and arm to prevent rocking back and forth as you move the leg. If your hip clicks or pops during the routine, squeeze the buttocks for control and keep the leg turned out from the hip socket.