DIGGING DEEPER- Get to know your Pilates exercises: Single Leg Kick

  Single Leg Kick

By Amanda Turner

Hi Everyone! Welcome to February, hopefully the worst of Winter is behind us, which means it’s time to work on getting our behinds in shape ;). Let me introduce you to Single Leg Kick. This is an intermediate level exercise that targets the the whole body but specifically the glutes, while stretching the quads, strengthening the extension (arching) of your spine, while challenging the abdominals. However, it is an exercise that you can cheat yourself out of all these goodies if you just move through it - so, let’s get into it!


Set Up:

Post stretch (rounding of the spine) after Swan, you’ll lie back out onto your stomach. Elbows are underneath of your shoulders and your propped up by your forearms. Make fists with your hands, pressing your pinky into the Mat, thumbs up toward the ceiling and those fists are straight out in front of your elbows. You’re really strong in your upper body, and your feeling as if you could retract the elbows back toward your hips. The ribs are pulling in and up, away from the Mat. Abs are scooping in and up. Legs are squeezing together and your pressing your Punic bone into the Mat to really get the abs lifting in. It’s a lot of work to just maintain this starting position!



1.) Bend your right knee, kicking toward your glute and then add another little kick (it’s a pulse). Press that foot back into the Mat.

2.) Bend your left knee and kick, then pulse and extra inch. Repeat for 5 sets total. 


Things I look for:

~Make sure your hips don’t rock side to side. Press your hips into the Mat and enjoy the stretch of your quad and hip flexors.

~Don’t let your body rock as your kick. Keep your strong foundation and use the glute and hamstring to kick AND stabilize.

~The inner thighs remain connected and squeezing together - they'll slowly want to relax apart from one another.

~Keep the lift of the upper body by pressing the forearms and fist into the Mat. This will also help keep your shoulders away from your ears!



  • Want to up the ante? Have the legs pass one another, scissoring the legs as they switch. Taking away the stability of the down leg will challenge your powerhouse even more!
  • Widen the elbows bringing the knuckles together, this also changes and challenges your balance point.


Knee Problems?

Bend the knee less and and focus on moving from the glute and hamstring and not using force from the foot to make it happen.


This isn’t an easy exercise, although I did say it’s Intermediate level, you learn it when your a little closer to the Advanced level - it’s one of the last exercises to be added to the Intermediate Mat repertoire. If you feel like this exercise has gotten a little easy, or maybe you move through it wondering what the point is - ask your teacher to take you through a detailed reintroduction and see what the challenge is all about!!


Enjoy :)