Want to have a firm, round bottom and shapely legs?
Tired of your old exercise routine?
Then it’s time to try something new! Pilates has emerged as one of the best workouts for overall conditioning. It not only keeps you fit but also helps develop core strength, burns fat, and tones your body from head to toe.
Some Pilates exercises enhance your balance and coordination. Others target specific muscles, such as the abs, triceps, glutes, or quads. They all increase muscle strength and tone, improve your posture, and keep your joints flexible.
If your goal is to shape your legs and butt, you can’t go wrong with Pilates single leg kick. This mat exercise targets the glutes and hamstring muscles while increasing mobility in the spine. Let’s see what makes it so great and how to do it properly.
Build Strength and Mobility with the Pilates Single Leg Kick
The Pilates single leg kick targets the hamstrings. These muscles are located at the back of your thighs and help in everyday activities like running and walking. The leg kick also works your glutes, giving them that sought-after shape you’re after.
Your gluteal muscles have more than an aesthetic function. They allow you to move your thigh in different directions, maintain your balance, and rotate your thigh. Prolonged sitting and lack of exercise can weaken these muscles, which may lead to poor balance and reduced range of motion.
In fact, according to Live Science, the glutes are the largest muscle in your body. They play a key role in the movement of the hip and thigh, and help you maintain an upright position.
Strong glute muscles can enhance your sports performance, including your ability to run, squat, and lift heavy objects. Not to mention that they create the shape of your butt!
Considering these facts, it makes sense to keep your glutes functioning at their peak. That’s where the Pilates single leg kick comes in.
This simple yet challenging exercise strengthens your glutes and hamstrings while improving overall fitness. With regular practice, it helps:
- Build core strength
- Stretch the front of your hips
- Strengthen the deep abdominal muscles
- Improve the functioning of the hip extensors and knee flexors
- Tone your arms and chest
- Relieve tension from the back
- Prevent lower back pain
- Enhance your balance and stability
- Sculpt your butt and legs
This exercise requires nothing but a yoga or Pilates mat. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Plus, it appeals to any fitness level and can be adjusted to your needs.
Whether you’re new to fitness or have been working out for years, you’ll reap the benefits. The key is to be consistent and use proper form.
How to Do a Pilates Single Leg Kick
Ready to give it a try? Follow these steps to do a Pilates single leg kick the right way:
- Lie face-down on a mat with your legs together and extended behind you.
- Place your forearms on the ground and raise your torso. Your elbows should be placed directly under your shoulders. Squeeze your core and take deep breaths.
- Clasp your hands together in front of you and look straight ahead. Keep your neck aligned with your spine.
- Exhale and draw up your lower abs.
- Lift the front of your pelvis slightly off the ground, allowing your spine to lengthen.
- From this position, bend your right knee and push the heel of your bent leg close to the buttocks twice. Keep your foot flexed.
- Lower back the right leg and repeat with your left leg.
- Alternate legs, kicking twice with each. Exhale as you switch legs.
- Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings throughout the movement to fully activate them. If you do it right, you should feel them burning after a few reps.
- Repeat six to eight times for each leg. Do at least two sets.
Tips and Modifications
- For increased muscle activation, perform the leg kick slowly or with a smaller range of motion.
- For a more intense workout, move fast. Increase the number of reps.
- If you have neck pain or experience discomfort, rest your forehead on the back of your hands.
- Remember to coordinate your breath with your movement.
- The lower abdominals should stay lifted from the floor at all times. Make sure you feel your kneecaps lightly touching the mat.
- As you progress, try different variations of the Pilates single leg kick, such as the double leg kick and the side leg kick. These exercises are more advanced and require greater balance.
- Consider wearing ankle weights for a more challenging workout.
Perform this exercise at least once a week to fully reap its benefits. Ideally, include it in your leg training routine. Another option is to do it on your off training days. This will keep you active and speed up your workout progress.
Watch your form so you can get the most out of this exercise and stay injury-free. Poor form can lead to muscle strains, neck or back pain, and muscle tension. Plus, it stalls your progress, so you won’t get the desired results.
Despite its apparent simplicity, the Pilates single leg kick is one of the best exercises for your glutes and legs. It not only strengthens these muscles but also lengthens your spine and tones your body. Plus, you’ll find it easier to maintain good posture and perform your day-to-day activities.
Remember that Pilates is whole-body fitness. It promotes strength and balanced muscle development while increasing your mobility. On top of that, it appeals to people of all ages and fitness levels. Most exercise requires no equipment, so you can work out on the go, at the office, or in your hotel room.
Unlike traditional workouts, Pilates builds lean muscle and strength without the bulk. If you’ve never tried before, now is the time to do it. Soon, you’ll be leaner and fitter, have greater energy, and feel better overall. Add the Pilates single leg kick to the mix, and your booty will look amazing!
Andra Picincu has been offering digital and content marketing / copywriting services since 2009. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Her interests include health, fitness, nutrition, and everything business related.