Double Leg Kick with the Magic Circle on the Mat
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Double Leg Kick on the Pilates Mat requires more upper back muscles than most people realize or even have access too. It's so easy when doing the Double Leg Kick to "pull" on their shoulders or hang out in other joints in the arm and miss all the back connections. By adding the Magic Circle to this exercise it allows you to feel what upper back muscles need to activate to make this exercise even more valuable than it already is. And, once you find that feeling ditch the circle and give the exercise a go without it.
Reach legs long and, reach the circle up and then back to connect more.
Laying on your stomach with your head on your mat turned to one side, press your legs long and hug them together. Make sure your lower back is long and not hanging out into gravity. I like to reach my tailbone for my heels. Place the Magic Circle on your back and using the heel of your hands hold the circle. Depending on the openness of your shoulders the circle will likely frame your lower back. It's tempting to hold the circle with your fingers or grasping with your whole hand. But, it's important to keep the heel of your hands holding the circle.
Kick your seat 3x with the strength of your hamstrings and glutes. Then reaching your legs long and down into the mat hug the circle with your hands and reach the circle up and back. Your arms will likely not straighten as much as you are used to. Especially for those of you who are hypermobile. But, what you will feel is your upper arms and upper back muscles activate to hug the circle. Pull your chest forward and then replace your chest on the mat, look to the other side, and repeat the kicks. Do 2-4 reps.
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