Side Kicks on the Pilates Mat are on the of the most key Pilates exercises for training and strengthening your side body. But like anything in Pilates it's easy to cheat your way through the exercise or allow more dominant muscles to take over. By adding in the Magic Circle it allows us to train the glute muscles in a more focused way. Do this series on both sides and then try to do your regular Side Kick Series without the circle and notice what you are able to connect with easier and what is still challenging you.
Do not lock out your knee, be mindful to press from your muscles.
Set yourself up on the mat as you would for your Side Kick Series. Have your elbow, shoulder, ribs, hips along the back edge of your mat, and then move your feet to the front edge of your mat. Prop your head up on your hand and for an added challenge place the top hand behind your head as well. Place your bottom ankle inside the circle to stabilize it and then place your top leg on top of the circle. Before you begin, make sure your waist is long and your whole body is actively holding you in this position.
Start by pressing down on the circle. Do this 8-10x being mindful that you are not "bouncing" up. Press into the circle and then resist it back into place. If you are hypermobile, soften your knee to keep this in your upper inner thigh. Then move your leg inside the circle and press the circle up 8-10x. Again, resisting the circle back into place. For an added challenge, place your top leg back on top and then without pressing down on the circle lift your bottom leg to your top leg 8-10x. There are some other variations you can do.
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!