Single Leg Kick on the Mat

Single Leg Kick on the mat is fantastic for getting you connected to your seat and your back. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood exercises.

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • June 11, 2018
Home  »  Pilates Mat Exercises | Free Tutorials   »   Single Leg Kick on the Mat
Table of Contents
Single Leg Kick on the Mat - Online Pilates Classes
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Equipment Needed: Mat (The mat shown in this video is the Contrology Folding Mat.)
  • Reps: 3-5x each side
  • Warning: If you have lower back issues, keep stomach pulling up or rest head down. If knee issues, separate knees slightly.
  • Questions: Contact us here

Single Leg Kick on the Mat

If there is one exercise in a Pilates Mat class that students wonder why we do it, it’s the Single Leg Kick! This exercise is so essential to the Pilates method and yet, because it’s easy to make it look like you are doing it right, you can actually be doing it and doing nothing at all! Pilates is never about the choreography but rather about connecting to the body. If you are fully connected, this exercise is a booty and hamstring killer. If you are not connected, you may feel things in your knees or lower back, or nothing at all.

Kick your heel to your seat two times without dropping your thigh.

Prop yourself on your forearms with your arms parallel to each other fists pressing into your mat. Pull your chest forward and your shoulders back. It’s easy to hang in your lower back. Lift your stomach off the mat and reach your tailbone towards your heels to help your lower abdominals connect and lift off the mat. Without letting go of anything kick your right heel to your seat two times. Then press your leg down and switch. Repeat 3-5x each side.

As you do this exercise it’s easy to let the hips fall side to side and avoid the stretch of the hips. But, if you can work the control and maybe even reduce your range of motion you will get more stretch and strength from each kick. Another thing to notice is where your knee is in space. For me, my knees are not touching the mat when my legs are straight. So, when I kick my heel to my seat my knee doesn’t get to drop down and touch the mat. It has to stay where it is. This requires the muscles of my thigh to activate and hold the thigh bone in place as I kick and straighten. You’ll know when you are doing it “right.” Your seat and hamstrings will speak to you!


Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

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eb 3 online pilates classes

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SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

99 PROBLEMS BUT BRIDGE AIN'T ONE

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Shoulder Bridge has multiple phases. It's a phenomenal replacement exercise and also can be a huge challenge. You can balance your asymmetries while also revealing them. It's an exercise that can warm you up and can be part of an advanced series. This week we'll focus on exercises that benefit from Shoulder Bridge and what Shoulder Bridge is telling us about our practice that day.

Mat: magic circle for the warm up. If you don't have a circle a ball and a theraband.
Reformer: no prop needed but can use a theraband or circle for short box

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, magic circle, a ball, a theraband and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a theraband or circle for short box and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

This week we will focus on all things Rowing! How do the other exercises help our rowing series and how does rowing influence the others! Finding the arm/back connection throughout the class is how we will Row Row Row Our Boat to the finish line!

Light hand weights needed for the Mat class!

See you in class,
Mindi

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light hand weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    STAND BY ME

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

    On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

    The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,

    xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    FRENEMIES

    Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

    Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

    For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

    Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

    See you in class,

    Christine

    HANG 10

    ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

    Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

    All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

    Props:
    Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
    *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
    Mat: a pole
    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac: No props needed

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

    Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
    Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

    xx~LL

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.