Leg Kicks for a Better Arabesque

Melanie Hamrick

SETUP

  • Lying on your stomach, prop yourself up on your elbows with your legs glued together.
  • Take the Flexistretcher by the elastic, a little shorter than shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull your hands away from each other to create a resistance. Your hands and elbows should be in line.

ACTION

  • Feel your shoulders drop down your back. Hands are flat, pressing into the floor as if you are dragging yourself forward.
  • Lift your right leg 3 times without compromising your spinal extension.
  • Lift your left leg 3 times, pressing the leg into the back and keeping your chest forward

REPETITIONS: 0-15 each leg

SETS: 3-5

CUES:

  • Keep the elbows right underneath your shoulders as you feel the chest pull forward.
  • Pull the scapula down the back, feeling the neck elongate.
  • Press forearms down into the floor.
  • Hollow out your abs, pulling the belly button into the spine to protect from “sinking” in your lower spine.
  • Avoid rocking side to side.
  • Elongate the spine.
  • Keep the Flexistretcher pulled to a tension for the duration of the exercise.

MUSCLES TARGETED:  Back extensor muscles, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

CHALLENGES: Lift the leg higher off of the floor keeping it right behind your spine. Practice with internal and external rotation.

MODIFICATIONS: Perform exercise without the strap. Try the classic pilates one leg kick, the video from Pilates on Fifth in NYC walks you through a great demonstration.