Move of the Week: Side Kick With Balance

December 30, 2012 Updated: April 3, 2013

Appearances can be deceiving. The side kick with balance exercise looks easy but is quite challenging. It is an advanced take on the basic side-lying leg kick. Simply by elevating the upper body onto the elbow, it takes the exercise from easy to advanced.

The side kick with balance requires deep core strength and stability because it is very difficult to keep the body still when kicking the leg from side to side.

Because this exercise is unique, it is a challenging variation that may be incorporated into many workout routines. It is important to vary exercise routines in order to stay fit and get good results.

Performing the Exercise

1. Lie on the right side with the right hand resting under the head. Leave only the tip of the elbow connected to the floor.
2. Lift the right side of the body up and away from the floor. Elevate from the hip to the underarm.
3. Lift the left leg to hip height.
4. Inhale and kick the left leg forward while keeping the rest of the body as still as possible.
5. Exhale and kick the left leg to the rear of the body, again keeping the rest of the body still.
6. Repeat the complete kick forward and back 10 to 15 times.
7. Repeat on the other side.

Focus Points

This exercise is all about stability (versus mobility). Without engaging the deep core muscles (pelvic floor and transverse abdominals), it is impossible to keep the body stable while simultaneously moving the leg.

Imagine the body is like a block of ice, completely solid, with only the leg free to move from the hip socket. Keep the focus on the breath to assist the engagement and stability of the core.

The thigh muscles also work in the side-kick balance exercise. After about eight repetitions, the front, side, and back of the thigh will start to fatigue.

When reaching the leg behind the body, it won’t travel very far. We are not biomechanically designed to extend our legs behind our body without our bodies moving.

The exercise is all about maintaining stillness in the body. As you kick your leg, stretch your foot away from your body to elongate your muscles. This will increase the recruitment of your thigh muscles.

This week, incorporate the side-kick balance into your workout to build balance, concentration, a strong center, and great thighs.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates Instructors and is a certified personal trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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