Double Leg Kick to Work Your Whole Body

There are some Pilates exercises that involve a lot of choreograpy. Double leg kick is one of those exercises. It’s not surprising that this exercise is an original mat exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate dancers. Even though all of this movement takes place over one inhale and one exhale, you’ll find that it’s very intuitive after you practice it a couple of times. As always, there’s a video at the end just in case you need to see it to figure out what the heck you’re supposed to be doing.

This exercise stretches the muscles in the shoulders and the neck, and it strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, lateral rotators, adductors, and spinal extensors. Basically, this one Pilates exercise offers everything but the kitchen sink.

Double Leg Kick

  1. Use traditional Pilates breathing.
  2. double leg kickBegin on your stomach with your head turned to one side and your legs parallel and touching. Make sure to have your adductors engaged in this position. Roll your shoulder blades onto your back and lace your fingers. Let your hands temporarily rest on your tailbone.
  3. Inhale here.
  4. Exhale and bend your knees 3 times. I like to add movement from my ankles. I point, flex, then point again.
  5. double leg kickInhale as you straighten your legs, laterally rotate them so that your knees face the side, and abduct them to about shoulder-width while you reach your arms behind you and lift into spinal extension. As your spine extends, make sure to bring your head to center.
  6. Exhale and lower to your starting position with your head facing the opposite way.
  7. Complete 4-6 repetitions on each side.

Double Leg Kick Video

With all of the choreography that can accompany a Pilates exercise, sometimes it’s easier to just watch a video. So, here is a video for visual learners.

When you do Double leg kick, where do you feel the most work? Let us know in the comments.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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