Class #3341

Side Kick Variations

20 min - Class


Integrate your myofascial slings while challenging your mobility, stability, strength, and balance with this efficient Mat sequence by Elizabeth Larkam. She uses the wall to refine and expand your Side Kick with creative variations. She starts with a basic variation on the floor and progresses to a standing version of the movement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall

About This Video


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Hi there, I'm Elizabeth Larkam, and I'm so happy to be back with you at Pilates Anytime. This is my seventh year to visit Pilates Anytime, and that should be sure indication that Pilates makes you younger. We're filming in early January of 2018 and would like to send heartfelt, warm wishes for feeling well to everyone that's been affected by the Southern California fires and by the Thomas fires. If I could only teach one mat exercise, one Pilates mat exercise, it would be variations on the side kick and the side kick kneeling. Fortunately, I can teach more than one exercise, or else I'd be out of a job.

But for this particular class, this will be variations on my favorite one exercise, the Pilates side kick. So come to lie on your back, right up against the wall. Have your sacrum snuggled up to the wall, your shoulder blade snuggled up to the wall, your palms together, fingers interlaced, arms straight out in front of the bottom of your chest bone. Now keeping the soles of your feet on the wall, slide both feet up the wall, and then slide both feet down. As you inhale, slide your feet up the wall, pressing your shoulder, your arm into the floor, lift up your ribs, and lift up your waist.

So the top leg is in internal rotation, and the bottom leg is moving in external rotation. Lifting up your ribs, lifting up your waist, open the top thigh, and close it. Inhale to open. Exhale to close. Twice more.

Lift up your ribs, and lift up your waist, pressing the floor hand up to the ceiling hand. Now you alternate, both feet up, one leg open. Both feet up the wall, one knee opens to the wall. Feel free to put a head cushion to support your head and your neck. Now you're ready for sacrum against the wall, as you bring your bent knee forward, and then bring your foot onto the wall.

Push off the wall forward and back. Push off the wall forward and back. Twice more. Sacrum back, knee forward, sacrum back, knee forward. Quarter arcs forward, up and around.

Where is that wall? Come down. Forward, up and around, and down. Forward, lift up your ribs, and lift up your waist. Heel leads forward, reverse.

The wall is here not only to provide a reassuring to support but also to help keep you honest, not rolling back away to it and not rolling forward. Now come up from this side, and change to your new side. Aim your sacrum into the wall. Slither down the wall so your shoulder girdle is in contact with it. Place your palms together in front of the xiphoid process and the soles of your feet against the wall, sliding up, and sliding down, the top leg in internal rotation, the bottom leg in external rotation.

Lifting up your ribs and waist, open towards the wall, and close. Inhale to open. Exhale to close. As I mentioned before, of course, it would be fine to put a pillow or a cushion to support your head and your neck. Alternating internal rotation and external rotation and internal rotation and external rotation.

Twice more. Arc forward and then come back off to the wall, and push off. Two end, three end, and four, quarter-circles up and around, down, forward, up and around, down. Twice more here. Reverse, up and forward, back, up and forward, back, up and forward, back.

Keep the lower ribs and waist up off the ground. Come up from here, and change to your first side again. This time you'll have both legs out straight. Snuggle up to the wall (chuckles). Doesn't sound that appealing, does it?

Snuggle up to the wall with your sacrum, the back of your shoulder girdle, palms together, fingers interlaced. Slide the top leg up the wall, and slide it down the wall. As you come up, it's internal rotation, as if your toes and knee could aim to the ground, and then slide down in external rotation. Internal rotation, ribs and waist lifted up. Reverse, abduction with external rotation, just in case someone wants to name it.

Toes up, and toes down. Twice more, up end and down end and up end. While you're here, aim your sacrum back into the wall to bring your leg forward, and then heel touches the wall. Kick off the wall. Twice more.

Ribs and waist lifted. Sacrum goes back, as your heel comes forward. Forward, up and around, close, forward, up and around, reverse, up, forward, close, up, forward, and close. Change now to the new side. Come on up.

Scoot on back into the wall with your sacrum, with your shoulder girdle, both heels in contact with the wall. Internally rotate to slide up, externally down. Toes lead downward, toes lead upward. Twice more, toes down, toes up, toes down. Reverse, toes up end, toes lead down.

Lower ribs and waist lip, I'll lift up off the ground, up end, down end, up end, down. As your sacrum goes back into the wall, your heel goes forward. Exhale forward. Inhale to come back. Exhale forward.

Inhale back. And now we have two half-leg circles each way, forward, jump up off the ground, forward, jump up, reverse, up, forward, and down, up, forward, and down. We're finished with this orientation with respect to the wall now, so move your mat into the center of the room. Continuing with your side leg kick, but now away from the wall, lift up your ribs and waist. Have your knees forward of your hip joints because we'll take the short-lever version first.

As you aim your sacrum back, bring your top leg forward. As you connect from pubic bone up underneath your chest bone, bring your top leg back, pressing your bottom hand up into the top hand. That can help give you a strong ground force, clarifying here that you're working in from the hip joint and keeping your pelvis, your lumbar spine fairly steady. Now you take the leg circles up and around, pointing your foot to the back, forward, up and around to the back. Twice more.

Lift up your ribs, and lift up your waist. Reverse the direction of the circle. Foot pointed will help your hip extension, and foot flexed, dorsiflexed, will help your hip flexion. You can make your back body stronger in hip extension and your front body stronger in hip flexion. Twice more.

Change now to the new side. Lift up your ribs, your waist. Press your floor hand into your ceiling hand. Inhale to come forward. As you exhale, take your leg back.

As your leg swings back, draw from pubic bone up underneath your xiphoid process, underneath your lower front ribs so that you can keep a relationship of low ribs to pelvis. Leg circles forward, up and around to the back. This is a motion in your hip joint rather than the movement coming from the lumbar spine. Reverse, plantar flexion back, dorsiflexion coming forward. Exhale back, inhale around forth.

Just before your leg lifts, push your shoulder into the ground so you have a better proximal ground force. So that's the short-lever leg version. Now we'll take the side leg kick with long legs, knees extended. Come to lie on your side, as before, a through line from your heels out through the back top of your head. The usual story, lifting up your ribs and lifting up your waist.

As you inhale, bring your top leg forward, driving your sacrum back. As you exhale, the sole of your foot wraps around space, and you draw strongly from pubic bone up underneath your chest bone. Inhale to come forward. Reach a little bit longer to come back. Inhale forward, reach forward, exhale to go back.

Reach back further to come forward. Reach forther, further forward, not that I could say it, to go back. Leg circles forward, press into the ground in order to articulate your foot through space, forward, up and around to the back, reverse, back, up and around to the front, and back, up and around to the front. Change now to the new side. Here you are, on your new side.

It's never the other side. It's never the second side. It's always the new side 'cause you don't really know what will happen. Inhale to come forward, exhale. Lift up your ribs, as you zip from pubic bone up underneath your chest bone.

Forward end and back. Your heel leads forward, away from your sitting bone. Your toes lead forward, away from the front of your hip joint. Heel sweeps forward. Toes sweep back.

Leg circle forward, up and around to the back. Forward, up and around to the back. Reverse, back, up and around, forward, and back, up and around, and forward. We'll return now to the wall in order to take the high kneeling and then standing versions of the side leg kick and side leg circles. Return to the mat now, but this time your side will be to the wall.

Measure your distance from the wall. It'll be a one arm length plus, plus a little bit more. How's that for a little bit more? Okay, now you'll go into side bending, turning your fingernails, fingers down in the direction of the floor, and tilt into the wall so you can spread your palm and fingers wide. Reach the other arm up and over to the wall.

Now inhale to come forward, turning your chest bone, your gaze down. As you exhale, push your hands into the wall, and turn your floor lung up the ceiling, forward end and back end and forward end and back. Knee circles forward, up and around to the back, forward, up and around. Press your palms further into the wall for more ground force and stability and more freedom of your leg. Change now to the new side.

Measure your distance from the wall, more conservatively than I said, and then aim your fingernails down. Your top arm sweeps forward, and your pelvis moves over the head of your femur, palm in the direction of the window wall. Inhale to come forward, exhaling, hip extension, and trunk rotation, forward end, back end, forward end, back end. Once more, forward end, back. Leg circles forward, up and around to the back, forward.

Lift up your ribs and waist, as before, back, up and around to the front, back, up and around to the front. Push off the wall, and now come to standing. Standing now, with your side to the wall, measure a one arm distance. We'll see how that works out. Turning your fingernails down, palm up, tilt towards the wall, leaning down into the wall, and then sweep your ceiling arm high above your head.

Cartwheel over the head of your femur. Now spoking outward from the center through both legs, through both arms, through the top of your head, inhale to come forward. As you exhale, articulate your foot, push into the wall, and turn your chest bone to the ceiling. As you inhale, spine rotates towards the floor, as you exhale, towards the ceiling. If all is going reasonably well, reach your hands further apart, and hover your heel up off the mat so that you stay high on your metatarsals, before you change sides.

Stand now, with a new side towards the wall. Measure your distance. Turn your fingernails down. Sweep your arm up, (chuckles) and then cartwheel into the wall, one hand on the window, one hand low. Inhale to come forward, exhale, sweep back, pushing outward with both hands, downward with one foot, reaching outwards with the other foot.

Separate your hands further. Rise to your toes so that you can balance on your metatarsals and the soles of your toes still spoking out from the center. (horn blaring) (train chugging) And with that train finish, we thank you so much for being with us. I love to be with you on Pilates Anytime. Till the next time, bye-bye.

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2 people like this.
Excellent variations on the side kick with wall support , I will definitely bring these into my own classes. Thank you Elizabeth for relaxed and simple cueing :)
3 people like this.
Elizabeth, I love your variations. So, being honest, decided to watch this first, and boy my brain was running fast. Thoughts of how this is great for gait. Thinking how some of these exercises would compare on the Oov. You make the final exercise look so easy, but it's not. So much going on with one exercise. Really appreciate the build up to one exercise making it quite functional on many levels.
1 person likes this.
Love to see videos from you! Thank you very much! That is such a brilliant idea with the wall....and you look so relaxed! I hope you will be back soon....XOXO
A sweet, kind way to start the day. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Always so creative
Thanks you for another excellent class
That was so cool. I thoroughly enjoyed that! Thanks!
Gracias Elizabeth ❤️
Lina S
Thank you for your creative variations. I have severe arthritis in one hip and your cues help me do the exercices and feel good (the position of the arms + pressing down the shoulder helped). Thank you.
Thank you Lina for this feedback. Good to hear that these sequences served you well.
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