In recent years, Pilates has become one of the most popular exercises for those seeking the total mind and body experience. Initially created to aid injured dancers, the form of exercise, inspired by Yoga, is patterned after the movements of elegant animals, including swans and seals.

You might think Pilates is an easy workout, but it’s not. There is more involved in the exercise program than you would imagine. It’s a difficult exercise program that requires your undivided attention. Health and fitness experts have recently discovered the perfect Pilates move everyone should be using. If you’re not doing this already, what are you waiting for? Here are the benefits of doing Pilates leg kicks.

But First, Why Does Pilates Matter?

Before you can even begin to learn a new exercise program, you need to understand its beneficial factor. Why does Pilates matter? Why is it a necessary workout program? Does it even help? According to the experts, Pilates involves bringing one’s attention to the body. Similar to meditation, you focus on your breathing. During the entire routine, you switch between breathing normally and correcting your body posture to achieve a more natural state.

You might not think it’s important to practice the art of perfect breathing but breathing correctly helps with your posture. Pilates allows you to focus on the quality of movement while breathing, rather than the number of repetitions.

Everyone can benefit from a good Pilates workout. From athletes to dancers and senior citizens, Pilates helps strengthen one’s stamina, improves your core and flexibility, reduces stress (like meditation), and promotes an evenly conditioned body.

Practice The Single Leg Kick

There are many beneficial Pilates exercises to incorporate into your daily workout routine. Many Pilates moves exercise the hamstrings, but fitness expert Sarah Stockett recommends the Single Leg Kick (also known as the One Leg Kick). While it’s the most challenging move in the Pilates program, you shouldn’t be afraid. The move strengthens your hamstrings, upper back, and abdominals, unlike other Pilates exercise moves.

There are many steps involved in the Single Leg Kick. Remember to properly breathe during the entire workout and focus on stretching your muscles. Pilates is often a recovery workout in between cardio training. Enjoy this workout!

How To Do The Single Leg Kick

To begin, lay on your stomach with your fingers stacked on top of each other. This position allows your collarbone to broaden.  Then, make sure your legs are inner-hip-width apart and parallel. You should feel your kneecaps lightly touch the exercise mat. Take a moment to lengthen your spine.

Next, learn to use proper Pilates breathing. Take a nice, deep inhale in through your nose. As you exhale, purse your lips and blow as if you’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Squeeze in your belly button, inhale and gently lift your torso off the exercise mat. Your elbows and forearms should be extended and positioned under your shoulders. It’s important for your abdominals to stay lifted from the floor.

Then, squeeze your buttocks and press the lower body back onto the mat, allowing the lower body to strengthen. To relieve any tension, keep your neck aligned with your spine and gaze about two feet ahead of your exercise mat.

Inhale and bend one knee upward. Push the heel of your bent leg close to your buttocks twice while flexing the foot. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat the Pilates move with your other leg. Perform at least two repetitions of this exercise with each leg.

To safely come out of this exercise form without the risk of cramping your muscles, inhale to lengthen and exhale to lower your body to lay on the exercise mat. Slowly increase the number of times per week you complete this Pilates move during your exercise routine. It’s the only way you will notice significant results.