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  Pilates exercise:   heal kicks (single leg kicks) Pilates Information
Pilates Alexander Technique
Free pilates Exercises Online
This is a great exercise provided you gently brace your torso, and grow tall and "pulse" rather than "kick". However if your abdominals are weak and your quads are tight then single leg kick may upset your lower back. If your back is dodgy don't do it! - Mckenzie extension is a similar exercise to try - see comment in right hand panel.
Heal Kicks:- Start Position
  1. Prop youself in a sphinx postion (on elbows but with hands touching).
  2. "Melt" your navel upward to spine; make a skinny waist; grow tall; shine your breast bone forward.
  3. Gently clench the buttock muscles.
  4. Draw your shoulder blades down you back and continue to grow tall.
  5. You may look directly forward; provided you gently tuck your chin and lengthen the sides of your neck.
Heal Kicks:- Action
  1. Inhale to prepare
  2. Exhale to pulse the right heel to the hip ("pulse pulse!"!) and then...
  3. continue the exhale as you reach the leg away to the wall behind; pause and lower smoothly.
  4. Repeat with the left leg
  5. Five to 10 times!
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Heal Kicks:
Start Position
What it does
Teaches core control when the back is in extension. This makes it somewhat challenging. Bracing and lengthening in the torso is required in order to keep your back safe.
  • The clenched buttock muscles stabilize the lower back (3).
  • The kick challenges the back while it is in extension.
  • brace the torso just enough to protect you but not enough to cause undue tension.
  • If you do have pain upon extending your back and kicking, this suggestive of "Lumbar Extension Syndrome", which is a common "directional susceptibility movement" (DSM) of the lower back(1).
  • If back pain is mild, you should omit the kick but continue to hold the sphinx position (see McKenzie extension
  • If back pain is severe and worsening, stop and seek professional advice.
Watch Points
  • Skinny waist (shrink wrap your abs around your spine), and grow tall
  • Kick gently (it's a pulse rather than a vigorous kick).
  1. Shirley A Sahrmann: Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes; Publ. Mosby 2002
  2. The Official Body Control Pilates Manual Available from:
  3. Bruce Thomson: Engage Gluteus maximus!- (Section on Back Stabilization).

© Bruce Thomson, EasyVigour Project
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