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How to Do a Side Kick Circle in Pilates

Learn how to do the side kick circle Pilates Mat exercise from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


This is the circles and the sidekick series.

So flex your heels here, Madeline, leading right from up/down or same sideline position, lift your top leg up here hip height and hold it. Then begin to circle your leg forward, brush your inner thigh, circle down, around, and up. And continue; circle around and up.

So these circles are about the size of a grapefruit. You're brushing the inner thigh and we're working a full range of motion in the hip joint here. That's it; one more time here and now reverse this.

Think of brushing the thigh each time; that's it. Very nice. Still working on the abdominals; pulling in and up, keeping the spine long from head to tailbone, and of course, lengthening the legs as long as possible. Then hold the leg here in the center, and lower the leg down.

So once you've learned front/back, up/down, and circles, you'll flow the series together; that's how it works. So you'll lift the top heel up and we'll again recap front/back. So kick forward two times, then point the toe and reach back. Just do two more, Madeline. Kick and kick and point, length and back.

One last time. Now bring your top leg over your bottom leg and lower it down. Flex, lift your heel up, point the toe and lower it down. Flex to lift and point to lower. Keep control of your abdominals, keep control of the legs and work resistance. Now reverse this; point up and flex down. So if you're zoning out in this series, use your imagination; imagine you're balancing a nice hot cup of coffee on your heel, you don't want to spill it to the ground.

Now flex the heel here, keep it at hip height and go into your small circles. And up, and up; try to find a little accent, up. So it's buoyant energy, we're always working in and up in Pilates. And now reverse this; five, four, three, two, and one. Hold your leg here and then lower your top leg over the bottom leg.

After you've done this side, you'll come up and switch to the other side and do the entire series on the other side here.

So both legs get worked out here. And, again, flex the heel with the top leg up for front/back; kick your leg two times forward and once to the back. Flex, kick, and kick, point through the toe to reach back. One last time; kick and kick, point, reach back. Now bring your top leg over your bottom leg. Flex, lift the foot, point and lower it.

Always working hip height here in beginner; we're lengthening the muscles. If you kick the leg too high, you only tighten the muscles of your hips which really won't serve you in the long run. Now reverse this; point up, flex lower. Two more; point to lift, flex to lower. Last time.

Now, from here, flex the heel; just hold it at hip height and go into your small circles, three in each direction; three, and two, and one. Now reverse this for three, around and up for two, one more time here, Madeline, then lower your leg down.

Once you've completed this series, there's an optional stretch you can take, but I'm sure you'll want to take it. Turn over onto your back, Madeline; this is the figure four stretch. So you'll bring your knees toward your chest, cross one ankle over the other thigh, hold on behind the back of the bent knee, and then from here press your hips down and gently rock the hips from side to side.

This stretch focuses on your hip rotator musculature which is what's working pretty hard here in the sidekick series. And then switch legs. That's it.

Then bend both knees toward your chest. And that's the sidekick series.

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