Adding on to last week’s Training Tuesday post, Pilates Side Kick Series- Front & Back, here’s another exercise to burn out your legs and buns. Point Up, Flex Down (and it’s reverse) is pretty self-explanatory. But, I’ll explain in detail below.
Side Kick Series- Point Up, Flex Down (10 reps/leg)
1. To prepare- lie on your right side. Line up your ears, shoulders and hips with the back of your mat. Your feet should be at the front corner of the mat, so that your body is in a moon (or banana) shape. Your shoulders should be stacked one on top of the other, as should your hips. Gently support your head with your right hand. Make sure to lift your ribs away from the mat so that your back and neck stay in alignment and your abdominals are engaged. The left hand rests lightly on the mat, in front of your chest. This should help you with balance, but don’t depend on it. The balance should come from your core. Rotate your legs slightly outward from your hips, in a Pilates (or ballet first) position.
2. On an inhale, point your left foot and lift your left leg.
3. On an exhale, flex your foot and lower your leg back to the start position. This lift and lower represents one rep. Repeat this Point Up, Flex Down variation 5 to 10 times.4. Now for the reverse. This time you will Flex Up, Point Down. On an inhale, flex your left foot and lift your left leg.5. On an exhale, point your foot and lower your leg back to the start position. This up and down is one rep.6. Repeat this Flex Up, Point Down variation for a total of 5 to 10 reps.
Things to keep in mind
-The only thing moving throughout the exercise should be your working leg. The rest of your body should remain still and stable.
-Only lift your working leg as high as you can keep your hips and waist long. As soon as your waistline begins to scrunch up (that is the technical term), you’ve gone too far. Think long, lean legs and waist.
-Tummy pulled in nice and flat. Imagine zipping on those skinny jeans. You know the pair. Where you have to pull your tummy both in and up. Now do that throughout the exercise. We want to work on building your abdominal muscles in, not out.
-Resist the movement in both directions. I like to imagine that I’m pushing and pulling with my leg, so that I really have to work to move it. This should not be easy.
– If your neck is giving you trouble, reach your bottom arm straight out along the mat above your head and resting your head on it.
-Reduce the number of repetitions and don’t be afraid to take breaks. Proper form is more important than risking the integrity of your body.
-Vary the pace of the exercise. Try some slow and controlled and some more quickly.
-Increase the number of reps.
-Bring the front hand to the back of your head with your elbow pointed toward the ceiling. By taking away the support of your front hand, you will have to rely more heavily upon your core to ensure that your torso remains still.
-Add light ankle weights.
Photos by Michele LoBosco