The Pilates Side Kick exercise is a great whole body strengthening exercise that can be done safely by most bodies. When you first do this exercise you may feel like it is a “leg exercise” (and it it) but the stability and lengthening portion of this exercise really comes from your center and those core muscles. After you get set up in a side lying position that works best for your body, you’ll be working to keep your upper body stable(ie completely still!) as you sweep your top leg front to back trying to challenge your balance and stability!
In his book,Return to Life, Joseph Pilates only includes the Side Kick as part of the traditional Pilates Mat routine. Over the years though there have been lots of variations of this exercise that have made their way into the Pilates Mat sequence and we often call this series of exercises the Side Leg Kick series. These exercises are especially great for strengthening the gluteus muscles of the hips as well as the traditional whole body strengthening you get from every Pilates exercise. Check out the video below that teaches a Side Leg Kick routine you can try at home!