One Leg Kick can be a deceiving exercise. Done improperly, clients are likely to think it’s pointless (or reminiscent of sunbathing – see image to the right). Done properly, it is not only effective at enhancing thoracic extension and toning the legs, but it also brings awareness to the space in the hip joints that is not felt in many movements.
But to eek out all that space, it’s all about the prep. The prep is simple, but it goes a loooong way in making the client aware of the goal. Help the client find the proper trunk and arm positioning first. Then tell them they are a statue from the waist up. This isolates the movement to the lower extremities – and is a lot of trunk work to do so! Next, have the client lift one leg up – just an inch – keeping it straight, pointing the toe. Ask her to place the leg back down on the mat an inch further towards the mat’s end than it was to begin with. Repeat with the other leg.
As the client moves into the exercise’s movement, remind them to find that extra inch each time the leg straightens. Et voilà!
A note or two about tactile cueing. During the prep, it can be really helpful to grasp the client’s foot when it is in the air and give a slight tug so they can really feel the hip reaching out of the joint. Another helpful tip for clients is to scoot down so that the feet are at the edge of the mat. This enables them to have some self-tactile feedback on the top of the foot when it is placed back down on the mat.
It’s a simple exercise – some see it as a rest, but you can change that. Just remember, it’s all about the prep.
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