14. The Double Kick
Another extension exercise! So this one is tops on my list. However if you have a spine that resists extension, this one can be trouble. It is also known as double leg kick. Once you make the connection from shoulder blades down to the heels, it feels quite nice. Those with low back pain, shoulder pain, possibly knee issues might want to try a modified version before jumping right to the real deal.
Classical start: lie on stomach, hands resting on low back, palms facing the ceiling, grasp fingers of left hand with right hand, chin resting on the mat, toes pointed
Recommended start: lie on stomach, hands resting on low back, palms facing the ceiling, grasp fingers of left hand with right hand, chin resting on the mat, toes pointed
1. Inhale, turn toes out slightly to gently press heels together and bend knees to bring heels towards sitz bones. Kick/pulse three times.
2. Exhale, straighten knees and pull upper body into thoracic extension.
3. Inhale to lower upper body to start position and kick both heels towards sitz bones three times.
4. Exhale, straighten knees and pull upper body into thoracic extension. Repeat sequence for a total of five times.
some folks in the Pilates world perform add a head turn to double leg kick (alternating sides) when the torso is down, NOT when the torso is in extension. This is a nice variation to add once you've gotten the hang of double leg kick.
Modifications: leave upper body down and only kick the legs, leave feet on floor and only raise torso, keep hands at hips palms up instead of clasping hands behind back, prop on elbows as in single leg kick, place a pillow under torso.
Challenges: perform on arc, BOSU, balance disc
Tips for success: image a string connecting the heels to the hands. The heels will pull the hands and thoracic spine into extension as the knees straighten. Glide shoulder blades down the spine to aid in extension (see swan for tips on stabilizing pelvis into extension)