13. The One Leg Kick
Seems like such a simple exercise, but there's a lot going on. This exercise requires shoulder stability, lumbopelvic stability, appropriate lower extremity alignment, and coordination. Those with low back pain, shoulder pain, neck issues, knee pain should use caution when performing this exercise. Since it is an extension exercise, it is at the top of my favorites list.
Classical start: lie on stomach, arms at side, ankles pointed
Recommended start: lie on stomach, ankles pointed, rest forehead on back of hands
1. Exhale to prop up on elbows. (options for hands-palms on floor, clasp hands, fist hands with parallel forearms)
2. Inhale bend left knee and flex left ankle to bring left heel towards right sitz bone, pulse/kick twice. Careful not to bounce or jolt the entire body with the kick.
3. Exhale point left ankle to press left foot back down to floor by straightening left knee.
4. Repeat on each side six times.
Modifications: leave head resting on hands and perform only leg kicks, float head off mat only a few inches (similar to baby swan), decrease knee flexion range of motion, skip the pulse.
Tips for success: press through muscles in armpits to stabilize shoulder girdle, activate/mobilize/stretch quad muscles prior to performing single leg kick. See tips for stabilizing lumbar spine during swan and baby swan.
Challenges: float legs two inches off floor, lie on balance disc.