Kneeling side leg lift 101: Get your leg higher

Want to get your leg higher in your kneeling side leg lift? Try this!

The kneeling side leg lift is one of those Pilates moves that can either target your side butt and develop your strength and co-odination while it prepares you for the side kick, or it can just be frustrating.

If you can’t get your leg as high as you want, try the prep series in the video below and see what happens.

I’ve demo’d just one side, so remember to do both 😄

I like to do this series two or even three times in a row, alternating from side to side. You’ll really notice the difference as you go!

As a side note, notice if your leg just stops or if you have discomfort/pain.

If there’s discomfort in your hip, try the series and see if you can find ways to move that don’t hurt, or don’t hurt any more than usual. That usually means a smaller range, which can be less satisfying, but if it feels better that’s a win!

Here are some considerations for cueing:

If you or your clients tend towards bigger movements, suggest images that offer internal resistance and control.

“Imagine you have tensor bandage wrapped securely around your hip and your movements are strong and supported.”

“Pretend you have a sandbag draped over the top of your leg, just below your hip and that’s what you’re pressing away from the floor.”

If you or your clients have denser, less mobile patterns try images that allow for freedom of movement at the hip joint.

“Imagine you’ve soaked your hip joint in warm olive oil. Your leg lift is smooth and glide-y.”

“Take a breath in and as you exhale let go of any tension you don’t need. Now float your leg away from the floor only as far as you can go feeling light as a feather.”

Looking for more teaching ideas? Grab my cueing guide, great for online and in-person inspiration!

Alison Crouch

I’m the owner of Boomerang Pilates and creator of the Move SMART program. I teach teachers how to incorporate sustainable movement and authentic teaching in their classes.

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