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exercise of the month

Single Leg Stretch

December 2018

Aim

To work the abdominals practices the turned out leg position.  To challenge co-ordination.

Starting Position

Lie supine on the floor in the relaxation position with the knees bent and feet and knees hip width apart. The arms are down by the sides of the body on the floor.  Inhale to prepare and exhale to engage the core abdominals and raise one foot at a time off the floor until the knees are bent at around 90 degrees above the hips.  The legs are together and the toes are slightly pointed.

Action

Inhale - To prepare

Exhale, - To engage the core abdominals, and curl the head and upper back off the floor

Inhale - To place the right hand down the side of the right shin as close to the right ankle as possible.  Place the left hand on the inside of the right knee

Exhale - Maintaining core engagement and straighten the left leg away from the body at an angle between 80-30 degrees (depending upon stability of the pelvis  - the lower the leg, the more challenging).  As the leg pushes away, turn the leg out in the hip socket and softly point the toes. Inhale - As the leg bends back in and simultaneously straighten the right leg (so that the legs pass each other).  The left hand will now be down the side of the left shin as close to the ankle as possible.  The right hand will be on the inside of the left knee. 

Continue swapping legs.

Target Muscles

Rectus abdominis, core abdominals, external rotators

Watchpoints

·             Ensue that the pelvis remains in a neutral position throughout

·             If the legs cannot straighten due to tight hamstrings or if the back starts to arch, then only straighten the legs as far as the body allows

·             Ensure that the neck stays long and shoulders stay away from the ears

·             Keep the feet long and softly pointed and avoid curling the toes

Contra Indictions

This exercise may be unsuitable for those with sciatica since the turned out position may aggravate this condition.  Variation One should be used as a suitable alternative.

This exercise may be unsuitable for those with neck problems in which case, the head may remain on the floor.  A curled-up position may not be suitable for those with osteoporosis or certain disc-related back problems.

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