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exercise of the month

The Tree

January 2020

Aim

To work the abdominals whilst achieving segmental control of the spine

Starting Position

Lie supine with the left leg outstretched along the floor and the right leg extended in the air at a 45 degree angle. The arms are down by the side of the body

Action

Inhale - To prepare

Exhale - To engage the core abdominals, tuck in the chin and slowly lift the head off the floor and simultaneously place the right hand at the crease of the right buttock.  Then as the shoulder blades lift, place the left hand behind the hamstring, just below the knee. As the spine lifts further, place the right hand onto the right calf.  Finally, as you sit fully upright, place the left hand onto the right ankle.  The arms effectively “walk” up the leg.

Inhale – To prepare and sit up tall

Exhale - To roll back down, slowly return to the starting position, one vertebrae at a time.  The leg should move to the floor at the same speed as the torso, walking the hands back down the leg in the reverse order as above.

Target Muscles

Abdominals, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings

Watchpoints

Keep the chin tucked in as if holding a small apple between the chin and the chest to avoid shortening the back of the neck

Try to move segmentally through each vertebra, one at a time

Ensure the shoulders stay away from the ears

The back should not arch as the leg moves.  Bend the knee to make it easier on the lumbar spine and hamstrings

The extended leg should not move away from the 45 degree angle as the torso lifts up, nor should it come towards the body as the torso lowers to the floor

Contra Indictions

Variation One (Adaptation)

This exercise can be performed with knees bent to make it easier

Contra-Indications

This exercise may not be suitable for certain disc-related back problems or osteoporosis.

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