21 Jul Return to Life: #4 Single Leg Circle
On the Mat: Single Leg Circle
– whoosh whoosh whoosh, swing your leg around and challenge yourself to be stable or to be mobile – you can choose!!
🌟 Teaches both stability and mobility and prepares us for more challenging exercises later in the series.
🌟 The “Single Leg Circles” is an exercise that is perfect for runners and cyclists – endurance sports that result in overly tight hamstrings and lower backs as well as requiring stable pelvis and balance between the left on the right side in order to prevent injury.
🌟 But that’s not all. The hamstring stretch we get in the Single Leg Circles prepares us for so many exercises that we find later in the series that require us to have our legs at right angles to our straight body.
There are two exercises here: one (small circles) challenges you to stay stable and the other (Joe’s version) challenges you to mobilise your lower spine and your hip. Both will challenge you to stretch your hamstrings if you need to!
Large Circles – Joe’s version.
The How to…
- See Dynamic Hamstring Stretch (here). And Static hamstring Stretch (here).
- Lying on your back bend one leg into your chest with your hands behind your knee. Stretch the leg towards the ceiling reaching along through your heel and pulling your foot down towards your chest. do this until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Do this several times inhaling as you stretch.
- Lying on your back straighten your leg up in a vertical position as far as you can whilst maintaining a quiet pelvis with your tailbone on the floor. trying to keep the front of the hip soft.
- Keep the back of your pelvis rooted into the mat without rocking or shifting weight from side to side.
- Inhaling, circle your leg across your body firstly toward your opposite shoulder and then down toward your opposite leg.
- Exhaling, sweep your leg away from your body and back to the starting position.
Repeat, but circling your leg in the opposite direction.
- Finish by lowering your working leg down towards the floor and reaching your foot towards the ceiling. Lift your standing leg to the working position and repeat the steps.
Large Circles (Joe’s version)
- Inhaling, reach your leg across your body towards the opposite shoulder and then toward your standing leg and allow your hip to lift off the mat as your lower spine rotates but keep both shoulders connected to the mat.
- Exhaling, keep your hip anchored and sweep your leg away from your body and back to the starting position.
- Change direction, Circling outside of your body first.
Hints and Tips
- Knee stirs: warm up your hip socket by circling your leg in its socket holding both knees with your hands.
- If you have trouble performing exercise support your leg by placing a theraband around the arch of your foot and holding each end of the band with your hand. Anchor your upper arm into the mat. Circle your working leg keeping your hips stable imagine softening the front of the hip joints and syncing your femur further into the hip socket.
- Try having a slightly bent leg if your hamstrings are too tight.
- Practice other exercises that help you soften your hip and stretch your hamstrings.
- Keeping the front of your hip soft: place your hand in the hip crease and bend your knee as much as you need to so as to keep the tendons under your fingers soft.
- Keep your spine and pelvis in a neutral position.
- Keeping the hip and leg of the standing leg and good to the mat: imagine your hip has grown roots and they are anchoring it to the floor. You can monitor your progress by putting your hand under your hips to feel movement. Reach out through your heel of the standing leg.
- Use your abdominals to stabilise your hips.
- Imagine your leg bone is a spoon and your pelvis is a huge porridge pot – stir that porridge!