EXERCISE BREAKDOWN: GYMNASTIC STYLE SEATED LEG RAISE
HOW TO DO IT
GET DOWN! – on the floor. Pick a nice mat or maybe even a colorful rug or something to lie on.
DRIVE YOUR CHEST UP – Any sloppiness in your posture really ruins these, so please pay attention, drive your chest up like you’re standing to attention and showing off your incredible physique (or practicing for when you get there at least).
ELONGATE YOUR LEGS – We want our legs completely straight; completely locked out. They should be squeezed together, toes pointed gently and there should be a bit of ‘activity’ in your quadriceps.
RAISE YOUR LEGS – Now raise your legs simply by using your abdominals and hip-flexors. Nothing else moves, just hinge at the hip joint. Lift them asa high as you can without breaking form.
SQUEEEEEEEEEEZE AGAIN – Your legs will stop when you are near the top of your range of motion/ when you run out of strength, but you will always be able to go a wee bit further. So keep squeezing, we should be able to see a definite second pull. Keep squeezing for 1-2 seconds at the top, trying to feel the hip-flexors, abs and quads contracting and the hamstrings stretching (if you aren’t particularly flexible).
LOWER BACK DOWN SLOW, TAP THE FLOOR AND GO AGAIN – Then lower and tap the ground and go again. Tap the ground gently if I were you. We aren’t trying to crack our heal or bounce them back up!
TOO TOUGH? THERE IS ANOTHER WAY
FROM THE SAME START POSITION – as described above, big big chest and arrow straight legs and all that…
BRING KNEES TO 90 – taking out the hardest part of the move (lifting the fully extended legs from the bottom position), stop here, exaggerate and correct posture, push hands into the ground and squeeze your knees together tight as if a mad man was trying to prize them open with evil intentions.
THEN EXTEND TO THE TOP – the highest you can get them without breaking form, making sure we return to the absolutely straight leg. Concentrate on this move coming purely from your quads.
ATTEMPT THE OL’ SECOND PULL – by squeezing your legs closer to your sternum.
THEN CONTROL DOWN WITH STRENGTH – feeling in control the whole way, feeling your abs and hip-flexors working a wee bit along the way.
TAP THE FLOOR AND GO FOR MORE – back to 90 (the easy bit) and keep going, trying to make every rep better than the last.
HOW NOT TO DO IT
DON’T FAKE IT – the movement has to come from the hip joint. If your chin sticks out towards your legs, or your spine flexes — you’re faking it. Trying to get more range of motion by moving from the wrong place. We don’t want that. Be at one with where you are, and be mindful not to let anything move but your legs.
DON’T SMASH DOWN – Pretty self explanatory. These can be hard work. If you let your legs collapse down, you ain’t doing it right. Stop if you can’t control it. Do less reps or regress to one leg at a time for a while.
DON’T GET PUSHED BACK – As discussed above. As your legs come up, your torso can get pushed back. This can be as you ‘fake’ movement, or it can simply be as you haven’t learned to control the move. So, I humbly suggest you push your chest up forwards your legs, push through your arms and hold your upper body perfectly still as your legs come up.
DON’T BEND THE LEGS – If you have weak quads, or tight Hamstring, your legs may bend during the move. If this happens tom you, correct first by paying attention, regressing to less reps or single leg if that doesn’t fix it, or by building your Hamstring flexibility, quad and ab strength if you still don’t get it right.
DON’T GO ONLY HALF WAY UP – If its tough, you might not get very high at first. That’s fine, but work on it. This is a slightly regressed gymnastics drill, but it is still tough. Don’t do more than a few reps though until you can get your legs close to vertical. If you’re stuck lower, you need more strength and more flexibility before you shoot for more.
PENCIL LEGS! – No, I’m not mocking myself for having skinny legs. Imagine your legs rigid…like a pencil. That’s the cue that will help you here.
HINGE AT THE WAIST – helps one to remember we’d really rather not lose the torso position. Imaging your torso is set in cement and the only place movement is possible is at the hip joint.
MASSIVE CHEST – everyone loves a massive chest right?! Now, I’ve taught these to loads of people, and this is the most common piece of ‘cheating’ i see. If you don’t have really flexible hamstring things, you won’t get that high up. You’re going to want to fake it by allowing your chest to cave in, Naughty. Rather, tell yourself to show off your massive chest and accept the reality of how high you can get it up for now. Don’t worry, in the future, you’ll get further.
SECOND PULSE – I’m pretty sure i told you to do a second pulse above right? I meant it you know. The first move is to bring your legs up until the seem to ‘hit the wall’, you stop there and then actively, firmly, squeeze again. You’ll get an inch or two further and a whole world stronger (a rather fun loving lady named Mrs. Sherrell taught me that).
STERNUM TO THIGHS – another sneaky thought to help you keep your MASSIVE CHEST, and to stop you faking it by sticking your chin out…you ain’t fooling anyone or getting any stronger with this madness!
CRAMP THE QUADS – not likely to literaly happen, but the thought, that’s enough to keeop the knee locked and make the magic happen. Remember, this is abs, hip-flexors AND QUDS.
Pick the right level for you, here they are in order of difficulty — easiest first:
RECLINED SINGLE LEG
RECLINED, FLEX, EXTEND
RECLINE, STRAIGHT LEGS ALL THE WAY
UPRIGHT, STRAIGHT LEG
WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU DO IT?
It will give you wicked strong abdominals and hip flexors – This will make you very athletic, and give you great looking Abs (as long as you can see them!).
You get to lie down for a while – which is always nice
It will help your L Sit – which is fundamental gymnastics move, which in order to do well..you need a strong athletic body (so well worth training for 🙂 )