On back, arms planted into ground, engaging upper back muscles, back of arms so that head doesn’t slide at all. Rolled up towel in between the inner thighs. Pull belly muscles in and start by moving pelvis through posterior position to lengthen the lower back toward the mat. Engage glutes and back of legs to extend the hips. Keep the ribs down as long as possible and press into upper back of arms in order to open the pec minor as hips lift. Focus is on opening the hip flexors and the chest utilizing the muscles in the back of the body, moving the spine in articulation and keeping length in the torso on the way up and on the way down. Do 3 rolling up and down, then hold at the top, trying to increase hip extension (stretching knees forward, pulling ribs back) using the glutes to open hip flexors as much as possible…towel should keep inner thighs engaged, but may need slight reminder.
One-Legged Bridges, Hip Extension
Same setup as bridge. Legs hip bone (ASIS bone) distance apart. Roll hips up exactly like two leg bridge with feet down. Keeping left inner thigh engaged, extend right leg to the ceiling. Keeping spine in alignment, lower and lift the hips (left hip extension) 5 times with control. Keeping spine and hips still, lower and lift the right leg (right hip extension) 5 times with control, ensuring that the hips stay level. Keeping spine and hips level, right leg reaching to ceiling draw a circle with the right leg 5 times in each direction without shifting, moving or dropping the hips. Repeat with right leg grounding and left leg moving.
Hip Extension, Thoracic Flex Endurance
Supine position, hands behind to support the weight of the skull. Feet flat, knees bent, abdominals engaged (if have little weight or can of something or full water bottle to rest on lower belly, great- don’t let it move) legs hip bone (ASIS bone) distance apart. Curl head and shoulders up (thoracic flexion) to bottom ribs still down- 3 small pulses and then hold at highest possible point in endurance. Extend the right leg (using hamstring glute to hip extend versus a pickup of the leg with the quad) to a hover position just above ground. Keeping pelvis still, reach right leg straight out and toward the mat, extending the hips, using back of leg muscles to extend the hip and the abdominals to keep the pelvis still. Repeat 5 hip extensions, then lift right leg toward ceiling (pelvis stays neutral) and left leg extends to the hover position. Let left leg reach up to meet the right, then down again 5 times.
Folded Towel, Thoracic Extension
Sit with knees bent, legs slightly apart, squeezing rolled up towel- arms reaching long. Place a second rolled up towel to “catch” the spine as you roll back approximately mid thoracic. Keep inner thighs engaged and feet still and grounded. Spine is in long -curve (long flexion like flexy straw). Roll pelvis away from fixed femurs, squeeze towel between the knees and continue to roll until thoracic spine comes in contact with the towel. Bring hands behind the head to support the weight of the skull and control thoracic extension over the towel, lower abdominals (low part of rectus abdominus, TA) stay as engaged as possible, top will open up with control. Hold for a moment and then control back up over towel, focusing on reconnecting the ribs toward the pelvis and the whole abdominal wall engaged for control into the lengthened c curve. Reach the arms in front of the shoulders (without letting the shoulders lead the work to lift away from the towel and back into the seated position.
1- From seated, legs extended, heels together toes apart, ground heels and hamstrings and roll pelvis away from fixed femurs as far as possible without moving the legs (as much as possible) pause, can add pulses- repeat 3 times. Same exercise, legs parallel- focus on both is grounding the legs and using the glutes/abdominals to control the movement of the pelvis away from the femurs. Repeat 3 times.
2- From supine, legs extended and grounded with hamstrings (can be done parallel or in slight turnout) Reach arms to the ceiling, pull shoulders back into sockets and draw shoulder blades in toward each other. Curl the head up away from the mat, flexing at the thoracic spine without allowing the shoulders to come forward. Pulse at bottom ribcage connection 3 times, continuing to draw the shoulders back so that the movement comes from the abdominals moving the thoracic spine. If possible, keeping legs grounded, continue to curl into long c-curve and roll all the way up (can have somebody ground the legs or put feet under couch or weight). Roll all the way back, with control to start position and repeat 3 times.
Supine, legs extended to ceiling in a diamond shape, slight bend at the knees. Find length from the ribcage to the hips and imagine somebody is pulling on your tailbone like a tail to start the movement by elongating the back- continue to elongate back, ground the upper back and back of the arms and allow a slight pelvic lift (lots of work for very little movement!!) that increases the distance between the back of the pelvis and the back of the ribcage. Repeat 5 times.
Roll Like a Ball
From seated position, knees apart and bent, heels together (slight turnout at hips) roll pelvis away to balance just above tailbone. Use lower abs to draw the knees to the elbows. Keep the elbows on the knees and rollback and up, keeping the elbows on the knees. Throw the first two away and go for 3 good ones, keeping the elbows on the knees and feeling the lower back lengthen into the mat each time.
From last rolling like a ball, hold right knee and roll down with control onto back, keeping head and shoulders lifted. Pull right knee into the chest and then switch legs, letting the legs pass each other while the femurs are at 45 degrees away from the pelvis…pelvis neutral. Repeat 6-10 times. Rock back up to sitting.
From seated, hold onto front of shins and control roll down to ground, with knees pulled in, head and shoulders stay lifted. Pull abs in, keep torso lifted and stretch arms and legs away from stable torso in opposition. Keep arms at shoulder distance apart and sweep around, pulling knees all the way back in to start. Repeat 5 times, torso stable throughout…pelvis neutral.
Single straight leg stretch
From last double leg stretch, reach both legs to ceiling, reach up with both hands to right leg, keeping shoulders squared, allow left leg to stretch toward floor, keeping hips level, using obliques and all abs, glutes to stabilize torso and pelvis against weight of legs moving. Draw left leg in as the right leg lowers, passing each other at 45 degrees if possible. Repeat 6-10 times.
Long Spine Reaches
Sitting propped on something (bosu, towels, step, couple couch cushions) Straight back, hands behind the head. Lift to get taller, lengthening the back of the ribcage away from the hips. Think of growing 2 extra inches by lifting the whole spine and keeping the back straight lean away from the legs an inch, lengthen a little more, keep back straight, one more inch lean, lengthen out/up one more inch and lean back one last inch. Return to start by lifting and lengthening the crown of the head to the ceiling. Repeat 4 times.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Standing in lunge position, right foot forward, left heel lifted, feet wide enough to be stable, pull left hip bone forward to square pelvis (hipbones like headlights) and start to stretch front of left thigh, bending both knees to dip a little more, hold leg position and stretch upper body away from legs a little more without allowing arch in lower back. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat other side. Repeat same sequence with knee on floor, back heel can be flat or lifted for comfort.