Single leg bridge The beauty of this move is that you don’t need any equipment!
- Lie on your back with one leg extended and the other bent at the knee so your foot is flat on the floor.
- Take a moment to locate a neutral spine by gently tipping your lower pelvis up and down until you find the position that feels most comfortable for your lower back. This will result in your lumbar spine being in a gentle curve away from the floor.
- Begin by engaging your core muscles, which involves drawing up your pelvic floor, pulling in your tummy button and squeezing in your oblique muscles in the waist. This will have the effect of bracing your lumber-pelvic region, so your lower spine remains in the neutral position when you move, which protects it from potential injury.
- Next, use a strong contraction in the buttocks and hamstring muscles to press the planted foot into the ground, lifting your lower body off the floor.
- Your ribs should remain in contact with the floor so there is no stress on the top part of your spine, shoulders or neck.
- The aim is to maintain a long line in your body and keep your core engaged so your hips don’t sag or arch upwards.
- Aim for two sets of 12 repetitions on each leg.
“Take a moment to locate your neutral spine by gently tipping your lower pelvis up and down until you find the position that feels most comfortable for your lower back”
Roll down This move will not only develop core strength in the deeper postural muscles but it will also tighten the six-pack abdominal muscles and help to improve flexibility through your lumbar spine.
- Starting from a seated position with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor, extend your arms forwards at chest level.
- Now raise one leg to an extended position and hold it still. The aim is to lower yourself down through a rounded spine, feeling as though you are placing down one vertebra at a time, using your abdominal muscles to fight against gravity and maintain a very slow and steady descent.
- Next, grab the back of your thighs and use your arms to quickly pull you back up to the start position and then repeat, but this time with your other leg extended.
- Throughout the exercise, keep your tummy button pulled in to protect your lower spine.
- Try not to hold your breath, ideally exhaling as you descend and then taking a deep breath in as you lift yourself up.
- The target is 12 slow repetitions.
“While dedicated stretching – involving various static positions being held for at least 60 secs – is a given for dancers, strength training that incorporates both isotonic (dynamic) and isometric movements (where a position is held still) also needs to be done.”}