7. The Double Leg Stretch
Well, I thought single straight leg stretch was the exercise after single leg stretch. I was waaaay off, double leg stretch is next and single straight leg stretch isn’t even an original, classical exercise. I already took the pics and wrote out instructions/variations/modifications in advance. That’s what I get for trying to prepare ahead of time. Oh well, it’s a good one and I lumped it with single leg stretch, so all is not lost. I also forgot to bring a mat home for the pictures. Moving on….double leg stretch definitely strengthens the abdominal muscles, teaches one to move lower limbs independently of the low back and pelvis, requires head/neck/shoulder organization. Careful with this one if you have had a low back, hip and/or neck injury and not appropriate for those who have osteopenia and osteoporosis. Double leg stretch also involves a little coordination as your arms are circling and the legs are not.
Classical version: start lying on back and float head and legs from the floor. There is a lot more tension and robot-like motions in the classical version.
Recommended version: lie on back bring knees to chest, grab front of the shins, press shins into hands (hands into shins) to float head, neck and shoulders off the floor. (Click here for a video of different start options)
1. Inhale arms and legs straight towards the ceiling (toes pointed, palms facing each other or facing thighs).
2. Exhale lower legs straight towards the floor and circle arms overhead and out.
3. Inhale bend knees and hips, bring knees back to start position, and continue circling arms towards hips back to start position. Repeat 6-12 times.
Variation: the classical version is to kick legs straight out and move hands to hips, then back to ball position, rather than raising/lowering legs and circling arms.
To aid stability through low back and pelvis: keep pubic bone slightly tipped towards nose.
Modifications: limit ROM with leg lower, keep arm circles smaller, keep hands behind head, perform only legs or only arms, keep head resting on the floor, keep legs resting on the floor, prop head/neck/shoulders with pillow or small balls.