Double Leg Stretch
Double leg stretch (head on the floor) – this exercise uses the arms and legs to load the muscles of the torso. The goal is to reach your arms and legs away from one another without moving the spine. The further you reach and the lower you go the more load you place through your torso, so the more challenging it is for the abdominals to hold the spine. You are essentially using your arms and legs as dumbbells.
The challenge of load when you are planking is the downward force of gravity exerted on the spine. Although the challenge of load is different for these two exercises, the goal is the same, to teach the abdominals to hold the spine against the challenge of load. If this exercise is performed well, it is a great indication that you’re ready to plank.
- Lie on the floor with your spine in a neutral position and your neck and shoulders relaxed
- Keep the pelvis in neutral so that your sacrum (flat bone between your two glutes) is flat on the mat and there is a small space between your lower back and the mat. Lift your legs to table top, knees in a right-angle, and raise your arms to a vertical position
- Carefully lower your feet towards the floor keeping your knees at the same angle. At the same time move your arms over your head
- This is a huge challenge for your abdominal muscles. Only go as far as you can without letting your back lift away from the floor.
- As you get stronger you can increase the load by straightening your legs and lowering them further towards the floor