Vivian Grisogono


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Benefits: Strengthens the lower end of the abdominal muscles and the hip flexors in concentric-eccentric action .
Works these muscles concentrically against gravity as you lift the legs up from the floor, then eccentrically as you extend your legs out again. The gluteal and hamstring muscles contribute, working eccentrically as you bring your knees past your hips and closer to the chest, and concentrically as you extend your hips to bring your knees away from your chest. Helps to keep good tone in the lower part of the abdominals and in the hip flexors. It’s especially useful to counteract the effects of sitting still for long periods.
Position: Lie on your back with your legs straight, your head on a pillow.
Action: Bend your knees and lift your legs gently upwards, bringing your knees towards your chest and lifting your hips slightly off the floor so that your lower back forms a curve; reverse the movement more slowly, gradually straightening your knees until your legs are on the floor again.
Note: Avoid pain. Breathe normally. Keep your chin tucked in to your throat, and don’t press back with your head as you lift your legs. On the reverse movement, don’t straighten your legs fully until they are almost on the floor. Don’t hold your legs out straight while they are off the floor, put them down in a smooth continuous movement. Do not do this exercise if you have recently had a hernia. If it is uncomfortable for you to lie with your legs straight, put a small cushion under your knees, or do the exercise with your knees bent. If the exercise is difficult, do it one leg at a time, lifting and lowering alternately: this is also safe after recovery from a hernia, unless your specialist advises against it.
Repetitions and frequency: 5-10 times, 1-2 times a day.
After injury: A late-stage exercise following any problem involving the hip or back. It’s important if the lower end of the abdominals have become weak through injury or any other reason.