Step 1

Starting Position: Assume a seated bent-knee position, feet placed flat on the floor / mat and arms outstretched behind you with your palms flat on the floor / mat and fingers pointed outwards or away from your body.  Adjust your position to distribute your weight evenly between your feet, butt and arms.  Keep your back supported in a neutral or flat position (i.e., avoid arching or slumping) and your head aligned with your thoracic (upper) spine.


Step 2

Slowly lean back, bending your elbows until your trunk is supported on your elbows.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Gently exhale and slowly lift one foot off the floor, extending the knee until the leg straightens with your toes pointing away from your body.  Hold this up-position briefly for 5 – 10 seconds then slowly return to your starting position and repeat the movement with the opposite leg.  Complete a set of quality reps until your experience fatigue or until your technique (form) becomes compromised.


Step 3

Progression #1: Adjust your position by sitting-up until your trunk is at a 45-degree angle with the floor and move your hands close to your hips to support your body while keeping a slight bend in your elbows.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Repeat the same sequence outlined previously, but avoid leaning back during the leg lift.


Step 4

Progression #2: Slowly lean back, bending your elbows until your trunk is supported on your elbows.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Gently exhale and slowly lift both feet off the floor, extending the knees until both legs straighten with your toes pointing away from your body.  Hold this up-position briefly for 10 – 15 seconds then slowly return to your starting position and repeat.  Complete a set of quality reps until your experience fatigue or until your technique (form) becomes compromised.


Step 5

Progression #3: Adjust your position by sitting-up until your trunk is at a 45-degree angle with the floor and move your hands out to your sides to support your body.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Repeat the same sequence outlined previously, but avoid leaning back during the leg lifts.


Step 6

Progression #4: Assume the same starting possession as outline previously with your trunk at a 45-degree angle with the floor, but remove your hands off the floor, extending them both directly in front of you, level with your chest.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Gently exhale and slowly lift one foot off the floor, extending the knee until the leg straightens with your toes pointing away from your body.  Hold this up-position briefly for 15 – 30 seconds then slowly return to your starting position and repeat the movement with the opposite leg.  Complete a set of quality reps until your experience fatigue or until your technique (form) becomes compromised.


Step 7

Progression #5: Assume the same starting possession as outline previously with your trunk at a 45-degree angle with the floor and hands removed from the floor, extending them both directly in front of you, level with your chest.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise (avoid “arching” or “slumping” your low back).  Gently exhale and slowly lift both feet off the floor, extending the knees until both legs straighten with your toes pointing away from your body.  Repeat the repetition sequence outlined previously.

 

To maximize the benefits of this exercise and reduce the potential for injury, it is important to control movement speed and monitor changes in your low back carefully.

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