Foam Roller 1.4
Leg Lifts & Hip Flexer Stretch
Penned by Melanie Buffett
One of my most favorite movement sequences on the foam roller is leg lifts. When I teach class I usually leave this for the end because with the hips supported in elevation and the legs inverted, it is delicious and leaves the body in a blissful state. Inverting the legs leaves them feeling flushed of heavy energy and buzzing with a renewed sense of vitality. When your legs feel light the energy of the whole body feels sparkly. There is also a great move from leg lifts set-up that is the best hip flexor stretch I have found. This daily stretch is a life changer if you have suffered with tightness from excessive sitting, or vigorous cycling (hello Riders!).
Do it at home!
1. Lie down and bring the roller under your low back supporting the tail bone, knees bent, feet on the floor. Center yourself on the roller, and pause a few breaths to allow your pelvis to get heavy on the roller. Draw one knee at a time into your chest. Pause, breathe.
2. Extend both legs up, feet toward the ceiling. Pause. Turn to your breath. Rest here with both legs inverted for one minute.
3. Next simply open the legs and let them rest in a wide stretch. Pause. Go to your breath again. Stay here for one minute.
4. Bring legs back together in the center, legs still extending up, feet toward the ceiling. Now lower one leg to the floor, bringing the legs into a 90 degree angle. Enjoy the energy flowing through the lower body and relish in your breath. Hold one minute. Then switch sides and repeat hold for one minute.
Now for the hip flexor stretch...
5. Bring legs back together and pull both knees into chest. Rest here and reconnect to inhale and exhale. Hug one leg into the chest and extend the other leg straight keeping the extending leg hip height or a few inches off the floor. Keep this stretch dynamic. Really hug the knee in as you deliberately extend the opposite leg long. Hold the dynamic stretch for one minute and then switch and repeat.
6. To finish, with hips still elevated on the roller, pull both knees into your chest and rest on the roller for a few more breaths. To come off of the roller slowly roll the roller out from beneath you, and feel that nice low back release as you do. Rest on the floor in any comfortable position for at least a minute for the body to process all of the alignment and good energy flow from the session.