Because we spend so much time in a sitting position, our hip flexor muscles are often too tight. Gripping and grabbing with the hip flexors draws the thigh bone up to the top of the hip socket. In effect the thigh bone is stuck up on the quadriceps rather than being laid down on the hamstrings. In this position, there is limited mobility for the leg to move and there is not adequate space between the ball of the leg bone and the socket of the pelvis.
When you “Hang on with your hip flexors” your feet and legs will lift up off the mat while you are attempting to roll up! The weight of your legs lifting up will push your upper body back down to the mat! No matter how hard you try… Getting up will always be a battle if you’re gripping with the hip flexors. If you are trying to roll down and the hip flexors stay tight, the legs fly up which makes it impossible to articulate through the spine and roll back with any sort of control –gravity decides when you hit the floor, not the eccentric lengthening of your core to control your descent.
Try this exercise to find your Abs and relax your Hip Flexors:
Tabletop Prop Exercise
- Lay on your back and prop the legs up on a chair, box, or Pilates Arc Barrel
- Place your hands at the crease where the leg folds from the hip, or place your fingertips on the pubic bone.
- To prep – Lay quietly and breathe, focusing on relaxing the legs and letting them lay heavy on your support. (chair, box, barrel). You may have to just practice this a few times before progressing.
- To work – Keeping the thighs COMPLETELY relaxed – Inhale-into the back, exhale and pull the low abs up, in, and back towards the mat. Start the abdominal contraction from the pubic bone up, being sure the pubic bone stays still under your hands and the front of the thighs remain completely relaxed.
Think about allowing the thigh bones to lay heavy on the Hamstrings, and the legs lay heavy on your support while the Abs pull away from the legs.
Namaste , Siobhan