Sitting for long periods can shorten up the muscles on the back of your legs. Dance teacher Lara McIntosh offers this exercise to help restore length to your legs.
Make sure you have a stable, non-moving chair for this exercise. You may be able to use a chair with rollers on it if you move it up against the wall first. In any event, make sure that you have a secure, stable, safe place to park your butt for this one.
Ideally, remove your shoes before doing this exercise, but you don’t have to.
- Sit with your butt as close to the edge of your chair as is safely possible. Put your “sits bones” (the little knobs where your hamstrings attach to your hips; actually called the ischial tuberosity) just a little bit back of the front edge of your chair.
- Stick your legs straight out in front of you with your heels resting on the floor.
- Straighten your toes and then pull them back up, focusing on the hinge joint in your ankle. Alternately flex the muscles on the front of your legs (as you pull your toes toward your knees) and the muscles on the back of your legs (as you point your toes away). Repeat several times.
- Now, as you flex and extend your feet, initiate a gentle rocking back and forth of your butt in your chair. Let the friction of your heels engaging with the floor initiate a rocking motion in your pelvis that you’ll feel on your “sits bones.”
While you’ll be flexing and extending muscles on both the front and the back of your leg, emphasize pulling your toes toward your knees, stretching the muscles on the back of your legs, since they are the ones that are shortened up when you are sitting.
Still working out the video set-up. We’ll add a video of this exercise as soon as possible.
About Today’s Tipster
I interviewed Lara McIntosh, a Seattle-based choreographer, dancer, and teacher. Lara is the proprietor of Wassa Dance, a long-running African-inspired dance class in Seattle, WA. She also offers residencies in local schools and intensive retreat-style workshops internationally.