This exercise follows on from the static exercise, hip extension, feet on swiss ball. It is considerably harder.
- Lie on back, low calves on swiss ball, arms beside you.
- Lift hips up, prod the backside, making sure it is firm. If is it not, lengthen your low back so you can tuck your tail under more. When you prod your backside, keep your elbows on the floor.
- Now draw the ball towards your backside, keeping the pressure on the shoulders and arms and not on the neck or head.
- Re check that the backside is tight.
- Straighten the legs with control.
Things indicating the exercise is not optimal:
- Feeling it in the calves. This exercises the hamstrings, particularly behind the knee. If you feel it in the calves, you are not lifting the hips sufficiently or driving your feet into the ball to much as you draw the ball towards you. The calves will do this exercise if they can.
- As you get stronger, don’t let your knees flare out.
- Thinking this exercise is easy. It isn’t.
In this video there is a straight line between the shoulders and the knees when the ball is drawn in. This is the Paul Chek method. Sometimes you will see this exercise done with the hips sagging as the ball is drawn in. The important point is where is the exercise felt? The reason to do this exercise is to strengthen the hamstrings, with the buttocks holding the hips up. So the only place this exercise is felt is in the hamstrings, with a bit of butt clenching going on. The low abs will be switched on, but not be particularly noticeable. The most important point of this exercise is feeling it in the right place more than worrying about whether the hips are right up or not. All exercise should be done with concentration upon the point of the exercise. Where strength is concerned, if you can’t feel the muscle working that is probably because it isn’t and something else is instead. This will lead either to injury or to an unbalanced body.
At the end of the video, the guy crosses his arms on his chest, making the exercise much harder to stabilise. There are pros and cons to this. When the body is fighting for stability, it will not be as strong, since a lot of energy goes into stopping the wobbles. If hands crossed on chest is tried, then this is still a hamstring exercise. If the hamstrings do not seem to be working as hard, that will be because they aren’t. It depends upon goals. If hamstring strength is desired, to make the exercise harder, rather than making it more wobbly, it would be better to do the exercise with one leg.