Whether you're a cheerleader, a dancer or a yoga participant, lifting your leg to your head can be a valuable skill. Unfortunately, even the most flexible people can have trouble finding their center of balance in this pose. Lifting your leg to your head requires a great deal of flexibility, but also requires just as much strength in the legs and the abdomen. It can take months to reach your leg to your head, but along the way you'll get a great workout and gain flexibility and strengthened abdominal muscles.
Things You'll Need
- Yoga mat (optional)
Warm up by performing some dynamic stretching and cardiovascular exercises. Swing your legs backward and forward and side to side. If you have experience in yoga, you can mix in some sun salutations to get the hamstrings warmed up.
Build strength in the legs. Hold squats and lunges or warrior I and warrior II poses from yoga. Use balance poses, like the standing split, to work on strengthening the calves. Bringing your leg to your head requires a lot of strength, as you will be balancing entirely on the supporting leg.
Build strength in the abs. The abs have to be engaged in order to pull the leg up toward the head. A combination of traditional crunches and holding one leg out as high up as possible while balancing on the other leg will also build ab strength. While in this pose, be sure to engage the abs and avoid leaning back to build as much strength as possible in the lower abs.
Stretch your hamstrings and your hips. Practice a variety of stretches everyday, including splits or half splits, as well as forward folds. A great deal of flexibility in the hamstrings and the hips is required in order to pull the leg to the head. To really increase flexibility, these stretches should be performed when the body is warm. The stretches should be practiced daily in order to maintain muscle flexibility.
Lift the leg that you're bringing to your head and grasp the flexed foot with both hands. Straighten the leg and lift until the hands can no longer reach. When the hands can no longer reach, slide them down toward the ankle and continue to pull the leg toward the head, being careful not to strain the muscle. While it may take time, eventually it will reach.
Tips & Warnings
- Over-training for strength or over-stretching for flexibility can cause injuries that will set you back weeks, or even months. Listen to your body. When you feel pain, stop and pick back up when your body is ready for it.
- Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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