This is a great exercise for learning to balance and work in the frontal plane. When we talk about the frontal plane, we mean the plane on which side-to-side movement occurs. When we’re young, we play and move in different planes all the time. As we age and generally get more sedentary, it is common to have weakness in the frontal plane, which makes us more susceptible to hip, knee, and foot injuries.
Start Position: Lie on your side, balancing on your hip so your pelvis is perpendicular to the mat. Your bottom arm is reaching over your head, and your head is resting on it as a pillow. Use your top arm to stabilize against the mat. Point your toes. It is important to find that balance point so your hip bones are perpendicular to the mat.
• Exhale: Lift your leg up into air to hip height, making sure you are using your butt muscles.
• Inhale: Flex your foot toward you as you lower you leg back to starting position.
Alternative positions: Bottom knee bent—this increases your ability to stabilize because you will have a wider base of support. Your bottom hip and knee are flexed, and your heel should line up with your butt.
Common Form Mistakes:
• Tension in neck and shoulders: Use scapular stabilizers to keep shoulder blades from coming up toward your ears.
• Pelvis rotates forward: This causes increased extension at the low back on the side of the hip that points toward the ceiling.
• Pelvis rotates backward: This causes increased hip flexion and increased muscle activity at the anterior hip—it works TFL (tensor fascia lata) and ITB (iliotibial band) muscles without isolating the gluteus medius.
• Poor alignment to start the exercise: Poor alignment makes it more difficult to stabilize and stay in the frontal plane.