I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before but now that I
actually have a wall I can use for this pose I thought I’d do it again with
some photos (and a video) to show you how good it feels!
Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly hit by some grief and the sadness became quite overwhelming in a way that it hasn’t been since last October. I felt immobilised and I wasn’t sure how to get moving again. It never ceases to amaze me quite how grief can have such a physical impact…
Long story short, when I eventually got around to having a
shower, I realised that I had recently (accidentally) created a space in my
workout room where I could comfortably lie with my legs up the wall. I also
remembered that I had a stash of ‘spacemasks’ which had been waiting for just
this moment, so I put the two things together and did this:
There is something so gently restorative about giving your
weight to the floor, closing your eyes and tuning-in to your breath. It was exactly
what I needed in that moment.
So why is it good for us to lie with legs up the wall?
relaxation – with your body supported in this position, you can release and let go of areas which might usually hold tension; as you do so your breathing rate will slow and you will feel a deep sense of relaxation; closing your eyes or using an eye mask will increase the sense of relaxation
venous return – elevating the feet improves blood flow back to the heart and reduces any residual swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs, which can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting (at a desk or whilst travelling)
back pain & spinal alignment – this position is ideal for gently releasing any tightness in the muscles of the lumbar spine, which can improve your posture once you come back to an upright position; it also facilitates optimum alignment through the thoracic spine, reducing tension in the upper back, shoulder girdle and neck
hamstring stretch – this position is useful for gently stretching the muscles in the backs of the thighs; the key is to lengthen the space at the back of your knees so position yourself in a way that allows this to happen; as your hamstrings become less tight you may find that you can move your hips closer to the wall
pelvic floor – if you have hypertonic (tense) pelvic floor muscles, this can be is a useful release position, allowing tension to normalise; too much tension in this area is as damaging as too little tension
How to get yourself into position:
The goal is to stay here a while (5-15 minutes is good) so
you’ll need to be comfortable:
you will need a mat underneath you and maybe a blanket
on top of the mat too; you might feel more comfortable with a folded blanket or
towel under your hips and maybe another under the back of your head; if you
want to get super-cosy, have a blanket to cover yourself with too!
I used a self-heating eye mask but a standard eye mask
or a weighted eye pillow would be great too – it helps to have something to
block out the light as it helps you to ‘drop-in’ to yourself and shut out
start by lying down on one side with your legs bent and
your bottom near to the wall; as you roll onto your back, take your legs and
feet up the wall, into whatever position feels comfortable; have a wriggle
about until you feel comfortable
leave a small gap between your bottom and the wall so
that you don’t restrict the circulation across the front of your hip joint
bring your focus to your breathing and enjoy some time
when you’re ready to come back out of it, bring your
knees to your chest and roll gently back onto your side; I like to come into a
child’s pose stretch to finish before coming back to standing
Watch the video here:
Wishing you a relaxing, feet-up-the-wall weekend Jx
Adding an up-chain to your workout is a super-simple way to boost the effectiveness of your training. Even better, up-chains can be used in whatever way suits your training goals, the equipment available to you and the time you want to spend training.
An up-chain circuit is a great way of increasing your
strength and fitness because as you progress through your reps, each exercise
will get more challenging, and then once you have done the highest number of
reps in your chain, you go back to the start and it gets more manageable again.
Working in this way means that you cycle through varying levels of intensity
and this make the workout more achievable but also more challenging overall.
Here’s an example to show how it works:
If you were doing a squat and shoulder press as a
continuous pattern of 1 rep of each, for a total of 2 minutes, you might
gradually tire (& get bored?), but the exercise itself doesn’t become more demanding on your body
If you use those same two exercises as an up-chain you
would do 1 x squat, 1 x shoulder press, 2 x squats, 2 x shoulder press, 3 x
squats, 3 x shoulder press, 4 x squats, 4 x shoulder press, 5 x squats, 5 x
shoulder press, and then start again with 1 x squats, 1 x shoulder press, and
so on which would create more muscle overload in the same period of time
Once you have understood the basic principle, you can tailor your workout to suit your needs and there is no limit to what you can include in your workout. Watch the video &/or click on the link below for ideas about how best to tweak your up-chain to suit your needs and a sample up-chain workout:
I hope you have some fun creating your own up-chain workouts – this one is based on my HI-LI fitness circuit class last week but there is no end to the variations you can make so please feel free to change it as much as you need.