Stand up, Sit down for Fitness!

by | Dec 21, 2022 | Articles

Spending time on the floor is something that modern living is driving towards extinction, unless of course you are interacting with children; who you may notice are perfectly happy playing on the ground.

The ability to get on and off the floor unaided is a fundamental movement skill that is worth preserving not least because you never know when you might end up needing to get up off the ground. So whether it’s building lego with the kids/grandkids or retrieving the remote from under the coffee table, it’s rather nice to have the option whether to get on and off the ground even if you need to ‘humph’ a little or rest a hand on the knee.

This year why not remove this skill from the endangered list and set yourself a goal to master the sitting rising test in 2023.

Try my Movement Hacks

The Sitting Rising Test has been suggested as a way to assess the components of musculoskeletal fitness. Not only that but it has been shown to be a fairly accurate predictor of longevity. Yes you heard me right. Stronger people live longer!

I have put together a playlist of My 25 Movement Hacks to help you revive this skill and  make 2023 your year to discover the freedom that strength and suppleness bring. Read on to understand how strong hips and better balance will help! 

Functional Training and Injury Prevention.

Pilates is often criticised for a lack of crossover into function, but by bringing our Pilates into the vertical we incorporate the principles of functional training; exercises that train the body for everyday activities. Infinite strategies are required to cover the diverse range of functional upright movement; who knows when you might be overcome by the desire to pirouette on 1 leg, these moments can catch us unawares slipping on ice, tripping over the dog and may I suggest quite often when we are under the influence.

Functional training improves strength, endurance and stability, this has a part to play in preventing injury or bringing efficient and healthy movement back to the body.

To Lunge or not to Lunge?

When performed well, a lunge is a functional manoeuvre which can strengthen a wide range of muscles. The lunge challenges stability, which is what makes it so effective. A body attempting to remain balanced engages many muscle groups, including the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core. That makes the lunge a highly effective exercise for people needing to rehabilitate or strengthen their lower extremities. But what about patients with knee problems?

Even people with healthy knee joints may experience pain when performing lunges. This problem is typically caused by improper form. When the knee comes too far forward during the lung, undue stress can be placed on the joint. You might also find yourself twisting your back knee outward or inward in an attempt to maintain your balance. Learning proper form can help you avoid these problems and sufficient range of motion and the hip and ankle are also a prerequisite.

I believe Reverse Lunges are superior to Forward Lunges because backward momentum keeps the body in the ideal lunge position with the weight on the front heel and the knee stacked above the ankle. It’s not always a case of lower is better! Most important is to maintain the best possible form.

  • During the Step-Back Lunge, the back remains more upright, reducing pressure on the lumbar spine and maintaining a neutral centre of gravity, ensuring stability.
  • The shin is more vertical during the Step-Back Lunge, with the knee a good distance back from the toes.
  • The Step-Back Lunge ensures that pressure stays on the heel, whereas the momentum of the Forward Lunge is more likely to shift the pressure to the ball of the foot.

Train your Gluteus Medius for better Stability!

Gluteus medius is an important muscle for stability whose function is to work with other muscles to ‘abduct’ the hip or take thigh out to the side, it also rotates the hip joint. it is often under-active making strengthening exercises even more important. Weakness can occur as a result of lack of activity or our sedentary lifestyles. As technology advances more people are confined to desk jobs in which most of the day is spent sitting. Associated weakness of Gluteus Medius is also a common symptom in people with chronic non-specific low back pain. The following strengthening exercises target the Gluteus Medius muscle. 


Are your glutes engaged when you’re standing?

Yes! Most of your muscles should be somewhat engaged and have a role to play in fighting the effects of Gravity; even a motion-less stance requires muscles and fascia to hold you up.

In Ballet First position or Third position the turn-out offers an opportunity to incorporate gluteal activation, Do avoid ‘squeezing the glutes’ and think more of your feet reaching away from your groin into the floor to activate the hip extensors and the hip flexors. Now drive this force in your legs slightly to the outside edge of the foot to activate the glutes by using a slight abduction force. Next turnout from the top of your thigh because the glutes are already activated for abduction, they allow the deep rotators to drive the turnout movement and thus only assist them. Now you are now standing in a turnout position with your glutes engaged (and your deep rotators) to just the right level of contraction.

Try this perhaps whilst waiting your turn at the checkout for example; your knees may well thank you for doing this!

Can you stand on one leg?

Gluteus Medius is the prime mover of abduction (sideways Movement) at the hip joint and is an important muscle in walking, running and single-leg weight-bearing because it prevents the opposite side of the pelvis from dropping. This can result in an increase in low back pain during or after walking. The ability to balance confidently on 1 leg is definitely an asset when we are reaching for the top shelf and yes getting on and off the floor without using your hands! 

Better Balance Saves Lives!

The first time many women discover they have osteoporosis is when they experience a fracture after a fall. A hip fracture over age 70 carries a significant risk to life and is to be avoided if at all possible. You can help to prevent future falls by improving your balance. Practice the Toe Clocks exercise, it’s also great for gluteus medius, trunk stabilisers and joint proprioception.

Toe Clocks (Day 12)

Position yourself safely in a corner, against a wall or with a sturdy chair handy. Stand on your right leg maintaining your balance. Imagine a clock on the floor with your standing leg is in the centre, be sure not to fully lock the knee. Lightly touch one o’clock with your left foot. Then return that leg to the starting position. Next, touch 2 o’clock and return. Continue this to 6 o’clock and swap legs and travel anticlockwise this time.

Try Tree Pose 

Tree Pose challenges rotary pelvic control, improves hip strength and control and mobilises the hip joint. Watch out for losing balance, letting your pelvis move along with your leg remember to only move at the ball and socket of the hip joint and resist allowing the hip to dip down on the standing leg side.





Variety is the spice of life

It’s important to offer a variety of training challenges; variety is so important in our work, even bones get bored after around 10 minutes apparently so we must keep our bodies guessing. How about something new in 2021. Pilates, Mindful Movement, Meditation and Hatha Yoga online with a Chartered Physiotherapist.

Join me online for a free 20 minute chat and find out more about my movement programmes to feel fitter, stronger and healthier at any age.

Pilates for Menopause for Massage Therapists and Manual Therapists  - NAT Diploma Course with Precizion 10 CEUs

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Join Precizion for regular online Pilates and Yoga classes.  All led by Phillipa Butler, a Chartered Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates and Women’s Health Expert. One-on-one consultations also available.

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