Open Leg Rocker

In May we looked at Rolling. Open Leg Rocker is a sister to Rolling. Now with a lifted torso and open chest, while still maintaining the imprint (C curve) of the lower spine.

Preparations for Open Leg Rocker


Sit on the mat with knees bent; clasp one hand on each ankle. Start with your spine in a flexed forward position, head close to your knees. Balance with feet just off the floor. Inhale to scoop abdominals and roll back to scapula (shoulder blades). Exhale to return to balance position. Do 3-6 times.

Visit for safety tips and more details.

Preparation for Climb a Tree

This exercise can be done on the high barrel or or a mat and the goal is to work on the hamstring length that we need for Open Leg Rocker. Start sitting up straight with one leg either straight out along the mat or hooked under a rung on the high barrel, and place your hands behind the thigh of your opposite leg. Keep that sense of length in your spine, and roll back from your pelvis so you’re just off your sitting bones and your pelvis is in an imprint. Stretch the leg you are holding as you breathe out, and breathe in to return to your starting position. Repeat this 5 times using your hands to help pull your leg towards you and then repeat on the opposite leg.

Open Leg Rocker

Sit on the mat with knees bent; clasp one hand on each ankle. Balance just off the sitting bones with an imprint and lift one leg at a time into a fully extended position. Now you are in a balanced ‘V’ position with your hands holding the front of your ankles. Use your straight legs to help lift your torso and open your chest.

Imagine here that you have a large soft ball nestled between your chest and legs. You will want to maintain its shape all through the movement and not squash it into a flat shape as you rock back and forward.

Inhale to scoop abdominals and roll back to scapula (shoulder blades). Exhale to roll back up to your starting position. Repeat 3-6 times.

Things to watch out for when you are not doing this exercise under supervision:

  • You can maintain your shape in Rolling (May)
  • Your legs remain straight throughout. If your hamstrings are tight, then modify by bending the legs and holding behind the knees, but still maintain the shape as you roll
  • Like Rolling, this is an exercise only for a healthy neck, spine including lower back, hips and hamstrings
  • Try to elongate your spine in between each movement. This is a longer C curve than in Rolling
  • You return to the same position that you started from and don’t face a different way. Imagine rocking between two panes of glass
  • Use your arms to push your legs forward in the return movement
  • Keep the shoulder blades down to enhance the connection between arms, torso and legs and keep an open chest

What you will feel:

  • Some people will find Open Leg Rocker easier to achieve than Rolling as they take advantage of the structure created by the ‘V’ between torso, arms and legs
  • A ‘lubricated’ spine as you rock back and forwards
  • Warmth in the abdominals as they work hard to maintain imprint of the lower spine and roll you back and forward
  • A huge smile as you realise that you’ve got everything connected!