November exercise challenge: sitting twists for touching the toes

Many children with movements conditions (DCD, joint hypermobility, ASD, low muscle tone) have difficulty sitting erect with ease and comfort. 

They prefer to sit with the pelvis tilted backwards and the spine flexed. Sitting erect may cause discomfort in the neck, back and legs.  Read more about sitting difficulties.

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They often appear to have tightness in the hamstring muscles. this can be seen when you ask the child to sit on the floor with the legs strait and reach forwards as far as possible. 

A child with good flexibility can touch the toes with relative ease. 

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A child with tightness in the muscles that cross from the lower back over the hips and knees (including the hamstrings) may only be able to reach just past the knees. 

The poor range of movement originates in the lower back

More often than not, the tightness that prevents a child from touching the toes originates in the lower back muscles (and associated fascia).

For this reason, the most effective way to improve a child's flexibility for sitting is by improving the flexibility of the lower back. 

Crossed leg sitting twists and side bends will usually improve a child's (and adult's) lower back flexibility, as well as make sitting erect easier and less tiring.

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You can try this for yourself

Start by testing the flexibility of the muscles and associated fascial structures that cross from the back, over the hips and knees. 

Sit on the floor and reach forwards towards your toes. How far can you reach? 

In this video clip I demonstrate crossed legged sitting twists and side bends. Try this exercises for yourself and then test your flexibility again. Can you reach further than before? 


Trunk twists in ring sitting 

Here is another demonstration of the trunk twists but this time with the legs in ring sitting position - which may be more comfortable for adults.