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Do you need practice to rise from the floor with ease and grace?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Exercising on the floor with my pet pug
Exercising on the floor with pet pug

Rising from the floor with ease and grace is a valuable skill that promotes independence and mobility. Whether you're recovering from an injury, managing a disability or age-related changes, or simply looking to improve your functional abilities, mastering the right method can make a significant difference.

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In this blog post, we will explore the best methods for rising from the floor, discussing various techniques that can help you achieve this goal. Let's dive in!

The Backward Chaining Method:

One effective approach is the backward chaining method.

This technique involves breaking down the task into smaller steps and learning the final step first, gradually introducing the preceding steps. We can start with the end and move backwards to the start position, from standing, down to the floor, in the method we are learning and striving to perfect.

Then we can work on the final part of the stand, for example , from a kneeling lunge, or half standing lunge, if the kneeling lunge is too challenging. Once we have practiced this and it is becoming easier we would then move to a lower standing lunge to stand, with upper body support, then no upper body support, then from the floor kneeling lunge to stand with upper body support initially, progressing to no support as strength, and balance improves.

This method helps build confidence and familiarity with the final movement, making the process feel more achievable.

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Below I analyse 4 different techniques in the sit-to-stand method, followed by the backward chaining method:

The Lunge To Stand Technique:

The Lunge To Stand Technique is particularly useful for individuals who may struggle with lower body strength or stiffness in one or both knees due to arthritis or a total knee replacement.

From sitting on the floor, transfer your weight onto one buttock and push yourself up using the modified kneeling technique, into a lunge position by using your upper body strength and support from nearby furniture if required. From there, lunge one leg forwards and rise to a standing position by pushing through your legs, engaging your core and leg muscles with both or one hand on your front thigh, or on fixed furniture if you need more assistance with your strength or balance.

The Low Squat Sit To Stand Technique:

The Low Squat Sit To Stand Technique requires full knee and hip flexion movements and strength for the low part of the squat. The balance is easier then with the lunge to stand method, as both feet used equally.

From floor sitting lean backwards to place both of your feet on the floor, parallel in front of your hips. Use one or both hands on the floor behind you to support you so you don’t fall backwards and to help push you forwards to stand from a low squat position. You may need the assistance of one or both hands on your thighs to stand up, or an item of heavy, fixed furniture to help you to stand if your strength or balance is making it too hard to stand without assistance.

The Bear Walk To Stand Technique:

Bear Walk To Stand Technique is easier for balance problems as your base of support is larger than the lunge to stand. Another benefit is less knee flexion is required, so it is achievable for those with knee stiffness from arthritis or total knee replacements. More hamstring flexibility is required than the lunge to stand or low squat sit to stand methods.

From sitting on the floor, transfer your weight onto one buttock, take your feet to the other side, lean forwards and place your hands on the floor out in front of you, taking the weight onto your hands so you can lift your knees off the floor, with your toe pads on the floor, feet wide and knees bent as much as you require, if you are tight in your hamstrings and/or your lower back. Walk your hands along the floor towards your feet, bringing your weight back into your heels, then walk your hands up one at a time above your knees, then up your thighs, as you stand up.

The Cross Leg To Stand Technique:

The Cross Leg To Stand Technique is the hardest of the 4 techniques covered in this blog as it requires full range in the knees and hips, flexibility in the lower limb muscles, strength to lift the buttocks off the floor at the bottom of the movement, in their most stretched out position and good balance.

From sitting with your legs crossed lean forwards from your hips and transfer your weight onto the soles of your feet, using the strength in your legs to push you up to standing, then uncrossing your legs one you have stood up.

If this is too hard try with minimal assistance of one or both hands on the floor or your thighs to get you off the floor.

Utilising Assisted Devices For Standing:

Assisted devices can provide additional support getting up off the floor. Grab bars, railings, or sturdy furniture near the floor can be used to assist with balance and stability.

Once you work out which technique is currently most suitable for you practice using both hands, then one hand, if needed and progressing to no hands to assist you up.

If you can’t manage to get up yet, or need a lot of assistance practice the downward part of the movement only initially and use fixed furniture, one or both hands to help you back up.

Next break down and practice the last part of the movement to stand, as described earlier, and slowly progress until you perfect the whole floor sit to stand with ease and grace.

Make sure you practice on both sides as often we favour one side, which becomes stronger and more dominant with more practice. Train your brain and body to improve your weaker side. You may need to perform more repetitions and strengthening, balance, mobility or flexibility exercises on this side and work harder on this side to even your left and right.

Next you can challenge yourself with a harder version as your mobility, flexibility, strength and balance improve and you are able to perform the technique on both sides.

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Incorporating Strength, Balance, Mobility and Flexibility Exercises:

To enhance your ability to rise from the floor, it is crucial to focus on strength, balance, mobility and flexibility exercises.

There are specific exercises you can perform to assist with improving your mobility, flexibility, strength and balance and assisting you to loose weight, if this is an issue for you, as included in my previous BLOG posts.

Strengthening your lower body, core, and upper body muscles through exercises such as squats, lunges, planks, and resistance training can significantly improve your functional abilities. Additionally, incorporating regular flexibility and joint mobility exercises, including stretching and yoga, can enhance joint mobility and range of motion.

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Mastering the art of rising from the floor to standing with ease and grace is achievable with the right rising techniques and consistent practice. Whether or not you choose the backward chaining method, lunge to stand, low squat sit to stand, bear walk to stand, cross leg sit to stand technique, or a combination of techniques and methods, the key is to prioritise safety, adapt to your individual needs, and gradually progress as you build your strength, balance and confidence, improving functional abilities essential for long term independence and mobility.

If you would like support from others embarking on a training program to assist you to stand from the floor with ease and grace, please join our community, clicking the link below:

Do you have ageing and mobility concerns?

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a trained Physiotherapist, who can assess your abilities and provide personalised guidance with rehabilitation techniques.

With dedication, consistency and the right approach, you can regain the independence and freedom to rise from the floor effortlessly and gracefully to be able to picnic in the park with your friends, play with your Grandchildren on the floor or go to yoga and pilates classes with confidence to get up and down off the floor.

Let me know how did you go? 👋

Which technique did you find most challenging?

Which was your favourite technique and why?

Which was your least favourite technique and why?

Any questions? 🙋‍♀️

Comment below 👇

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Emma Najman, Oncology Rehab and NDIS Registered Provider Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor and Yoga Therapist
Emma Najman, Oncology Rehab and NDIS Registered Provider Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor and Yoga Therapist

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