Feet Up - Is it worth it?
I rarely write anything in relation to products as I spend a lot of my time using them rather than talking about them. But, I was recently sent a Feet Up Trainer to trial, use personally and with my 1-2-1 clients. This is what I have experienced...
I am generally apprehensive about using props and over complicating things that can be made very simple, but this has been a great asset over the last few months for the following reasons;
Rest days - The Feet Up trainer has allowed me to invert on 'days off' (not just the legs up the wall) but by flipping the body completely and allowing the head to sit below the shoulders, abdomen and pelvis. The inverted position is ideal on a rest day where I aim to avoid any excessive muscular tension and simply want to relax into a few varied positions, but still experience the same benefits. On rest days I have been placing the legs of the Feet Up by the wall and kicking the legs up so my feet rest onto the wall, supporting the body. By holding the legs of the structure I can provide freedom around the neck and find an easy strength through the upper traps and scalenes. I generally stay here for around 3 minutes, two to three times per day.
End of practice alternative - Sometimes at the end of a movement practice the last thing that I want to do is pop up into a shoulder stand, especially if it has been a long session. Or, if I'm teaching someone with any postural issues (that can occur around the C/T junction of the spine) this allows me to adjust the practice accordingly yet allows them to experience similar benefits. The 'Feet Up' offers a great alternative and I have found (over the last few weeks especially) it has helped to provide gentle traction to the cervical spine whilst relaxing the shoulders, utilising gravity to do so.
Clients lacking confidence - Many people have never been upside down (intentionally) and when learning a form of yoga asana/inversions of any sort, it can require the injection of some confidence somewhere down the line. I have used this for many clients who are starting out on their inversions and for many this has broken the mental barrier that existed between them and being upside down. The support of the product has initiated the journey and while the rest is always going to be a slow process, it's a safe start for someone who may have taken another six months to get to this stage of inversion.
Arm balances - For those who are looking to take it up a few levels, I have been using this Feet Up Trainer to practice handstand push ups, L-Sit transtitions, full range push-ups, inclined planks etc. It has provided a useful platform to practice on and is strong enough to support a wide range of balances and strength based movement. It has also been a great tool to help practice hand balancing sequencing without worrying about the balance aspect, leg positioning, mid thoracic extension and the orientation of the hips. Here are some examples below;
Would I recommend this? - Yes, to anyone that fits any of the above criteria and especially if you teach others any form of inversion - this can help to orientate the 'centre' (region behind the navel) with the area of the glottis (back of the throat) so that alignment is found within the main structure before tapping in to the peripherals (arms, legs). As with many things it is important to improve the function of the spine and posture, the legs and arms can then bolt on after! This will help people who are not quite ready to invert on the floor, rest days, an easier alternative to headstand / shoulder stand or for those who have injuries and are looking to find the same benefits without the stress around the upper spine. I recommend this!