I often have patients tell me that they will have a tremendous amount of pain when changing positions while lying in bed. They can be comfortable as long as they are lying still, but should they have to change positions, it can be extremely painful and really disruptive. Instead of rolling over in their sleep subconsciously, their pain will wake them up as they move and then they may have difficulty falling back to sleep.
The single leg log roll is a great exercise to utilize in order to activate gluteus maximus, reinforce core stiffening, and also is an excellent way to minimize aberrant motion in the lumbar spine when changing positions. As you can see in the video, I reach back and palpate my glute and hamstring to see what is happening while performing the movement. When I hit my glute, it is fully engaged and activated; however, when I palpate my hamstring, you can see it is soft and supple. There is a significant amount of give to the muscle as it is completely shut off and relaxed.
Additionally, I maintain a neutral spine and stiffen my core so that my shoulders and hips travel together. This is a great way to prevent any rotational movement in the spine that may otherwise be painful. The idea is to roll on the side of your body opposite of the bent leg. You should be rolling on the “edge” that is created from your shoulder, down your side to the hips, down the thigh, all the way down to the foot.
This movement is very similar to the initial phase of a Turkish Get Up. I like to use this as a hip primer on days that I am going to be squatting, deadlifting, or any other hip/glute dominant exercise. These are super simple and extremely effective. Give them a shot!