This month we will be focusing on stretching our quadriceps and hip flexors. These group of muscles can be very tight on quite a lot of people because of all the sitting and driving we do as a society. This can sometimes lead to knee pain or hip pain. Even just the simple act of sitting back on our heels can cause a great deal of discomfort for some, so please be patient with yourself this month! Practice these regularly and the front of the thighs will eventually loosen up! Please listen to your body as always, and back off if you feel pain that is not a “stretchy” discomfort.
Week one: Frog Stretch I
Things you will need for this stretch are just a strap or a belt.
Benefits of this stretch are: stretches the whole front part of the body, from the tops of the feet, thighs, groin, hip flexors, abdomen, to the chest and throat as you reach the more advanced version. It also helps to strengthen the back muscles and stimulate the organs in the abdominal cavity.
- Start by laying on your stomach. Support your torso with your forearms. Then begin to bend your right knee and bring the heel toward the same side hip. As you support yourself on the left forearm, reach back with your right hand and grasp the top of your foot as shown in the middle photo. If that is too difficult for you because the thigh is too tight, please place a strap around the foot, coming up onto the elbows as shown in the top photo. If you are already feeling an intense stretch, just stay here. If you are more flexible and are not feeling much here, you can proceed to the next step.
- If you are able, you can start to press your foot toward the butt, and if you have the flexibility, you can take the foot slightly off to the side and press it toward the floor as shown in the bottom photo. You can rotate your elbow toward the ceiling, and slide your fingers over the top of the foot curling them over the toes. Your palm should be pressing the top of the foot down. If you are taking this more advanced version please be sure to keep your knee in line with your hip. Also keep your shoulders squared, don’t twist or let the left shoulder collapse. To help with avoiding that you can press your left elbow/forearm into the floor which also helps to open your chest and collar bones. Don’t push your foot too hard if it hurts your knee! Remember to back off!
- Try to stay here for at least 30 seconds and as long a a couple mins when you get used to it. Make sure you do both sides equally.
Please do not do this stretch If you are experiencing a headache or migraine, or if you suffer from any neck/shoulder/low back injuries.
Tip for beginners: if you are having difficulty supporting yourself with your arms, you can place a few folded blankets under your lower ribs and then place the forearms on the floor in front of the blankets. This will help support your torso.
Give it a go and see all other stretches here.