Stretch of the Week: Standing Big Toe Grab

by Rachel Lackowski | Leave a Comment

As we move into week three of February, let’s assess how you’re feeling. Go ahead and do the first two weeks exercises for your warm up. Notice if you feel less stiffness through the inner thighs. It is always good to check in with the body daily which can help determine how much stretching to do. If you are sore from previous stretching or activities, it is recommend to take break from your routine to allow the muscles adequate time to rest. If you feel more limber, you might want to stretch further, but please be mindful using slow and controlled movements.

Now that you have had an opportunity to listen to your body, let’s get to the stretch for week 3. This one is called Standing Big Toe Grab. Don’t worry if you cannot reach your toes, we always have our trusty strap to help us! You will also need a sturdy chair (without wheels; a second one may be needed for support while getting in to the starting position) and a folded blanket.

This exercise is more advanced as it requires the ability to lift your leg over the back of a chair and balance on one leg. If you have difficulty balancing or have a history of hip, groin or knee pain, this may not be the right exercise for you. As with any exercise program, it is recommended to contact your physician, physical or occupational therapist to review what is most appropriate for you.

Starting Position:

  1. Place the back of the chair against a wall where two walls meet (see photos below). Place a folded blanket over the back of the chair. Stand with your right hip facing the seat of the chair and your back against the wall. Have the strap thrown over your shoulder for easy access.
  1. Carefully bring the right heel to rest on the top of the folded blanket on the back of the chair. Use the wall against your back for support or use another chair placed in front of you to help balance yourself while lifting the right leg. The right toes and knee will point to the ceiling. The left toes, knee, and chest will point forward. The left heel should be directly under the left hip for stability.

Performing the Standing Big Toe Grab:

  1. Place the strap around the right foot, keeping ahold of the strap ends with the right hand. Stand up straight and engage the abdominal muscles. Press through the heel of the right foot to make the leg straight and activate the muscles of the thigh and lower leg. The left hand can rest on the left hip.

Take a look at the photo marked yes and the photo marked no.  Notice the differences. The no photo has the left foot turned in, a bent right knee, a rotated trunk, and the head is resting too far forward. This will not allow you to engage the muscles as intended to feel the inner thigh stretch.

  1. Modification: see photo marked modified. If the back (hamstrings) and inner (adductors) thigh are very tight and not flexible enough yet for the height of the back of the chair, then place your heel on the seat of the chair instead. Keep all actions described above the same.
  1. Remain in this position for 30-60 seconds. To come out of the position, bend the right knee, slowly lift the heel from the chair, and using the wall or chair placed in front of you for balance, gently set the foot on the seat and then the floor. Move the chair to the other wall to stretch the other side. Enjoy!week 3
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