Stretch of the Week: Three Legged Downward Dog

by Rachel Lackowski | Leave a Comment

Week three of July has arrived! This week’s stretch is called Three Legged Downward Dog. This stretch is very similar to week one, but instead of stepping one foot forward we will step one foot back and up! This will stretch the sole of the foot all the way up the back of the leg into the calf and hamstring.

This is an advanced stretch for those looking to develop greater flexibility while working on core strength and stability. Look back to July’s week 1 and week 2 stretches and begin there prior to attempting this more advanced lower extremity stretch.

Do not perform this stretch if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, late term pregnancy, high blood pressure, headache or balance issues. Please consult your physician before performing the stretch if you have any calf, hamstring, low back or Achilles injuries.

You will need a bit of wall space to perform this stretch.

How to perform:

  1. Start in a push-up position with your heels on the wall. Spread your palms and fingers wide while pressing into the floor. Draw your belly button to the spine. Take a look at week one of July for this visual.
  1. Bend your knees slightly, press your hips back and up to the sky, then straighten your legs as best you can as shown in photo 1. You can still have a slight bend in your knees throughout this stretch. Make sure your heels remain at the wall to give tight hamstrings a break.
  1. Now take your left leg up behind you onto the wall. Curl your left toes under and press your heel upward. Draw your belly button to the spine. Keep pressing your hands into the floor and your chest toward the wall. Position the front of your left hip toward the floor as shown in photo 2. Try to straighten both legs as much as you can. You can certainly have a slight bend in both knees if your hamstrings are tight. You will actually feel the greatest stretch in your right leg during this position.

Take a look at the “NO” photo. Do not allow the hip to open up to either side. You want your hips square for this stretch.

  1. This stretch requires a little bit of upper body strength so attempt to stay up for at least 30 seconds. Then, lower your leg and come to all fours to rest briefly before completing on your right side.

stretch of the week three legged downward dogInterested in learning more? Email me at rachel.lackowski@athletico.com

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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