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Stretch of the Week: Hero Stretch

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This weeks stretch is called the hero stretch. This one can be very difficult for many people because of tight ankles AND quads, so please go back to the last three weeks‘ stretches to warm up and prepare for this stretch. I do not recommend the stretch for people that have severe knee or ankle problems. The benefits of the stretch are: stretches thighs, knees, and ankles; improves digestion; helps to reduce swelling in the legs for pregnant women; helps to strengthen the arches of the feet.

What you will need for this stretch: A rolled up towel or blanket and a yoga block or something similar like a big book.

How to so the Hero Stretch

  1. Begin by kneeling. Take your feet wider than your knees/hips and keep them pointing straight back, don’t allow them to turn in(sickle).
  2. From here you’ll have three options.
  3. Option 1, see if you can comfortably bring the butt to the floor between the feet as shown in the top left photo then do so. You are not sitting on the heels, or slouching like in the bottom left photo, the sit bones are on the floor. If this is very uncomfortable or hero stretchcausing pain, take…
  4. Option 2 (top right photo) by sitting on a block/book. If this is still uncomfortable you can take a rolled blanket and put it behind the knees, or just fold the blanket and place it on top of the block for added height.
  5. Feet are still to the outside of the block/hips pointing straight back. In either option sit tall, reach the crown of the head to the ceiling, pulling the low belly in towards the spine and up towards the ribs, engaging the core.
  6. The hands can rest on the thighs palm down. If this stretch is causing you too much pain in the knees then stop. I would advise to keep working with the previous weeks stretches until the thighs loosen up more. If you are very flexible here and can sit comfortably on the floor then you can deepen the stretch with option 3.
  7. Option 3 is to start bringing the hands behind your hips, fingers face forward as shown in the top left photo. Leaning back, push the heart to the ceiling, keeping the chest open and shoulders down the back.
  8. You can even come to your forearms or all the way down to your back as shown in the bottom right photo, but make sure you only go as far as the knees will stay on the floor.
  9. Don’t let the knees pop up, squeeze the thighs together and zip up the front of the body(low belly to spine and up) to protect the low back. If you come all the way to the floor you can lift the arms over head grabbing the elbows for an added stretch in the abdominals, ribs, and chest.

 

You can stay here for 30secs to a full minute. As you begin to loosen up you can work up to five minutes.

Tip: if you are having pain in the ankles you can roll up another blanket/towel and place it in-between the floor and the ankles before you sit back to cushion.

Questions? Please email me at rlackowski@athletico.com and follow Rachel Lackowski on Instagram for more stretches.

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Read more health resources related to these topics:

FitnessGeneralPhysical TherapyStretchingWeekly StretchHero Stretch

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