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Stretch of the Week: Reclined Cobbler’s Stretch

by AthleticoLeave a Comment

February’s focus for our weekly stretches will be for the inner thighs.

The inner thighs are largely composed of five muscles: Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Gracillis, Adductor brevis, and Adductor magnus. These muscles are primarily responsible for adduction, such as when crossing the leg past the mid-line of the body towards the opposite side. They play a critical role in our day to day functions including standing and walking. Therefore, it is important to maintain both their flexibility and strength to help prevent injuries.

This first week is a personal favorite of mine, called the Reclined Cobbler’s stretch. This stretch is performed while lying on your back to help you focus on the stretch felt along the inner thighs.

You may need a strap or belt for this stretch. Important considerations prior to performing the Reclined Cobbler’s stretch include:

  • All movements should be smooth and controlled. Remember to always listen to your body so you do not over-stretch.
  • If you have a history of groin, hip or knee injuries, this may not be the right exercise for you. As with beginning any exercise program, contact your physician, physical or occupational therapist to review what is most appropriate for you.

Starting Position:

  1. Lie on your back. Bring your knees towards your chest so they are directly over your hips.

Performing the Reclined Cobbler’s Stretch:

  1. Separate the knees away from one another while bringing the soles of the feet together. Grab the outsides of your feet with your hands. Interlace the fingers to anchor yourself in the position. Begin by slowly pressing the soles of the feet together while relaxing your shoulders to the floor.
  2. Press your tailbone towards the floor. Widen the knees away from you so the hip musculature engages to gently stretch the inner thighs. Refer to the top photo below for the correct alignment.
  3. This is a stretch that you can work towards comfortably staying in for several minutes. To begin, try to maintain this position for 1 minute. To come out of it, bring the knees together and place the feet on the floor. Rest the low back for a few breaths before you come off the floor.

Modification (bottom photo): for a number of people the inner thighs, glutes, and low back may not be flexible so that it will be difficult to grab the feet and also have the shoulder blades and tailbone flat to the floor. If this is happening to you, place a strap around the feet, and with your hands grabbing the strap on either side, relax back until both the shoulder blades and tailbone are flat to the floor. You do not want to be straining here as shown in the middle photo, as it is too hard on the neck, shoulders, and back. Remember the focus of this stretch is the inner thighs so the rest of the body needs to be calm and relaxed.

Reclined Cobbler

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