Flexibility and mobility are the two things I see neglected by most of the average gym-goers. This is unfortunate, because they are so crucial to so many of the things we do! Whether you want to learn weightlifting, improve your Jiu Jitsu, or stay limber after sitting in front of a computer, spending an extra 15-20 minutes on your flexibility can be extremely beneficial. Check out these 3 easy stretches for the hip flexors, quad, and hamstring, all done from the kneeling position.
Kneeling Hip Flexor:
Start in a kneeling position; keeping the knee in line over the ankle, hip around 90 degrees, lean forward into hip, maintain a neutral spine, and keep pelvis from tipping forward. If you would like to increase the intensity of the stretch, squeeze the glute.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
Still in a kneeling position; lift your back leg off the ground, reach back and grasp the ankle, pull ankle toward your butt, and stop when you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Try to maintain a neutral spine during this stretch, and keep the pelvis from tilting forward. This stretch can be stressful on the bottom knee, so be cautious if you have any sort of knee injury.
From the kneeling position; Shift your hips back, straighten your front leg, slowly hinge forward at the hips, being careful not to round your back. Hinge until you feel a good amount of tension, but no pain. If your hamstrings are super flexible, hinge until your hands are planted flat on the floor beside your knee. With enough practice, and work, you will eventually be able to progress this into a full splits.
The goal is to hold these stretches for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on your comfort with them, before flowing into the next. Try to cycle through 2-3 rounds on each leg. This should take you between 10 and 15 minutes total. Please always keep in mind that tension – not pain – is the goal with stretching. Next time you find yourself binge-watching some Netflix, get off the couch and work through these stretches. You will be amazed how easy it is to fit some flexibility training into your life.