Stretch Exercises

Q: Your stretching article was more informative than all the books I have on stretching put together. Great stuff! Here's a question for you. I was scrolling the discussion board of another website when I came across this weird kind of hip flexor stretch. It goes like this (steps):

1. Lie on the ground in a crunch position.
2. Put an object in between your knees like a pillow or a small ball.
3. Squeeze the object between your knees and semi-bridge off the floor, keeping your shoulder blades on the ground and your hip-flexors elevated (feet stay on the ground too.)
4. Hold this position for a little while, then repeat.

Is this a good stretch?

A: There are better ones! Here are some examples of Quad & Psoas Stretches from my Stretch for Strength presentation:

a. Standing Quad Stretch (PNF, solo)

 

The goal is to drop the knee further down toward the ground while leaning back.

b. Lunge Quad Stretch (PNF, partner)

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This stretch is very similar to the one above except you start in a lunge position with one knee down on a mat and hips rotated toward the forward leg. The object is to lean back while a partner pushes your heel toward your butt.

c. Side-Lying Quad/Psoas Stretch

 

If possible, secure the forward foot against an immovable object (like a wall) to lock the pelvis and prevent you from sliding around on the floor. Have your partner stretch you in two different planes as depicted in the photos.

d. Siff Dynamic Psoas Stretch

Try to extend the length of the lunge (by inching the front foot forward) over several repetitions.

e. Tsatsouline Ballistic Psoas Stretch

Float up and down for the first few weeks, and then gradually speed up the movement. You can use a chair for support.

f. JP 4-Stage Static Stretch


Inspired by the late Dr. Siff, the above sequence of photos displays the stretching of all 4 functions of the psoas major muscle which include hip flexion, external rotation, trunk flexion and (ipsi)lateral flexion - to stretch, simply do the opposite! Try it.

g. Anterior Fascial Chain Stretch

I picked this one up from Dr. Mark Lindsay. By extending the arm, you could exert a greater stretch on the anterior fascial chain.

Q: Am I supposed to flex my abs while doing it? (It doesn't say so on the board.)

A: Flex the antagonist(s) (i.e. hip extensors such as the glutes) instead to cause reciprocal inhibition thereby enhancing the stretch.


For more information, purchase a one-year subscription to my Stretch for Strength online video presentation. It features demonstrations of all the above stretches plus a whole bunch more. Check it out - you'll discover some neat tricks!
 

[This Q&A piece originally appeared in Testosterone Magazine on May 14, 2004 and can be accessed online at http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/313cat.jsp.]