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I'm an addicted stretch collector. And, in the hopes that I might uncover different stretches, I am posing this question to you all:


What is your favorite stretch?


I'll start with mine. To stretch the hip/rotator muscle: Lie on my back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Take my right foot and place it just above my left knee. Then I grab hold of my left thigh (still with the right foot attached to the left knee) and pull it towards my chest. Great stretch around the right hip.


For my hip flexor/quad: Start in a jazz lunge (both legs turned in, right leg bent, arms on either side of the right foot, left leg straight behind, left toes on the floor). Bend the left leg until the knee just grazes the floor, then straighten to the original position. Nice stretch down the front of the left leg.

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My favourite stretches at the moment ( and I go through phases)are

1. lie face down perpendicular to a wall, now push towards the wall,letting your legs go out to a wide second and keep pushing until you feel a great stretch. A lot easier than when lying on your back..I find , and you have to keep your turnout. Its great though.


2. The cowface stretch. Umm difficult to describe perhaps, but essentially you sit cross legged at first now try and bring your legs over further so that you nearly haveboth knees lying on top of eachother. Great stretch for the hip flexors...feels so good just thinking about it.

If you want a mor eintense stretch, just lean forward keeping your arms on the floor at your side.

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My favourite stretches currently are:


1. Lie on your back. Keep one leg straight on the floor, bring the other knee towards your armpit, knee bent and the leg in turnout. Grab the knee and pull the leg (gently!) up and to turnout. Feels in the inside of the hip.


2. The very normal work towards middle splits etc: sit on the floor, back straight, legs straight, open the legs to the side keeping turnout and then try to put your stomach towards the floor.

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Yoga books (I recommend Light on Yoga by Iyengar) have tons of excellent stretches.


My favorite stretch for about the last year has been standing in a very wide second, bend backwards with hands on hips. Then very slowly come to a flat back and bend forward until parallel to the floor. Hold that position for a while then arch the back slowly a few times to increase the stretch of the hamstrings, then slowly release the back and head until you are completely relaxed (hands can be either on the floor or behind the back). Concentrate on your breathing and relaxing. Keep stretching for a very long time. Roll up and return to the backbend. The critical element in this stretch is time. It should take as long as possible. Right now, I’m taking about 6-7 minutes to do what I described.


By the way, my second favorite (and sometimes first) is exactly Xena’s number one.

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Sometimes parallel; sometimes turned out. The width of the feet in second varries too. I like changing things around. Don't want the body to get used to any one thing in particular.

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Do you have any tips for getting your stretch #1? I tried it and was really unsuccessful.


It sounds like in order to do this one, you have to be pretty open/rotated in your hips to begin with, since the ultimate goal of the stretch would be that you are face down, stomach on floor in a split position, right? (I'm not saying you actually have to get that far, but that's where the stretch is headed).


I have to say at this point I prefer either 1) laying on my back with butt and legs against the wall and letting the legs fall into second, or 2) sitting in as wide a 2nd position as possible facing a wall, then scooting up to the wall until my feet hit it and very very gently and slowly inching closer to the wall to nudge my legs into a wider second.


I also like the cowface stretch, although I usually have to have a mat under me or an extra shirt or something to stick under my feet and ankles, as they the bony parts tend to press against the floor and get really uncomfortable



As for my favorites right now:

I also like doing a lunge with the back knee on the floor - if you gently tuck your pelvis as you go into it, you get a great stretch for the front of your hip (for the leg with the knee of the floor).


I follow this with a rotator stretch - lie face down with one leg extended and the other bent underneath your chest, with the leg sort of rotated in so that your foot and ankle are close to your opposite hip (or armpit, depending on your flexibility) and your knee is against the middle of your chest.


After these two, I feel ready to tackle all the *other* stretches that I have to do. :P

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Boots, how far are you from the ground when you try a middle split? Even if you aren't, you should feel that first stretch. You have to push gently against the wall using your hands to push yourself against the floor, letting your feet slide away from eachother, as your butt moves closer to the wall. You stop when you feel a stretch, then relax into it, by just lying down. Wait for a few minutes, then push yourself closer to the wall until you feel a further stretch, then hold it here for as long as is comfortable. You can now easily slide in and out of that stretch quite easily.

Yes, I guess if your legs are not rotated out form the hips it is quite difficult to do. But its just like doing one of those frog stretches, just instead of touching your toes together behind you, you are pushing them out to the side.


How are your frogs?

Boots, if it isn't doing anything for you, then don't worry with it. I don't want you to push and then hurt yourself:eek:

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My frog stretch is not that great, I have to say :) And I'm a good way off the floor in a middle split. (I can't check the distance right now as I'm at work and my coworkers would think me a bit strange, but it's probably something like 6-8 inches off the floor??) I think that's why I find this stretch so hard. Maybe I'm interpreting your directions incorrectly, but it sounds like your whole body is on the floor when you start, from head to toe. Are you raising your hips as you slide back against the wall? Or are you keeping them on the floor? That is my difficulty - I don't have a lot of rotation and to try to slide my legs out to the side with my stomach and hips on the floor is killer.

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This isn’t about the different stretches I do, but about how I do them at home. Perhaps others might find it interesting.


1. I always stretch to music, whatever strikes my mood at the time, and use it as a clock.

2. I like stretching in the heat. In today’s cool weather, I wear sweatshirt and sweat pants and turn on a portable heater. Ideally, I am sweating after just a few minutes.

3. I spend a few minutes at the beginning warming up—head rolls, shoulder rolls, hip movements, and simple bends—with the goal of creating heat.

4. I try to do an all around stretching session. By that I mean—feet, shoulders, arms, bending forward, bending backwards, bending sideways, and twisting.

5. I also try to make sure I stretch while standing, sitting, and lying down.

6. I try to hold one stretch for a very long time—several minutes. This is where the music helps me the most. Most stretches I hold between 30 and 90 seconds. I do go through a sequence of stretches at the very beginning, after the rolls, mostly to warm up. Those I hold for only a few seconds, usually moving to the music. I try to think of that as my warm-up stretch dance.


Most of these ideas come from yoga, which I do from time to time. I’m terribly inflexible, don’t really enjoy stretching, and have had to work hard just to be able to finish a stretching session before my motivation dies. What I’ve learned is that how I stretch is more important that the actual stretches I do.

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Boots, I'm keeping my hips on the floor. If I raise anything it is my upperbody and you should feel the stretch on the inside of your groin/upper thigh/inner leg, no tin the knees. You may also feel a slight stretch in the lower back, so be careful. Just go to where you can safely, then you ease yourself into a more intense stretch if you want to. Try to feel the rotation of the legs from the hips, if you feel it in the knee caps then pull yourself forward so your legs come closer and you don't feel any tension in your knee, just the groin.

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