MDSF Stretching at Home Cheat Sheet

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1 MDSF Stretching at Home Cheat Sheet These stretches are listed in priority, e.g. if you ONLY have a few minutes to do some of these, you should start with hip flexors. The only exceptions to this is if you are REALLY flexible in some area and really do not feel it or if you are crazy stiff in some given area for that day. Ideally you should hold every position for 2 minutes. This allows for you to relax into the position. I find this more difficult in some positions than others, e.g. I alternate 1 minute hip flexor on right leg, 1 minute hip flexor on left leg, 1 minute in hamstring stretch, repeat. 1) Hip Flexors Back knee as close to wall, or whatever you are up against, as possible. Front leg naturally in front of you, in line with front hip as opposed to in line with the center of your body. Hand(s) on front knee or nearby support. Push your hips forward. Critical for healthy knees, hips, back, and good squatting position. (Erin has an excellent position. You should be pushing your hips forward enough to be cringing like Reni) Where felt: for most, front of leg from hip bone, or eve slightly above into abdominal area, to knee. 1

2 2) Hamstrings Sit with both feet flat against a wall. Reach as far forward as you can. There are a couple options here: you can round your back gently OR keep your back as straight as possible for a stretch higher up, near your sit bones. Some people may feel this very low in their hamstrings or even below their knees in their upper calves. If you have trouble even getting your hips at a 90 angle, you can place your hands on the floor behind you and push yourself forward with a straight back OR you can place a belt around your feet and pull yourself forward. If you can lean ALL the way forward and reach your toes, stick your hands between your toes and wall to flex your fee back even more. Alternatively, put a book between your toes and the wall. Where felt: back of leg from butt bones down to knees and potentially into upper calves. Also some stretch in lower back muscles, you do not want this to be excessive or painful. 3) Frog This one in particular is best described with images. Jules demonstrates a very nice frog with heels out and butt in line with knees. 2

3 Melissa (below, top) shows a frog with heels out and hips in front of knees. Erin (below, bottom) shows a frog with heels together-ish and hips slightly behind the knees. You should try several of these combinations to see how they stretch in different places. Where felt: inner leg, outer hip, ENTIRE hip joint. Ouch! 4) Figure-4 Erin demonstrates a REALLY nice upright pretzel (below left). The keys here are rail-straight back, hug that knee tight to the chest, and keep both your sit-bones on the floor. You can use your free hand to help keep your posture upright. Then we have the folded up pretzel (below right). Place your knees so they are on top of each other and then lean forward placing your chest on your top leg and using it to press down. 3

4 The figure-4 is a slight modification to the pretzel and some people might feel it more. Reni demonstrates a very nice one below. Alternatively, you can place your back against the wall and use your arms to grab your legs and pull them to your chest. Where felt: typically on the outside of the hip area. Potentially down the outer thigh a bit too. 5) Straddle Reni (below, left) demonstrates a very nice straddle, legs apart and leaning as far forward as you can. For those working to get to that position, the help of a bar across your feet to then grab and pull on helps a lot (Jules, below-right). At home you can use a broom or mop. Where felt: inner thighs. 4

5 After working the center position, you also want to work on leaning to either side. This can take two forms: 1) keeping your side to your leg Pardis shows good technique and the use of socks as a good leverage point; Jason may not get too far down but has perfect form and then Jasmine below shows us all what we are striving for! Where felt: opposite side of body to which you are stretching towards (arrow). Potentially, inner thigh of leg that you are bending away from and hammy of leg you are stretching towards. The second rendtion is with chest and belly facing your leg. Reni and the bendy Bender demonstrate this nicely. Being able to reach their feet, they can actually use this hold to pull their chests down to their legs. Where felt: As opposed to above, you are likely to feel this a bit more toward the center of your back and the hammy of the leg you are stretching towards. 5

6 6) Butterfly (1- and 2-legged) One of the more traditional stretches but also potentially the laziest (!). Jason is all grins in demonstrating the 2-legged butterfly because he is very flexible in this position (ask him to show you his hammy mobility!). To get to where he is most of us have to work a bit harder by grabbing each ankle with our hands, placing our elbows on our knees, and then actively pressing our knees to the ground. You can also gently rock from side to side when doing this. Most people will feel this in the lateral part of their hips. Where felt: inner and outer hip area way up near the joint. Below Kris is demonstrating a nice 1-legged butterfly with the straight leg approximately in front of your body. You can also take 1 hand and place it on the bent knee; pressing that knee down will provide a greater stretch. Where felt: This one is hammy of straight leg and back and outer hip of bent leg, especially if you are pressing down on it with your hand. 6

7 Alternatively, you can do the 1-legged butterfly with the straight leg off to one side, see Erin and Melissa below. And, again, you can position your upper body a bit differently to emphasize the stretch in slightly different areas. Erin has folded her torso forward while Melissa is leaning out over her straight leg more. 7) Shoulders Stand facing wall, place hand somewhere between eye and shoulder height, feet should be a distance away from the wall such that the arm makes an approximately 90 angle with the torso. Now, keeping hand flat on wall, turn your torso to face away from the wall. Below we have the Shoulder Rockettes demonstrating. If you allow your shoulder to roll over, you will feel this in your deltoid. If you keep your shoulder back, opening up your armpit and pressing it to the floor (you may need to raise your hand and/or bend your knees a bit here), most people will feel it in there pectoralis major, aka pecs. Where felt: deltoids and pec, with potential down your side into your rib cage area. 7

8 8) Cobra This is for the oft neglected stomach and back muscles. Again, try slightly different positions. Kris, is pressing down with his hands to keep his shoulders away from his ears. Reni is relaxing her shoulders to sink into the floor a bit more. You will fell both these positions in slightly different levels up and down your stomach. Hold this for 1 minute then spend seconds on your back rocking it out. Repeat a second time. Where felt: stomach mostly but the potential to stretch back if you really think about extending your head to the ceiling. 9) Wrists If the stomach is neglected, then the wrists are absolutely forgotten about most times. I would STRONGLY encourage you to incorporate these quick and easy wrist stretches into your daily warm up, especially if you are going overhead with the barbell or are doing push ups. Place palms down on the ground and spend 1 minute moving around (below left). Try light pressure at first and then increasing as the minute progresses. Have your fingers facing away from each other and also away from your knees, i.e. rotated 90 from where Melissa is demonstrating below. Then switch to palms up (middle) for 1 minute. You may need to bend your arms a bit if your wrists or forearms are sore or stiff that day (right). Repeat to get 2 minutes per position. At the end, lock hands and roll around for a little more wrist mobility. 8

9 Where felt: forearms, other side too. Top of hands. 10) Ankles Similar to wrists, we tend to neglect our lower legs big time. This area is critical for good squat positions and health in pretty much everything related to using our legs (which is pretty much all the time!). Here we have the Calf Rockettes. Stand facing a wall, hands or elbows against the wall, keep your hips straight, feet flat on the floor, knees straight. You can do one leg at a time for a more focused stretch (like Jules, far left). Most people will feel this in the upper calves and potentially a bit above the knee. Where felt: calves and achilles, with potential all the way up into lower hammies. To get a stretch in your Achilles, bend your knees. You may need to move your feet closer to the wall. 9

10 For those who have pretty flexy ankles, you may need to do this on a ledge of some sort. Be careful when trying this at home! Same as against a wall, straight leg will typically stretch your calf (left) and bent knee will stretch your Achilles (right). 10

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