Five ideal stretching and mobility exercises
1. The 90/90 EXERCISE is a great way to improve mobility and stretch the hip rotators. It is performed by placing the leg bent at the knee, approximately at an angle of 90 degrees, in front of us in a sitting position, i.e. by lowering it to the ground. The back leg is also bent at the knee at approximately the same angle. The upper part of the body must be vertical, for the exercise to be effective and safe to perform. We press the ground with the knee of the front leg and slightly pull the hip back, to feel a better stretch. It is recommended to repeat 5 deep inhalations and exhalations in this position, to begin with. This exercise has many progressions that challenge both external and internal hip rotation.
2. For a HALF-KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH, you will need an elevation (bed, chair, or bench). You have to assume a semi-kneeling position by placing the back leg, the corresponding foot, and the front leg in front at a 90-degree angle on the bench. During this stretch, it is very important to maintain an upright vertical posture as possible. Breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. When you expel the air, you activate the gluteus of the back leg and thus additionally increase its stretching. There are many variations in this stretch as well. For those who feel that this stretch is too aggressive, just assume the above-mentioned position and while maintaining your balance, breathe using the diaphragm, without moving the rib cage.
3. Named after the famous physiotherapist and trainer BRETTZEL, this exercise is an excellent choice both for stretching the hip flexors and for the mobility of the thoracic spine. The exercise is performed by lying on the side. We need two elevations – one for the head and the other for the knee of the leg that is not on the ground and should be above the hip level. The leg closer to the ground is bent at the knee and we hold it with our hand so that we feel a stretch in the front of the hip, while the hand that is on the ground holds the knee. Thus, we prevent the rotation of the lumbar part, which is not what we want. When we have taken the appropriate position, we breathe in through the nose and lower the shoulder that is not on the ground and the leg that we are holding to the opposite side.
4. LEG LOWERS WITH ASSISTANCE is performed by putting one leg right next to the other, with the feet in a neutral position. To do this exercise, we need a longer exercise rubber band or a towel. We stretch one leg with a rubber band around the foot, raise it so that it is parallel to the hip or even above the height of the hip and do not bend it at the knee. The other leg that is not supported by the rubber band is positioned next to it. Then, in a controlled manner, we lower the leg that is not supported by the rubber band to the ground, while the other leg must stay still. An easier variant of this exercise would be that the starting position is on the ground or a roller and that the leg supported by the rubber band and fully straightened is pulled into a position parallel to the hip or even over it. A more difficult option would be to not use a rubber band at all.
5. FOUR SUPPORTS is an exercise in which we are in an “on all fours” position, i.e. in the position when we are resting on the ground using our hands and knees, we raise one hand, hug the neck with it, and then lower it to the elbow of the opposite hand. We inhale through the nose, then open the chest to the side that is not resting on our hand and exhale all the time. It is important that during this exercise, the thoracic spine is the only mobile segment. Also, we must keep the lumbar part of the spine still.
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