I often hear a lot from clients or other folks in the community that there never seems to be enough time in the day to get a workout in or get any kind of stretching or mobility work in for the body.
We are each given the same 24 hours each day to be as productive and efficient as possible. I know how difficult it can be to find time to work on flexibility in today’s world. Given that, I wanted to share a great 10 minute lower body stretching program that can be done to limber up the lower body in just a short amount of time.
Each of these exercises should be completed for 1 set holding for around 1 minute each (you can certainly do 2 sets of each for 1 minute holds if you have the extra time).
#1 – The Couch stretch
This is one of my all time favorite stretches period. It is incredibly effective for opening up some of the anterior chain muscles like the quads and hip flexors. It’s key to make sure that you don’t arch your back during the stretch so try and maintain that neutral spine. The further the knee is to the wall the more intense the stretch will be so you will need to gauge that for yourself. To intensify the stretch a little bit more you can squeeze the glute of the leg that you are stretching and you should notice that you feel the stretch a bit higher up in the hip flexors.
#2 – Supine hamstring stretch w/ strap
This is a great stretch for the hamstrings that can be done anytime and anywhere. All you really need is a stretching strap or even a belt would work. With all of these stretches we are looking for moderate intensity for the stretch. It shouldn’t be so painful that you can’t hold it for at least 1 minute.
#3 – Elevated pigeon stretch
I love this stretch for my hip rotators and glutes. Many people are not flexible enough to get into the pigeon stretch on the floor in a safe and effective manner so this is a great alternative. This can be done on any surface like a bed, couch, or massage table. Make sure to stay tall through the spine and maintain good posture throughout the stretch. If performed correctly you should feel a good stretch on the outside of the glute (no pinching on the inside of the hip!).
#4 – The Goalie stretch
The adductors are one muscle group that I feel are largely neglected by most people in terms of including them into any type of flexibility or mobility programming. Try to keep the outstretched foot flat on the floor as well as maintaining good posture through the spine (please don’t slouch!).
#5 – Calf stretch on slantboard
Most people don’t know how tight their calves are especially if you are a runner. You can do this stretch pretty much anywhere like on a step at home or any slightly inclined surface similar to the slantboard that is pictured. There are two variations of this that you can do. The first is with the leg straight which targets the gastrocnemius muscle of the calf and the other would be bending the leg you a stretching a bit and that targets the soleus muscle. This can be done one leg at a time or both legs at once.
Be consistent and set aside 10 minutes in your day and you’ll notice that these stretches really start to improve the flexibility in your lower body!