After a grueling workout the last thing you might want to do is take a few minutes to stretch. If your usual go-to for recovery is the foam roller, try adding these moves (before or after a workout) for additional hip mobility. Opening your hips can help improve recovery by providing circulation in your legs and alleviating back pain with more supple hips. Allowing your hips to move through a full range of motion keeps the body balanced, giving us the strength to find full extension as we move through explosive movements during WODs. Try these four hip-opening poses after your next workout.
(Pictured Above) Drop one shin onto the ground, keeping it parallel to the floor. If flexibility is an issue, place the shin at a slight angle. Your hips should remain level (not slanting to one side). Your back leg should be extended straight back. Make sure your knee and thigh are laying flat on the ground. By keeping your torso upright the psoas and iliacus muscles get a more complete stretch, providing a deeper release to the muscles.
Draw one foot to the outside of your arms and place both hands flat on the ground. Bring your forearms to the floor or, if mobility is an issue, use a prop like a block or two stacked weights under your arms. Your back leg can remain off the ground or flat on it. Hold the stretch to help open your hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps. Working these three areas will help improve the flexibility of your hip ligaments and strengthens your leg muscles.
Step one foot forward keeping your back knee on the ground in a lunge position. Extend your arms overhead while keeping your gaze forward, focusing on maintaining a neutral cervical spine. Your shoulders should be dropped and relaxed, not shrugged up next to the ears. Take the lunge deeper by pressing into the front foot, but make sure you keep the front knee over the ankle. Hug both thighs in toward your pelvis. Maintaining this position helps stretch tight quads, hamstrings and hips.
Cow Face Pose
While sitting, stack one knee over the other. Your feet should be on either side of your hips. Stay upright or fold forward for a deeper variation. The pose gives an intense stretch across the hips, thighs and ankles. As an advanced modification, you can try this pose while laying flat on your back, keeping one knee on top of the other and holding your ankles with your hands.
Photography by Andrea Taylor Photography