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Stretches For Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, and Calves

Sit Much? A Stretch Sequence to Get You Workout-Ready

There's nothing like a good multitasking stretch to get your muscles ready for a workout. My trainer at Crunch has me do this stretch sequence to combat muscle tightness I have from sitting at a desk all day, but it's easily as useful for runners, cyclists, and anyone else who needs to stretch the lower body muscles. And if you like yoga, you'll love this sequence; each stretch uses the principles of popular yoga poses to stretch your hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves.

Ready to start? Remember to do a quick five-minute cardio warmup like jogging in place before attempting these stretches; hold each position for 30 seconds and repeat the sequence twice on each side (a total of six minutes).

  1. Start at a lunge position, with your right leg bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Raise your left leg so your knee is off the ground and lean forward, placing hands on the floor at the same line as your forward foot (see photo above). Bend your right arm and place elbow at knee, grab left side of chest with your right hand, and slowly slide your elbow down your bent leg, looking to your left and deepening your stretch as you go. Like the Extended Side Angle Pose, this move stretches your hip flexors and hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds.

There are two more stretches, so read on for the rest of the sequence.

  1. From there, it's time for a modified Warrior 1 pose (see pic above). Keep your legs positioned where they are and lift your upper body up, raising your arms. Twist your torso to the right. Hold for 30 seconds.
  2. Now straighten your right leg, rocking back slightly until your feet are flat and both knees are straight (similar to an Open Triangle pose, but with the back foot facing forward; see above). Lean your upper body forward and place both hands on either side of your right leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat this sequence with your left leg in front.
  4. Once you're done, repeat the entire sequence one more time. Now you're ready for your workout!
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