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Side Leg Stretch

This stretch opens up your hips, stretches your Achilles' tendon, groin, and the hamstring muscle of the extended leg.

First, stand with the feet double shoulder with wide. You may have to vary this width depending upon your flexibility. Your feet should be facing 45 degrees to the front.


Slowly bend your right knee, keeping your knee pointed over your toes. (Picture on left.) Place your hands on the floor. Keep as much weight on your hands as necessary.


Slowly lower your hips, and roll your left foot so that your toes are pointed towards the ceiling. The extended leg should be straight, not bent. Keep as much weight on your hands as needed, since this position may be uncomfortable until you are more flexible.(Picture on right above)

If you cannot keep the heel of your right foot on the ground, because the Achilles' tendon is too tight, you can keep the heel up until you can relax it down to the floor. Go slow. You do not want to strain your Achilles tendon. The right knee is over the toes, and the right leg is 45 degrees to the body.


Come out of the position by rolling your left foot down the floor. Straighten your body until you are standing, and use your right leg to push the rest of the way up. Go slowly and you will build tremendous strength in your legs.

Repeat on the other side, with the left leg bent, and the right leg extended.

Below are two alternate ways to hold your hands. The picture on the left shows how to hold your body weight on your hands, to take some of the stretch (strain in some cases) off of the legs. As you get more comfortable, you can let all the weight go into the legs, as demonstrated in the picture on the right. There is no weight on the hands in the picture on the right.

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Here is a more difficult way to do the above stretch. In some ways, it is more advanced since you are working to open the groin muscles on the bent leg more. First, stand with your feet a little more than double shoulder width wide. Turn your left foot 90 degrees from your right foot, which is facing toes towards the front of the room. Turn your hips towards the wall you are facing (in the picture below left, I have turned my hips towards the camera, and have my hands on my hips to demonstrate where the hips should be).


One the above right is a picture of the hips in the wrong position, angled to the side. Contrast this position to the one on the left. Note how the whole body is angled off the the left side.


Lower your upper body a little while bending your left knee. Place your left hand on the inside of your left foot, and your left elbow on the inside of your left knee. (picture on left). Now, drop your hips down, and use your left arm to hold your left knee from collapsing inward. This increase the stretch on your left leg. Keep the left foot on the ground as you roll your right foot upwards, keeping your left heel on the ground. (picture on right). Get out of the stretch as follows: roll your right foot to the ground, raise your body up, and push up with your left leg. Repeat on the other side.

 

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Disclaimer

It is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult your physician if in doubt about your physical condition before embarking on a stretching program. The author of howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained while practicing any of the stretches described within.

 

 

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