moving stretch: freeing the legs sequence

In her newest book Moving Stretch: Work Your Fascia to Free Your Body, triyoga therapist Suzanne Wylde shares some of her best resistance stretching techniques. Here, we share her “Freeing the Legs” sequence from pages 192 – 199 of her book, which can be especially useful for runners and cyclists with tight hamstrings and legs.

freeing the legs sequence

 

These legs stretches are great, both for people who work in an office and for people with sedentary lifestyles as the legs tend to get very tense when sitting all day. This routine also works well for “weekend warriors”, helping to prepare the body for exercise and adventure after periods of inactivity. You can also use these stretches to keep the legs in good condition, which is especially important for those engaging in leg-dominant activities such as running and cycling.

1. wideleg squat for medial hamstrings

 

what does this stretch? medial, central hamstrings

technique: Bend forward from the hips and tense your abdominal muscles to protect your back. If you can reach the floor, then touch the floor, but if not then hold your calves. Tense the inside/back of your thighs by pulling your feet in together and back, but without rolling the knees inward. Squat gently down to a comfortable level and then push your bottom back up again, as far as you can comfortably, always tensing the inside back of your legs (medial hamstrings). One squat is one rep

suggested reps in one set: 7 – 10

2. quad stretch at a table

 

what does this stretch? quads

technique: Rest your foot behind you on a table with a cushion on it or the back or side of a sofa. Push the foot of your bent leg back behind you (never downward) into the table or sofa continuously as you move your hips as far forward and then as far back toward your back foot as you can comfortably go, without pushing beyond any discomfort. Hold onto something so that you are stable and keep your knee steady and straight as you stretch, do not let it wobble from side to side. Going forward and backward once counts as one rep.

suggested reps: 7 – 10 on each side

3. central hamstrings at a table

 

what does this stretch? central hamstrings

technique: Stand with one foot out in front of you on a table, step, or other secure surface. Bend the upper leg’s knee as much as possible, and keeping the toes pointing upwards, continuously pull that foot down and back into the table. Now stretch by smoothly lengthening your leg by sticking your bottom out behind you.

suggested reps: 7 – 10 on each side

4. adductors at a chair

 

what does this stretch? adductors

technique: with your foot up on a chair straight out to one side, keep that leg straight and pull the foot down into the chair continuously to engage the muscles of your inner thigh (adductors). Keeping that force on, smoothly bend your standing leg as far as you can comfortably bend it to stretch your adductors and then return easily to the starting position. Bending and straightening the knee of your standing leg once counts as one rep.

suggested reps: 7 – 10 on each side

5. hip flexors at a chair

 

what does this stretch? hip flexors

technique: Standing with your leg out behind you on a chair, step or low wall, pull your back foot down and forward into the chai continuously to engage the muscles at the top and on the front of that thigh (the hip flexors). Smoothly and comfortably bend your standing leg. Bending and straightening the knee of your standing leg once counts as one rep.

suggested reps: 7 – 10 on each side

6. lateral hamstrings with a strap

 

what does this stretch? lateral hamstrings

technique: Stretch the outside/back of your thighs (lateral hamstrings) by lying down and putting the loop of a strap around one foot. Start with the leg of that foot down and out to the side, keeping it pulling itself in that direction as you pull it up and across your body, toward the opposite shoulder, with the yoga strap. The leg being pulled up and relaxing back down again once counts as one rep.

suggested reps: 7 – 10 on each side

Suzanne has been involved in alternative health from the age of 16 when she began to practice Tai Chi and Qi Gong. She went on to study a five-year degree in Chinese medicine, gain experience in China and work for the NHS and in private practice. She is also currently the only certified Resistance Stretching trainer in London. Suzanne offers very gentle acupuncture treatments and powerful resistance stretching sessions for a range of health issues, physical pain, stress, postural issues and to boost health. She has a practical yet intuitive approach and focuses on solving the root of a problem, to achieve longer-lasting results.

Suzanne Wylde is a therapist at triyoga camden. View her treatments and schedule here. To purchase Suzanne’s book Moving Stretch: Work Your Fascia to Free Your Body, visit any triyoga shop in camden, chelsea or soho.

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