Posterior hip mobilisation
On all fours, position a stretching band around one quad, then place that foot in front of the opposite knee. Oscillate your hip against the band’s pull. GOOD FOR: Loosening up a stiff hip capsule or making you more efficient whenever you are in hip flexion. This was quite a nice stretch actually…needed quite a heavy band though (blue = 22kg to 54kg of stretch). Two or three rotations at 2mins per side was good.
Shoulder extension, external rotation
Place your hand through a stretching band and rotate your palm up. Grip the band and lean back, stretching your arm above your head and engaging the lat muscle. GOOD FOR: Opening up shoulder joints, which are particularly tight among swimmers, climbers and Tough Mudders. This actually felt really good through my bad shoulder. Same rotations/times applied as per Stretch 1.
Anterior hip mobilisation
Place the stretching band around one quad’s hip crease and stretch that leg back, placing the knee on the ground and slowly rotating the hip forward. GOOD FOR: Loosening up tight hip flexors, common among runners, cyclists, rowers and Tough Mudders. Another nice stretch (who knew there could be some??) with same timings applied.
Standing up, place stretching band just above the ankle and step forward with that leg. Move knee forward and oscillate outward. Repeat facing the other direction. GOOD FOR: Ankle flexibility, which helps save Tough Mudders tremendous energy. I ran the Melbourne Tough Mudder two days in a row when the show came to town….and was semi crippled for a couple of weeks later with tendonitis of the anterior tibialis (nasty pain down the front of the shin – not shin splints – intensifying with any dorsiflexion)…settled down, but took a while. I’m quite sure this was largely due to my choice of footwear (New Balance Minimus….an awesome shoe, but my feet just weren’t up to it for 40km of running on rough ground…needed more cushioning….pussy). Avoiding another onset of this painful nuisance is also high on my R&D job sheet.
10-minute deep-squat test
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lower your hips to your ankles, making sure to keep your feet flat on the ground. Remain in that position for 10 minutes, moving slightly to stimulate circulation. GOOD FOR: Increasing mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips. Now…let’s be clear on something…there is NO WAY that the picture above can be accurate….I can confirm there is nothing pleasurable about holding this position, so forget the idiot grin on the face of our friend. Absolute bollocks. Yes, a VERY worthwhile exercise but very painful to stand out of after that long. Rest assured though the pain is short term and once the head-spins and pins & needles in your feet subside you do feel quite awesome 🙂
No…this is not at home on the couch in front of the TV (otherwise it would be my favourite stretch). Start on all fours with your feet against the wall. Raise one leg so the shin and foot lie flat against the wall, then step the other leg forward, foot beneath you. Engage glutes, quads, and hip flexors by arching and relaxing your back. GOOD FOR: Opening up the entire anterior muscle chain, allowing you to fully extend your hips, knees, and ankles.