We all know about the traditional “downward dog” position in Yoga; It’s a great stretch that works to lengthen the tissues of the posterior chain, which includes much of the musculature on the backside of the body.
Here’s a peak at the traditional downward dog:
Now, here’s an example of a few tweaks we can employ… and a MUCH less flexible individual demonstrating them (don’t hate. I’m working on it… just like you should to if you are as tight as I am!)
– Single Leg Crossbehind – this allows for us to focus on one leg at a time… an important concept, as most people tend to have one leg relatively tighter than the other, and if we stay in the dual leg stance like in the traditional downward dog, we may not create enough of a stretch for the leg that needs it, or we may compensate somehow.
– Wide Stance with Pelvic Shift – I like this one because we can focus a bit more on the deep external rotators, the glutes, lateral hamstring, and lateral calf a bit more… all areas that tend to be alot tighter in individuals that we can’t necessarily get after in a traditional downward dog stretch.
A couple of things:
– I know my knees aren’t completely locked out…. there’s a reason for that. One, I’m not the most flexible person in the world, and two, ever since I completely tore my Posterior Cruciate Ligament in my Left Knee, I am very hyper mobile in knee extension… almost always going through knee HYPERextension, as oppose to ankle dorsiflexion (think, the opposite of pushing the gas pedal down). This has left me with an extremely locked down calf/soleus/peroneal group, and also means that I have to concentrate very hard on keeping the knee centrated in order to elicit the stretch in the desired area.
8-10 reps for 1-3 sets would suffice, working additional sets/reps if you’re especially restricted. Keep the tempo smooth and controlled… no jerky motion, and no “segmental” motion (i.e. joint segments should be flowing fluidly like water, not machine-like).
Give ‘r a try and let me know your thoughts!