Part II of our series is simply taking our half-kneeling position to a standing position: the Split Stance Standing Front Butt with Bilateral Hand Reach Matrix:
What Does it Do?
Just as in the kneeling variation, we are focusing on opening up the anterior hip using overhead arm drivers to facilitate achieving new motion from the top of the body, downward toward the hip. Since we moved the position from kneeling to standing, we are also involving the posterior lower leg (calf group, foot/ankle joints).
How Do I Maximize the Benefit of the Stretch?
Just as in the kneeling variation, we want to ensure a tall spine posture like I talked about in the previous post. I also like to get a different feel for the stretch by doing the following:
– Make sure you to maintain bodyweight on your back leg when you are stretching… alot of individuals have the tendency of shifting their weight onto their lead leg, which eliminates the tension we are trying to create in the back leg
– try to extend the knee of the leg that is back (aka, straighten your leg) as you are driving your hips forward. I’m pretty tight as you can see, so this part is a challenge for me, but the muscles in play are certainly feeling the tension.
– I’ve played around with two different variations with the back foot position. The first one is to keep the back foot flat on the ground, getting your “drive” from the heel. The second one is to let the heel ride up, placing your weight on your fore foot, (ball of the feet), and then getting your drive from there. The first I’ve found to be a better stretch for the gastrocnemius (calf), while the second I’ve found to get a much bigger stretch in the plantar fascia (on the bottom of your foot) and soleus (muscle that lies deep, or underneath the calf). Experiment with both! Variation is key for our joints to become adequate shock absorbers and force producers.
Who is This Stretch For?
Anyone with tight hips and calves. This is also a great movement to include in your dynamic-warm up even if you aren’t necessarily restricted in either area. Great movement prep! I use this stretch before any lower body exercise, especially for lunges, as it allows me to get deeper into my lunges with better stability.
How Many Sets/Reps Should I Do?
Somewhere between 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps will suffice. Make sure to work additional sets/reps if you are feeling especially restricted.
Let me know your thoughts!
Have a great day!