How to Get Deeper Into Those Stretches

Improve your hamstring stretches, get deeper with those delts, and help those hips!

Do you struggle with flexibility? Many of us do! Cat Kom and Sidekick Bethany are here to help you get more out of your post-workout stretching with some general tips, and several specific to hamstrings. And guess what – these same concepts can help with other body parts too!

Let’s start by getting into a hurdler’s stretch:

  • Seated, with your right leg straight in front of you, bend your left knee out, placing the bottom of your foot along your right leg.
  • Bend forward at the waist, reaching toward your right foot.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Here’s where our bodies and flexibility will differ. Bethany can pop right into this stretch and hold it for 30 seconds, but Cat can’t get into the stretch right away. Is that because Bethany’s foot is closer to her body? Ha! Maybe… but you bet Cat (and you!) can get there with a little modification.

So how can you get deeper into the stretch?

  • Try a “modified” PNF Stretch. (What’s a PNF stretch, you may wonder? It stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and essentially means active stretching, usually with a partner, and involving alternating contraction and relaxation of muscles.)
  • Instead of stretching your right leg in front of you flat on the floor, keep a slight bend in your right knee.
  • Reach toward your toes, but for you, the reach may be toe, laces, ankle, mid-calf, or even your knee. Remember – you versus you. The goal is to improve on your own baseline.
  • Squeeze your right quad muscles as you inhale, and release on your exhale.
  • With each release and exhale, inch your chest closer to your leg.
  • Be sure to keep your hips stable as you drop your chest and reach toward your toes.

Overall, think about alternative ways to get into your stretch, knowing it may look a little different for each person.

Is your balance a barrier to a standing quad stretch? Try holding onto a stable surface, or you can even take it to the floor. If you lay on your side, it may be easier to bend your foot up to your hand for the stretch.

Hips too tight for a standard runner’s lunge? Start with a little gentle bounce, holding the stretch once your hips are a bit looser.

Confused about isometric (held) stretches versus dynamic (small, gentle bounce) stretches? Worry less, stretch more. Generally, either type of stretch is ok, and to an extent is based on personal preference, although as mentioned above, if you’re less flexible, a gentle dynamic stretch may help you get settled into the stretch position before ending with an isometric hold.

Bottom line: Just do the stretching.

And after your body-sculpting, fat-torching workout at Studio SWEAT and Studio SWEAT onDemand, check out some of these guided stretch & restore workouts in our online library!