Jock Yoga Tutorial: Hamstring And Shoulder Stretch

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Learn a new hamstring and shoulder stretch (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)

This week’s Jock Yoga tutorial will break down a simple but effective exercise for stretching the hamstrings and shoulders simultaneously. Depending on your range of motion, you may experience some stretching in the lat (side back) muscles as well.

Hamstring and Shoulder Stretch: Wide-leg Forward Fold (with Strap or Belt)

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Hamstring and Shoulder Stretch

Step 1: Stand wide-legged (feet about a leg’s distance apart) with your feet parallel to each other. Either interlace your fingers behind (requires a bit more flexibility) or hold the strap (or belt)–with a shoulder-width grip–behind your back. With an inhale through the nose, pull the strap down to straighten the arms, and open and lift your chest.

Note: Using the strap may increase the range of motion and, therefore, the stretch in the shoulders.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Hamstring and Shoulder Stretch

Step 2: As you exhale, slowly hinge at your hip creases (where the upper body meets the lower body) and begin to fold forward. The straight arms begin to lift off of your back as you fold deeper (because this is also a hamstring stretch, you can bend your knees slightly if your legs feel really tight). Once you’ve folded as far as you can, pause to inhale and lengthen your chest forward (to flatten the back), and exhale to fold a little deeper, rolling the shoulders forward to bring the strap up and over a bit further. Stay for about five or so deep breaths—lengthening your chest forward on the inhales and folding deeper and bringing your arms over more on the exhales.

It is very important to keep the legs strong by creating a sensation of shortening the space between the sitting bones and the heels, even though you are stretching the area. It is equally important to keep the stretch active (lengthening the chest forward on the inhales) rather than simply ‘hanging’ forward. These actions will protect you from over-stretching the hamstrings and pulling where they originate. A deep inhale, while pressing into the heels, will slowly lift you back to standing.

Check back every other week for a new tutorial by fitness expert Michael DeCorte

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