The Glutes are the biggest & most powerful muscle in the body, while the piriformis is arguably the trickiest. Here in the first of the Epic Stretches series I’ll show you how to stretch both, so you can speed up recovery and gain flexibility which will speed up the process of fat loss and muscle gain.
Everyone focuses on the flex, but many neglect the stretch despite them being two sides of the same coin. Without flexibility, the workable range of motion for a muscle will continue to decrease, stunting progress and promoting injury. Stretching dramatically reduces recovery time, which means it can literally speed up your progress by allowing you to train more in a shorter period of time. I started this series to compile the most epic, effective and worthwhile stretches in order to maximize your progress with minimal time.
First lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet planted.
Grab hold of the leg you want to stretch with both hands, one hand gripping around and just under the knee, with the other hand gripping just above the ankle.
The other leg may remain planted, or for a deeper stretch try raising the resting knee to reinforce the pull of the stretching leg.
Pull the leg to each of the 3 directions shown in the video: First towards the shoulder on the same side, then towards the opposite shoulder, then push the knee away from your body while still pulling in towards the body from your grip above the ankle.
For warmup purposes and to better prepare for a workout, use a smooth motion throughout the lift, not quite pausing in one spot but slowly bringing the leg through each of the 3 positions.
For gaining flexibility, or recovering after a workout, hold each of the 3 positions for at least 30 seconds.
Things to remember throughout the stretch:
Always breathe deeply, smoothly and fully throughout every stretch.
Keep the toes/foot of the stretching leg lifted by flexing your shin, which will help to protect your knee throughout the movement.
Let your body continue to relax into the ground, especially at the top and bottom of your spine, which is the tailbone and head.
Stretching is all about relaxing – at no point is any muscle supposed to be tensing, or getting tired. You are always able to find a deeper level of relaxation, but it’s up to you to look for one. For the entire duration of the stretch, visualize the muscles relaxing and focus on the feeling of “melting”, becoming flowy like water.
The next episode of Epic Stretches will cover the hip flexors, one of the tightest and most commonly overactive muscles in the body! They’re also a common source of low back pain. See you next time!