Starting Position: Sit on a mat/floor with your legs extended in front of you. Point your toes towards the ceiling without bending your knees. Sit up tall. Try to make your torso vertical to the floor and your head aligned with your spine. Place your hands on the top of your thighs.
Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Gently exhale as you slowly hinge forward at the hips, sliding your hands down your legs toward your ankles. Try to keep the back flat. Do not allow your back to round. If your hamstrings are tight, this could be a very small movement. Keep your head aligned with your spine, knees straight and toes pointed upwards toward the ceiling. This should create a stretch through your calves and hamstrings, with some stretching in your low and middle back.
Continue to bend and reach forward to the point of tension in the stretch, but do not bounce or push to a point of pain. Hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds. Release the stretch and return to starting position. Repeat 2-4 times. You may elect to grasp your ankles to hold this position.
Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions, holding the stretched position for 1 - 2 seconds.
To maximize the benefits of a stretch and reduce the potential for injury, it is important to stretch only to the point of tension, avoid bouncing, and control movement at other segments of the body. During this stretch, do not round the back.