Step 1

Starting Position: Assume a seated position with your legs apart as illustrated. The angle of your legs should not compromise your ability to sit upright (i.e., trunk vertical) with your head aligned with your spine, extend your knees and point your toes towards the ceiling. Extend your arms out in front of your body and place your palms flat on the floor / mat.

Step 2

Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, then rotate your torso to one side, placing your hands upon the top of that thigh.  Gently exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, reaching forward with your hands, sliding them towards your ankles.  Attempt to maintain a flat back position and avoid rounding your back towards the ceiling (make sure that you move from the hips and not your low back).  Keep your head aligned with your spine, knees extended and toes pointed upwards towards the ceiling. This should create a stretch through your inner thigh, hamstrings and side of your trunk with some stretching in your low, middle and upper back. 

Step 3

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 then relax by returning to your starting position and repeat 2-4 times.  Repeat with the opposite leg.

Step 4

Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions with each leg, holding the stretched position for 1 - 2 seconds.

To maximize the benefits of a stretch and reduce the potential for injury, it is often important to stretch only to the point of tension, avoid bouncing and control movement at other segments of the body.  During this stretch, avoid any excessive rounding of your low back.

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