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Stretch of the Week: Standing Forward Bend

Hamstring Stretch

We all know there’s more to training than just showing up for the daily WOD. CrossFit is a demanding sport that requires the perfect synergy between sleep, diet, rest and training.

Part of fine tuning our training quite often means working on our mobility and flexibility outside of the box.

As the 2013 Games season gets underway we thought it was the perfect time to give you at least one stretch a week that is effective and easily implemented into your CrossFit routine.

That said, today’s stretch of the week is a standing forward bend. Don’t be put off by the photo above this is a stretch your body might already be familiar with when reaching down to touch those toes.

What is it?

This simple stretch is an intense forward bend that lengthens the back legs and is known to yogis as Uttanasana. This elementary stretch promotes flexibility and provides some unique benefits for the human body.


What are the benefits?

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this stretch because it can have a powerful effect on the body and here are just a few of its benefits.

-Elongates hamstrings, stretches lower back and lengthens the calf muscles.

-Tones the thighs and strengthens the knees.

-Boosts energy by fighting off fatigue.

-Alleviates headaches and sleeplessness.

-Stimulates digestion.

How is it done?

1. Place feet parallel and stand hip-width apart. First off, stand tall and begin to breathe deeply.

Forward Fold

Standing Forward Fold Modification

2. Place your hands on hips and as you release a full breath, fold forward from the hips reaching for the floor beneath your feet. You may bend your knees to relieve the lower back if you’re feeling some unwanted tension.

3. Wrap your index and middle finger around the big toes and as you take a breath lift your chest to lengthen the spine.

4. On the exhale fold in towards your legs as much as your body will allow, without straining. Let the elbows fall to the outside of your body.

5. If you can, let go of your toes and place your hands to the outside of you feet with flat palms, be sure not to round the back. Let the head hang heavy and position your weight more towards the forefoot. If this is a breeze for you move your hands to the backs of your calves. If you’re not quite at either of these phases yet, leave your fingers clenched around the toes.

6. Hold the position for about minute or so. The longer you hang out in this stretch the better. Aim to relax and you will literally see the lengthening process unfold in front of your very eyes, as your belly draws nearer to the knees.

Things to note

There is no shame in bending the knees in this position because the aim is to lengthen the spine without a rounded back.

Still confused?

Then we have two demo videos for you below.

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