stretch

How to perfect the world’s greatest stretch

This one move will have you feeling loose in less than five minutes.

By Andrew Gutman 

Stretching before you lift can help you avoid injuries that can leave you sidelined for weeks or even months. Unfortunately, many lifters come to this conclusion after it’s too late.

“Most guys neglect stretching until they get hurt,” says Brad Baldwin, C.S.C.S., “And then, all of a sudden it’s important to them.”

If “I don’t have time!” is your main excuse to skip a warmup, there’s good news: Spending 20-plus minutes getting your muscles and joints loose isn’t necessary. However, using a few minutes to run through the World’s Greatest Stretch, a pigeon stretch, and inchworms can help you “cover all of your bases,” explains Baldwin. “The World’s Greatest Stretch is excellent for increasing your thoracic mobility and extending out your spine before compound movements. Specifically, it will open up your hips and stretch your psoas, a major muscle that starts in your quad and inserts into your low back, which can cause back tightness, so targeting this will help combat tightness.”

DIRECTIONS:

Perform two sets of six reps per side before any multijoint lift.

Lunge forward until your front foot is flat and you’re on the toes of your back foot, and squat down until your back knee is almost touching the ground.

Lower the opposite arm of your extended leg to the floor and reach your other arm to the ceiling.

Hold for 20 seconds, then lower your arm to the same side as your front leg. Repeat on the other side.