Exercises You Should Be Doing: Heel-to-Butt Stretch w/ Overhead Kettlebell Reach
First off all, for those who care, I finished the move over the weekend and am finally settled into the new place. All in all it went fairly smoothly. That is, of course, if you consider one flat tire and one sprained ankle as going “smoothly.”
Flat tires happen, what are you gonna do? We took the first load of stuff over to the new place, when my girlfriend heard a hissing noise coming out of my driver’s side rear tire. At some point, I ran over a screw and my tire was slowly deflating. Great. Needless to say that put a damper on things, and we ended up putting the donut on, and I took my car in the following day to get the tire patched up.
Fast forward to Sunday. We’re getting ready walk out the door with the LAST box (filled with my dishes), and my girlfriend says, “be careful, don’t fall down the stairs.” I’m like, “Please, I’ve been carrying heavy boxes down three flights of stairs all weekend. I could do this blindfolded.”
Wouldn’t you know it, on the very last step, my ankle flips me the middle finger and rolls over, and I go crashing to the floor – box of dishes in hand. Simultaneously, Lisa gives out a loud yelp that, I swear, sounded like a poodle getting drop kicked in the face, fully expecting me to drop the box. Like a ninja, though, I somehow keep it from falling to the floor, and I just gently set it down, holding back the urge to throw up in my mouth a little. Dishes were safe. My ankle, on the other hand, not so much.
After a few seconds I get back up, ankle throbbing, and carry the box out to the car. It was pretty much like a scene from Braveheart, only with less inspirational speeches about freedom and evil English Lords declaring Prima Noctes on anything with two legs.
That said, I’m without internet for the next week, so I’m pretty much stuck doing all my blogging, answering emails, and other miscellaneous stuff at CP. As such, blogs will be short and sweet this week. Deal with it.
To that end, here’s a nice little tweak on your typical hip flexor stretch that I’m starting to incorporate more with clients.
What Is It: Heel-to-Butt Stretch w/ Overhead Kettlebell Reach
Who Did I Steal It From: Dan John
What Does It Do: Besides being a nice stretch for the hip flexors (namely the rectus femoris and psoas in this case), adding the overhead reach adds an additional stretch for the pecs as well as a nice scapular stability element that you otherwise wouldn’t get.
As such, this is a fantastic bang-for-your-buck stretch for those with tight hip flexors and poor shoulder flexion (ahem, computer guys), not to mention for overhead athletes as well.
Key Coaching Cues: It should be pretty self explanatory, so all I’ll add is that you should squeeze the glute of the trailing leg to get a little more of a stretch in the quad. In addition, you’ll want to “pack” your scapulae back while performing this stretch, being careful not to shrug the weight. Yes, you can substitute a dumbbell in place of a kettlebell – albeit it’s a bit more awkward.
I like to use this stretch as part of a filler exercise in between sets of deadlifts, or as part of a stretching circuit done at one’s discretion. As well, you’ll probably increase your max bench press by 477%. Give or take a couple percentage points.