How to Do the World's Greatest Stretch
If a good stretch or warming up aren’t part of your workout routine, your missing out on some serious benefits for your mobility. Dr. Aaron Horschig, DPT, of Squat University, shares the one stretch that he believes you should be doing to maximize both your upper and lower body mobility.
“This is not your simple static stretch like taking your hamstrings and pulling it to sky,” he says. “This is a very dynamic stretch and that’s going to be very helpful for warming up your body, but not allowing any decreases in performance after.”
Widely known as “The World’s Greatest Stretch,” this maneuver is a go-to for athletes everywhere.
The stretch has 4 parts to it. To start, Horschig explains how your body should be set up.
“You should be in a lunge position. Your forward foot is going to be grabbing the ground, big toe jammed down,” he says. “Take your opposite side and and put it down on the ground in the exact same position as your foot.”
The next step is to get into a full lunge.
“Take that back leg and pick it straight up,” says Horschig, which will produce hip extension.
From there, extend your hip up and squeeze your glute, leading into a contract/relax motion.
“We’re going to squeeze our glutes as hard as I can, and then relax,” says Horschig. “From here I am priming and opening up the hip and the ability for those lateral hip muscles to turn on to align the lower body, prime stability, and position-specific mobility.”
The next part of the movement is bringing the upper body down to get more thoracic spine mobility. Why is thoracic spine mobility important?
“Every time you push a barbell over your head, you’re going to have to bring your arms back to get into a good back squat position. you’re going to need your thoracic spine to move just a little bit into extension, ” says Horschig. “Inherently, our thoracic spine is very stiff. It has to be because it connect s to all our ribs which encapsulate and cover our vital organs in our thorax.”
You may be stiff with this, but Horschig instructs you how to push through.
“Take your arm and drop it as far down as you can,” he says. “Try to take your pec and point it that way,” as he reaches to stretch the upper back. Then, rotate and switch to the opposite side.
Some of the most common mistakes Horschig notices include:
Not rotating with your upper body. If you’re extremely stiff, just work on taking your elbow to the ground. “Try to take that elbow to the ground and prime a little more stability as far as you can go,” he says.
You forget about the lower body. “Lock in that lower body position squeeze those glutes. Good knee over toe translation and we have also a very stable foot,” says Horschig. “That should to falter at all as your knee position stays the same.”
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