Saturday, November 13, 2021

Post Challenge Walk Stretches

Just walked 50 miles and your whole body feels like a cross between a sack of concrete, an over-tenderized steak, a blister, and steel cable? Grab a bolster (or a rolled up blanket or towel or two) and a yoga block (or a foot stool) and try these stretches once you're ready.

This sequence targets specifically the calves, the low back, the quads and the outer hips (plus the mid and upper back relaxation). You can of course add a hamstring stretches too using straps with straightened legs (careful on those knees) and forward folds, during one-legged heros pose, or before you fully relax in legs up the wall!

Remember, HYDRATE and BREATHE!

Low Lunge

Standing version to stretch shoulders, calves, Achilles’ tendon, sole of foot, hip flexor (psoas) of rear leg.

Slowly raise and lower back heel to intensify.

Kneeling version with padding for more support, deeper stretch on quad/psoas of rear leg.

Blocks under hands to support upper body and back.

Deepen stretch for hips and back by bringing both hands inside front leg and lowering without rounding back. Tuck under back toe for foot stretch.

Hero’s Pose

Sit with knees tucked under, blanket/pillow on calves, block between heels. Quad stretch, shin stretch.

Increase intensity by removing supports, moving heels apart, placing sit bones between heels.

Knees CAN flare slightly for comfort. Deepen outer front hip flexor intensity by keeping them forward

Option: One leg extended forward (cushion under that sit bone).

Recline with props for bigger stretch in quads and other front of hip flexors.

Options for cushion under entire body, or graduated levels as shown.


Stretch for piriformis, glutes, top of foot/shin. Face down, one knee tucked up under body with shin diagonal on mat, foot pointing toward side of mat. Other leg long behind, knee face down. Put bolster/blanket under bent leg to level out hips.

Add another support under the upper body. Option to bend back leg up at knee to add quad stretch (note: creates intense backbend).

Supine version “figure 4” gentler on the knees and low back.

Cross one ankle (with foot in flexed (toe up) position, and feed hands around back of other thigh, drawing both legs closer to body, creating a stretch for outer hip/glutes/piriformis.

Can place foot against the wall to vary pressure instead of hands drawing legs inward.

Option to drop legs to the side for a twist.

Figure 4 Prone to Belly Twist

Lie on belly, turn one knee out to side like tree pose to release hips and low back. Arms can support head, or extend side ways with head turned to release upper back.

Option to have torso on a bolster for extra support.

If on bolster, come to floor. Rotate chest and arms toward up, leaving the bent leg on top of the straight leg. Head can face up or continue turning.

Use props under bent knee if it doesn’t stay on the group, and/or blanket bolster against the back so body isn’t forced into a twist or if shoulder doesn’t completely reach the ground.

Legs up the Wall

Destress, decompress, reduce swelling in legs and feet, bring down heart rate, support back, and help you relax.

Three variations shown (with support under hips, with knees wide (great inner thigh stretch), and flat one ground. Ask for help finding a version that works for your body!

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