I’ve seen too many strong athletes held back by mobility issues, and I’ve found the number one reason stretching isn’t a more integral part of a lot of parkour athlete’s routine is because a fully comprehensive routine is too complex. While a complete, exhaustive routine is ideal, if it doesn’t get done, it’s useless.
This routine is simple and effective. It’s helped me maintain hip flexibility and keep my lower back healthy and happy.
#1 – The Lunge
We start with a basic lunge. This stretch is targeting the hip flexors, the muscles in the front of your hips that act on your leg to raise your knee.
Step 1: Take a big step forward, keeping your knee directly over your ankle (this keeps your shin perpendicular to the ground), and place your back knee on the ground.
Step 2: Push your hips down and forward, imagine trying to put the whole front of your thigh flat on the ground. Take care to keep your hips square to the front, and maintain an upright posture with your torso.
#2- The Modified Lunge
Next, a modified lunge. This move will stretch various aspects of your hips, including hamstrings, glutes, and groin muscles depending on tightness.
Step 1: From the lunge position, bring both of your hands to the floor on the inside of your lead leg. Again, try to maintain square hips and a flat lower back. Imagine placing your whole chest (not just your head) flat on the ground.
Step 2: If flexibility allows, drop to your elbows or reach out in front of you as far as possible.
#3- The Pigeon
This brings us to the pigeon stretch. Borrowed from the pigeon pose in yoga, this stretch targets the muscles on the outside (lateral) part of your glutes.
Step 1: From your modified lunge, drop the side of your leg to the ground. Keep your ankle flexed and your hips square. You can relax your back leg, and let that knee rest on the ground.
Step 2: Settle forward over your leg, taking care to maintain a flat lower back by tipping your hips forward and not hunching at the shoulders.
#4- The Sprinter
Finally, the sprinter stretch. This stretch targets your hamstring muscles in the back of your upper leg (and also might stretch your ankles if you’re really tight).
Step 1: Return to your lunge position, then straighten your front and back legs and stand.
Step 2: Turn your hips to the front and tip forward at the hips keeping your low back straight and shoulders pulled back, maintaining straightness in the front leg. Now, take a step back and repeat on the other leg.
That’s it! Spend 60 seconds or more in each stretch for optimal flexibility after a training session, or spend 30-60 seconds in each stretch at the end of your warm-up for a great way to mobilize the hips before training.
Do these every day for a week and you’ll feel a massive difference. If you can only do it once a week, your body will greatly appreciate it.