"World's Greatest Stretch"

In my previous training post, I talked a bit about how important warming up is prior to your workout.

One of my favorite dynamic warmup exercises that combines mobilization for your whole body, making yourself just feel really good and prepped for your workout is "the world's greatest stretch."

This move rightfully earned its name for all of the things it tackles in a simple, rhythmic move and is a favorite amongst trainers- you might already even be doing or have seen this or a variation of it! As always, it's important to hit each position with proper form in order to fully benefit from the maneuver. 

My hip is still restricting me with most integrated full body movements, so in this video, Stephanie demonstrates:


She's moving at a faster pace in this video, as we were doing this as a part of her warmup so I wanted it to be a bit more dynamic. It's completely fine to hold each position a bit longer, but I wouldn't go for longer than 15 seconds at each position, otherwise it turns into a static stretch (not ideal for warmups).

Now let's break this down into steps: 

To begin, stand nice and tall. *Optional- reach your arms over your head to add in another lengthening movement.


1. Hinging at your hips, reach down as if you are reaching to touch your toes. Try to keep as neutral of a spine as possible (aka don't hunch over, especially with your lower back).

2. As you near the ground, bend the knees a bit to more easily (pending on your mobility) place both palms on the floor.


3. Walk your hands out in tiny steps into a pushup plank position.


4. Lunge one foot forward (left shown in photo), placing it right towards the outside of your hand- or as close as you can get to it. You should feel a bit of a stretch in both hips. Then keeping your lower body in the same position, pick up the same side's hand (left shown in photo), and reach that hand toward the ceiling, rotating through your t-spine (thoracic spine/upper-mid back)


5. Return outstretched hand to floor, then reach opposite hand up toward the ceiling, rotating through your tspine.


6. Return outstretched hand to floor, move lunged foot back so you return to neutral pushup plank position. Begin to tiptoe the feet towards your hands until feet are grounded, then return to standing. 


7. Rinse and repeat on the other leg/side.
Number of repetitions are variable- it's really until you feel properly warmed up and mobile. I personally like to do about 4-5 reps on each side at minimum. 

This can also easily be used as a cool-down maneuver with each step held a bit longer for more of a static stretch and deeper breathing- think of it as a yoga flow. Synchronizing your breath also helps you relax a bit deeper into each movement.

You can create an entire warmup routine, using this as a framework for the basic movements. Pushups are always a fun addition, and I will throw some step-throughs with hip bridges if I am doing movement prep for a hip-dominant exercise (squat, deadlift) that day. Of course, everything is variable pending on the person's mobility and fitness level. 

Questions/comments/discussion encouraged in the comments below!