- Stand with the feet double shoulder width wide, with the feet parallel to each other. Bend forward from the hips, keep the legs straight, and let your body hang. Let your head and neck relax. This will stretch your back and hamstring muscles. Alternatively, you can place your hands on the ground: this puts less weight and strain on your legs and back. Important: Keep your knees straight, and your hips level.
- Grab both ankles, and gently pull yourself down. Keep your knees straight, and your back as straight as you can. Relax your neck muscles, do not try to hold your head up.
- Now, reach over and hold your left ankle, as shown in the picture on the left. Be careful not to elevate your hip. Keep your knees straight, and your feet parallel. Make sure to keep the hips level. Hold the position, and feel the stretch in your leg and back. At first you may feel the stretch in your leg, and as it loosens up, you may feel the stretch in your back. Then, as the back loosens, you will feel your leg again in a new way. You are stretching deeper and deeper into your leg muscles.
- Release slowly, and move over and hold onto your right ankle. Repeat the stretch for the right side.
- This position stretches the knees, hips, groin, Achilles' tendons, and in some cases, the back. This is a good position to do after doing the standing leg stretch above.
- Start by standing with your feet single shoulder width apart, and the feet turned out forty five degrees. If you were in the stretch above, walk your feet closer together until they are single shoulder width apart. Next, lower your hips into the position below.
- The back is straight, the chin pulled back. If you cannot get your heels to the ground, you may keep them up until the Achilles' tendon and calf muscles stretch and relax. If balance is a problem, you can also hold onto a chair or wall until the heels touch the floor.
It is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult your physician if in doubt about your physical condition before embarking on a stretching program. The author of howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained while practicing any of the stretches described within.