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The Best Hamstring, It Band and Quad Stretches Ever

Flexibility, once again, has been a hot topic at Wild Geese. We are situated right beside the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC) so a huge amount of our guys work in finance or IT, either way they’re desk bound most of their day. Even our combat athletes have to earn a crust.

So we see a lot of flexibility issues that stem directly from the time spent seated at the desk, the time spent seated during the commute to and from the job and of course stiffness from the training. A big problem for many is the hamstring.

While seated your hammies are in a shortened position.  Over time they become accustomed to this position and need reminded of how long they ought to be. Add to that a common problem among our athletes before they begin strength training – quad dominance. ie the thighs are overriding the hamstrings and glutes.

The first thing we do when a new athlete comes in for training is to observe them carefully as they go through the warm up. We have a standardised warm up sequence which doubles as a rudimentary movement screen. If we identify quad dominance, they get put onto a program to strengthen the hamstrings. Since we primarily use Kettlebells in our training, this is  simple, swings, swings and more swings.

At the end of a workout we encourage the guys to stretch and regain the length in the muscles. Primary areas to work on are the hip flexors, quads, glutes and hamstrings. I’ve posted about most of these a few times before (here, for example). We also encourage most of our guys to do homework.

This is simply to get down on the floor at the end of the day and while they’re chilling out in front of the TV do some more stretching. There are two positions I usually get people to use at home, but between them they will open up and loosen the entire hip. Which in turn means, more efficient movement, less knee pain and less back pain.

The key with this night time stretching is to simply relax. Go to the point where it becomes uncomfortable and simply hold it until it becomes comfortable. Then go a bit further. It may take a few seconds to relax, it may take a few minutes. I’ve personally held a hamstring stretch for a full ad break before I felt it start to loosen up!

The first stretch is one I stole from our Yoga coach Anne Dempsey, it’s a basic hamstring stretch but then we take it into the inner thigh and finally possibly the best IT Band stretch in the world!

Have a look:

Then for the thighs and hip flexors we have the Short Crocodile, for this one I’ll hand over to Tom Furman:

Stay relaxed, never go into pain, take your time. [youtube]


Dave Hedges

Don’t forget: March 4th: I’m running the Level 1 & 2 kettlebell lifting workshops, places still available, details in the side bar –>

June 2-4th: Steve Cotter will be here running his CKT Levels 1 & 2, registration is open, click HERE for details 

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