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open your hips and strengthen your legs with a lunge series

by September 5, 2012

If you have tight hips and you’re looking to stretch and strengthen your legs, this exercise will be great for you. Since you work on one side at a time, this exercise can also improve your balance and encourage proper alignment.

Lunge Series

Start on your hands and knees. Come into a low lunge by bringing your right leg forward between your hands, with your knee bent and straight over your ankle (it’s like you are creating a right angle with the leg ¬). Bring your left knee back a little. Your hips should be squared to the front of where you are facing.

Stay here until you are balanced, and then if you choose, you can bring your torso up and rest your hands on your front leg for support, or bring your arms straight up, reaching toward the ceiling. Your shoulders should be back and down and your chest open. In addition, slide the ribs into the back body to keep the lower back nice and straight.

Tuck your left toes under and bring your knee off the ground to go into a high lunge pose. Keep your chest and arms extended and balance your weight between your front and back legs. Point the left heel to the sky coming onto the front ball of the foot while keeping a strong bend in the right knee. Focus on holding your balance.

Come back down into a low lunge with your left knee down and the top of your left foot against the floor. When you’re balanced on your right leg, put your right hand on your right quad and take your left arm and reach back for your left foot. Bend your left leg at the knee, bringing your left foot toward your body and take hold of the ankle or foot. If you can reach the ankle then flex the left foot to protect the knee. This will give your quads a deeper stretch. Hold this for about five breaths.

Release the ankle or foot and straighten out your left leg again putting your hands to the floor on each side of your right leg. Keep your right knee bent, lower your right leg, turning it at the hip to the right, slide it in front of your body and come down onto the outer shin. Your right knee should be working towards the right wrist and the ankle to the left. Slide your left leg back and lower your groin to the floor. Bring your torso down over your right thigh, use your forearms for support and hold this for about 10 breaths. This will really stretch your hip.

Bring your torso up with your arms and come onto your hands and knees (shoulders over the wrists and hips over the knees), then go into downward facing dog for a few breaths and then come back to your hands and knees. Switch sides, performing the same series with your left leg in front.

Benefits:

  • Stretches and opens hips
  • Strengthens quad muscles
  • Improves leg balance, stability and alignment
  • Improves back support

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