Buttocks

To do this test stretch, follow these steps:

1. Sit up tall in a chair with your back straight, your abdominals lifted, and your shoulders down.

2. Place your left ankle on your right quad just above your knee and gently press your knee toward the floor with your left hand as you bend forward at the hip and tilt your pelvis back.

Check out Figure 3-11 if you need help visualizing this stretch. Remember to keep your opposite hip on the seat of your chair and your back straight. Look out at the floor in front of you, not at your feet.

3. Make a note at what place on the clock face your knee stops moving.

1:00 is tight.

2:00 is a healthy range of motion. 3:00 is very flexible.

4. Repeat this stretch with your right leg. 11:00 is tight.

10:00 is a healthy range of motion. 9:00 is very flexible.

Calves

Having tight calf muscles can affect not only your range of motion in your ankle but also your walking and running strides. If your calf muscles are tight and you can't get full range of motion in your ankles with this test stretch, then this lack of motion may have a negative effect on your form, in your hip, during walking and running. This imbalance may eventually lead to chronic pain or injury to your knees, hips, or even lower back.

Pay close attention to this area if you wear high heels all day. Stretching this area can help you keep your ankles, feet, and hips in balance.

To do this test stretch, follow these steps:

1. Sit on the floor with your right leg straight out in front of you and your left leg bent so the bottom of your left foot rests against the inside thigh of your right leg.

2. Wrap a towel or stretching strap around the ball of your right foot and gently pull your foot toward you so your toes move toward your knee.

Look at Figure 3-12 if you need help. For more information about what type of strap to use, check out Chapter 2 and read the discussion on props. Also make sure to keep your back straight; don't lean forward at your hip. Try to move only your ankle and foot.

3. Make a note on your Flexibility Self-Evaluation Worksheet at what place on the clock your toes point.

1:00 is tight.

12:00 is a healthy range of motion. 11:00 is very flexible.

4. Repeat this stretch with your left foot.

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