Have you ever seen a toddler squatting? It’s easy. They sit there for hours, getting completely comfortable and playing with their toys. However, as we age, we find ourselves losing this innate mobility and making strange noises when rising from low seats.
That’s why I was so excited when I got an email from the fitness app team Flexibility Dropped into my inbox. It promised me a stretching routine specifically designed to help me squat deeper without pain (as well as relieve painful thigh strain).
This will appeal to everyone. So I got up from my chair (with a well-deserved groan), unfolded my yoga mat and set it there.
How to do Pilability’s 4-movement stretching routine
There are only four movements, but many of them are inspired by popular yoga stretches. Each operation takes 1-3 minutes, so in total it only took 10 minutes. But after that I felt better.
1. Upward Facing Dog and Child Pose
- Get on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees slightly outside of your hips.
- Extend your hands in front of you, arms straight out in front of you, and sit your hips back and sink into your feet. This is a child’s pose. Hold this position, take a deep breath, and return to the starting position.
- Then, keeping your arms straight, lower your hips forward until they touch the floor. Lift your chest forward. Upward facing dog pose.
- Hold this position for one deep breath, then return to the starting position. Continue moving between the two poses for 2 minutes.
This was my favorite move of the entire routine, flowing from popular yoga pose to popular yoga pose for a comprehensive stretch.
Sitting in Child’s Pose eased my lower back. Also, my spine has grown. After carrying heavy weights on my shoulders with a barbell back squat a few hours ago, I felt incredibly good.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this squat-focused routine also worked for my upper body muscles. I felt a nice stretch in my shoulders and hips in both poses, but the upward dog pose also opened my chest.
2. Lizard Pose to Pigeon Pose
- On all fours, step your right foot forward into a lunge and slide your left knee as far back as possible. Place your hands inside your right leg and keep your arms straight. It’s a lizard pose. Hold this position for a few deep breaths.
- Then, bend your right knee to the right so that your right calf rests on the yoga mat (see diagram). This is the pigeon pose. Hold this position for a few deep breaths and return to Lizard Pose.
- Continue between these two poses for 90 seconds, then switch legs and complete another 90 seconds on the left side.
I’ve struggled with pigeon pose before (in no small part due to the aforementioned stiff left knee), but luckily Pliability suggested a fix to help me out. .
I followed this routine on the flexibility app. If I felt any discomfort, I was advised to loosen the angle below my knees in pigeon pose. In this way, I was able to move without pain.
Like Child Pose before, I felt my hips open in the Lizard Pose stretch. However, the forward lean made this move feel noticeably more active and gave us a deeper stretch than before.
In pigeon pose, I could still feel it in my hips, but it was my hips (or back) that stretched the most. This is the largest muscle in the body and an important part of the squat, so it makes sense for this routine.
3. Knee flexion and rotation
- Start in a semi-kneeling position with your left knee and right foot on the floor. Make sure your knees are at right angles. Grab your right knee and use your hand to gently rotate it outward, then lean forward so that your knee is over the little toe of your right foot.
- Return to the starting position and grab your right knee again. Now slowly rotate inwards and tilt your big toe forward before returning to the starting position.
- Continue these sequences for 1 minute. Switch legs and repeat with your left knee.
This was interesting. I’m used to holding postures, flowing between poses, and breathing to deepen the stretch, but in these knee flexions, I’m actually using my hands to guide my body into the desired movement. Masu.
I wasn’t sure how much my hands impacted the overall experience, but the repeated toe tilts definitely helped me feel more confident in my knees.
I could feel my hamstrings stretching with each bend and my ankles (which weren’t very mobile) reluctantly acclimatizing to the move.
I was happy to work in this area because better ankle mobility allows me to get into the correct deep squat position with an upright torso.
4. Lie on your side and round your hips
- Lie on your left side so that your legs are in line with your torso. Keeping your right leg straight, lift it up and make a semicircle above your left leg.
- With your right foot forward, tap your toes on the floor. When you’re behind, tap your heels on the floor. Keep your hips stacked throughout this movement.
- Continue this movement for 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat with your left leg.
Instead of intensely stretching the major lower body muscles like the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, I felt the smaller stabilizing muscles of the legs come into play.
These areas are overlooked in some resistance-focused workout plans, but strengthening these areas can improve stability, reduce injury risk, and improve performance in and out of the gym. This leads to better performance.
Why not give this stretching routine a try?
In my opinion, yes you should try this stretching routine. It’s practical. It requires no equipment and takes just 10 minutes, so you can do it quickly during your lunch break.
After doing some functional strength training earlier in the day, my long-suffering leg muscles felt better and my cramped left knee felt a little stronger than usual. In addition, good mobility should not be neglected either.
Losing weight, gaining muscle, and building strength tend to be more popular goals, but without the ability to move well (and avoid injury), especially as we age I can not do it.
The third and final point is that I felt better afterwards. After an intense CrossFit training session, his joints felt loose and his muscles lightly soothed, allowing him to spend 10 minutes a day slowly relaxing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve tried Pliability’s mobility routine, nor will it be the last. However, if you’re looking for another way to relax your muscles, consider buying one of the foam rollers that are perfect for a quick self-massage.