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Get un-stuck with ankle, hip and spine openers

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Proper recovery and flexibility are just as important — if not more — than the training you put in at the gym. We talked to Dr. Kate Rozborski, a certified chiropractor and yoga instructor, about three stretches to improve overall mobility, flexibility and movement. (She knows her stuff — Kate is full body certified in Active Release Technique as well as Neurokinetic Therapy.)

Perform these exercises any time, but they’ll be particularly effective pre-work out, especially on squat days, to mobilize your ankles, hips and thoracic spine. Perform 2 sets of 10 or 3 sets of 5.


What’s it for?
Training dorsiflexion at the ankle joint. This is for you if you have a hard time keeping your heels on the ground when you are squatting or lunging. This stretch will help loosen up the muscles that might be holding them up, which prevents your glutes from fully engaging.

Perform 10 reps with your leg straight ahead for 10 reps (knee pointing slightly out), tripod of foot pressing down. Next, do another set of 10 with the leg out to a 45 degree angle. Finally, perform another set of 10 with the leg at a 90 degree angle, in line with the hip.

Key points:

  • Toes and heel in line
  • Tripod of foot must stay in contact with the ground at all times
  • Knee tracks towards pinky side of toe
  • Shoulders and hips stay square
  • Should be performed with NO knee discomfort; if you feel it in the knee reevaluate set up


What’s if for?
Learn to loosen your hips and keep a neutral pelvis and spine, eliminating flex in the lumbar spine. This is great for athletes with a pronounced butt wink or especially tight hips.

Key points:

  • First, set up with toes in line with your knees. Brace the stomach, pulling ribs down. Rock back with neutral spine
  • For the next progression, widen the knees; can stay on hands or go down to elbows.
  • For even more, kick one leg out, toes out and pointed forward, and rock back. Remember to stay braced and neutral in the hips.


What’s it for?
This movement will help keep your back from rounding and your chest open at the bottom of your squat. Because we sit in a slumped posture the majority of the day, the thoracic spine loses its mobility, which forces the neck and low back to become more mobile — leading to injury.

Key points:

  • Lock lumbar spine down so it doesn’t move, which will force movement higher up in the thoracic spine
  • Gaze is at elbow
  • Try to reach elbow a little higher each time