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4 Best Mobility Movements for the Legs

Now that you’ve improved your hip and ankle mobility with our last two posts (or get caught up here and here), it makes sense to work on the area between those two – the connective tissue and muscles around your knees.  Restrictions at the knees may limit proper force production and power transfer from the hip and thigh muscles through the ankles to the ground.

Related: How Can ROM Make You Fitter?

Here’s a simple leg-focused routine you can do everyday.  Total time is 8-10:00/session.  As before, hold each one for a minimum of 2:00, unless otherwise noted (yikes! that’s a long time, but it’s necessary for permanent improvement):

1.  Knee circles: Place your feet together and sit your hips back and down, causing your knees to bend. Put your hands above your knees, and slowly move both knees in small circles, at least 10 each direction.

kneecircles

Related: Why Motor Control Makes You Stronger

2.  Vajrasana (hero pose): we’ve done this yoga pose to stretch the tibialis anterior, the muscle that pulls your toes toward your shin.  Now, begin to lay your upper body back to stretch the hip flexors and thighs.  Ensure your knees stay on the floor.  They can come apart, but must stay down.  Again, pay attention for any pain or a hot sensation in your knees.  If you have it, back off or come out.  Otherwise, hold for 2:00.

healsit

3.  Seated Forward Fold, Pike & Split:

     a) Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.  Push your hands into the floor until your butt comes off the floor.  Tilt your pelvis as far forward as it will go (you’ll feel the stretch along the back of your legs, and possibly in your low back).  Put yourself down.  Take a breath in, and tip your pelvis forward even more as you exhale.  When your pelvis won’t go any further, relax your back and allow it to arch downwards.  Think of this as two stretches – one for the back of the thighs and one for the low back.  Relax your arms down and let them rest wherever they fall.  Do NOT reach for the toes if your hands aren’t already there.  Hold for 2:00.

forwardpike

     b) Split: Sit up from the pike version, and pull your legs out as wide as they can comfortably go.  Pick yourself up and tilt your pelvis forward again.  Exhale and fold forward as low as you can between your legs comfortably.  Hold for 2:00.

forwardsplit

Variation: sit up as tall as you can, turn from the base of your spine over one leg, exhale and lower your upper body to that side.  Hold at least 1:00, then repeat on the other leg for the same amount of time.  Notice any differences from one side or the other, as this can give you important information about what’s going on with your body.

forwardright

4)  If you have time and inclination, just like the ankles and lower legs, the  thighs are easy to massage by yourself.  Just sit comfortably with your knee bent and use your hands to massage across or up the leg.  Always ensure you go across or up the leg, never downwards towards the foot, as that’s bad for your circulation.

Perform all or part of this routine as often as you can, and improvement will come quickly!

Shoot me an email if you have any questions, I’m happy to help!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@CrossFitSlipstream.com