4 Great Standing Stretches (With Hurdle)

Stretching is such an important part of working out, dare I say, the most important part. The reason I say this is because stretching before and after your workout not only helps you stay limber but it keeps you from obtaining injury. We all know injury can throw you off your entire game.

So for this blogpost I am going to share four of my favorite stretches with you. What makes these four stretches different however, are that they are standing stretches that are done using a hurdle, table, chair or any stable ledge like object. I, for this post, am going to be showing you how to utilize a hurdle for these stretches.

 

1. Standing Single Leg Hamstring Stretch

The first standing stretch is one that is a great deep stretch for your hamstring. The standing single leg hamstring stretch is one of my favorites because it takes little effort and gives great results. Not only does it stretch your hamstring and IT band but it stretch the side body and back too.

This standing hamstring stretch is a great alternative to the seated single leg hamstring stretch pictured to the right (or below if you're on mobile). I find depending on your mobility it is easier to get into than it's seated counter part, additionally and I feel like you have a little more control over your stretch.

How to get into the stretch:

1. Start standing a little less than your leg distance away from the hurdle (or sturdy object your resting your heel upon)

2. Place your heel (I'd suggest wearing shoes if it is a hard surface) on the hurdle and make sure your leg that is on the floor is directly under your hip. You want your legs to create something close to a 90 degree angle because it help keeps your hips aligned and facing forward

3. Stand up tall and roll your shoulders back to prevent a scrunched up posture. Raise your hands over your head and then lean your upper body forward from your hips then reach your hands to touch your toes (or as far as they will go)

4. Using your arms to stretch is not necessary but it gives you a deeper stretch, especially if you do this as a side body stretch

 

Photo by nycshooter/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by nycshooter/iStock / Getty Images

2. Standing Figure 4 Stretch

Photo by pixdeluxe/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by pixdeluxe/iStock / Getty Images

The second stretch is one of my go-to's. I always have tight hips and IT bands and this is a great deep stretch for both of those areas on your leg. Similar to the last pose this Standing Figure 4 Stretch is a great alternative to what is known as the Pigeon Pose in Yoga, pictured to the left (or above if you're on mobile), and the standard seated figure 4 pose.

I particularly find that standing  gives me so much more control than its seated counterparts. In the seated positions sometimes I find it harder to maintain the figure 4 posture, the flexion in my foot and keep upright posture.

How to get into the stretch:

  1. Stand in front of the hurdle with enough space for you to lift your leg up onto the hurdle (or whatever you are stretching with.) You do not want to be too far or close from the hurdle because the stretch will be ineffective
  2.  Lift your leg up and rest your outer shin on the hurdle. Like the seated figure 4 pose your leg should create kind of a number 4 shape
  3. Stand up straight to keep good posture or keep the spine aligned if you lean forward
  4. Keep your hips and bent leg on the same level to get an effective stretch
  5. Flex your foot that is on the hurdle to protect your knee
  6. Keep a slight bend in your grounded knee, deepening the bend in the knee deepens the stretch, and keep your grounded knee from buckling inward
  7.  You can also move back and forth away from the hurdle to stretch different parts of your hip.

3. Standing Quad Stretch

The Standing Quad stretch is so important on the days after you have put your legs through the ringer. The quad is not the easiest muscle to stretch but this stretch can help with that.

This is one of the easiest standing stretches to do and provides more balance than if you only used your hands to assist the stretch rather than the hurdle. This is also an alternative to a plethora of seated quad stretches.

How to get into this stretch:

  1. Turn away from the hurdle (adjust height if need be) and place the top of your foot on the hurdle behind you. If you need help with balance reach back and put your hands on the hurdle behind you
  2. Make sure your hips and planted foot are facing forward
  3. The closer you are to the hurdle the deeper the stretch will be
Photo by Yulia-Images/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Yulia-Images/iStock / Getty Images

4. Standing Leg Swing

The last and final stretch a more dynamic stretch and my not be easy for everyone to do, but if you can you will enjoy it because it is truly like no other. The Standing leg swing is amazing because it warms up all the leg muscles with it's dynamic nature. It can be done two ways; facing forward with legs facing perpendicular or facing to the side with legs parallel to one another.

How to get into this stretch:

1. Stand facing the opposite side of the hurdle and place hand on hurdle for support. This can also be done against a wall

2. Try and keep the planted leg all the way to the foot facing forward

3. Keep the planted leg as close to being directly underneath your hip with out hindering the swinging leg

4. Swing the other leg perpendicular to the planted leg. Do not hold tension in your leg, this could lead to injury. Let that leg hang and swang :)

So there you have it, 4 great standing stretches that you can do at home, the gym or on a track with a hurdle. These are all great alternatives to their seated counterparts and are great for people who have trouble with the basics of the seated pose or have trouble getting down on the ground.

Thank your for reading and let me know if you have questions (or tips!)