Sure, moving forward is usually a good thing but for athletes, too much of a good thing can be tough on your body. Whether your game is walking, running, or cycling, chances are you’re over-using that plane of motion (think front-to-back) and under-using other ranges (think side-to-side). While lateral movement won’t exactly win you any races, focusing on strengthening your sideways skills will help keep your body in balance — and as a result, help to decrease your risk of injuries. Try it: Wide leg forward fold

Set this up pre- or post-workout to help remind your body that it can do more than just dash straight ahead. This pose stretches the often-neglected adductors (inner thighs/hamstrings), and gets the hips and hamstrings mobilizing outside their usual their usual range.

  • Step your feet wide apart, keeping them parallel and bending your knees slightly
  • Inhaling, reach your arms overhead
  • Exhaling, swan dive forward, lowering your hands to the ground — bend your knees as much as you need to in order to reach!
  • While you stay down in your wide fold, rock your weight forward and back across the soles of your feet, noticing how that changes the way the stretch in your hamstrings feels — then center yourself and stop rocking
  • Inhaling, lift your spine halfway up, so that your torso is parallel to the ground (think about really lengthening your spine, as if you are extending your shoulders away from your hips)
  • Exhaling, return to your forward fold
  • Repeat 3 – 5 times, then hold in your fold for a few more breaths before rising back to stand and getting on with your workout (or recovery!)

Stay tuned next week for another lateral move to help keep your body in balance…

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