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Squeeze Those Hips Tight And Strengthen Your Glutes,
Figure Four Squat, I’m thrilled if I can sneak a little into whatever I’m doing. That’s why you can find me stretching my calves against my kitchen cabinets when doing dishes or doing the butterfly stretch when sitting on the floor.
This actual training move is a half-strength, half-glute stretch workout. “Four squats are great for balance, strength, and coordination, and they have a not-so-hidden stretch naturally built in,” says Rebecca Kennedy, Peloton master stride instructor. And the figure-four stretch happens to be the best stretch you can do, according to a stretching expert, so what better way to spend your time than loosening up those ever-tight hips while strengthening your glutes?
The Exercise is What You Imagine It To Be:
You’re getting into the classic stretch while standing, but you lean back into a squat. To nail it, start by standup with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your right knee to hip height, externally rotate and cross your right shin over your left thigh, says Kennedy ensuring the ankle isn’t over the thigh because that would sacrifice the hip and glutes. Before you start the squat, flex your right foot to protect your ankle and knee from injury. This also helps work your glutes and prevent strain on your knee and ankle joints. “The front should look like a figure four with your legs. Stand tall and gasp as you lower into a single-leg squat, then exhale to relax your glutes, where you should feel the stretch, says Kennedy. Next, exhale as you stand up. Her advice is to try to do three to five reps, taking about eight to 10 seconds per rep. Keep scrolling for what to save in mind for good form.
- To get the most out of the drive, Kennedy says it’s key to keep your chest up and the shin of your standing leg at the same angle. Instead of the breast over the thigh, this is a common mistake that takes away the stretch.
Find a Focal Point:
- It’s not informal to load into a single-leg squat. To help you balance him, Kennedy recommends finding a focal point “four to ten feet away on the floor.” He should also make sure not to drop his chest too much, twist his body, or lift any part of his standing foot as he lowers into a squat.
3. Keep Your Foot Flexed:
It’s critical to keep your foot elevated to protect your joints, says Kennedy. Also key? Exhale and relax your right glute as you squat so you really get the benefit of the stretch.
4. Modify if Needed:
Kennedy shares that you can modify your squat by limiting the depth of the squat or lightly holding on to something for balance. And whatever you do, don’t forget to breathe.
Figure Four Squats
Stretch your glutes and work on your balance with this mobility stretch.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms slightly out to your sides for balance.
- Balance one foot and lift the other by resting the outside of that foot just above the opposite knee. Open your hips, so your legs form a figure 4. Keep your back straight, and your shoulders back as you squat down.
- After holding stretch for a second or two, stand up and return your foot to ground in preparation to switch to the opposite side. Do four to five repetitions on each side.
The exercise is what you’d imagine—you’re getting into the classic stretch while standing, but leaning back into a squat. To nail it, start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your right knee to hip height, externally rotate, and cross your right shin over your left thigh, says Kennedy, noting to make sure your ankle isn’t on your thigh because that would sacrifice your hip and glutes.