Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: 90/90 stretches.
The combination of a solid running routine and a desk-bound job can wreak havoc on your hips and glutes. By constantly contracting the muscles during high impact work or for extended periods of time, they end up shortening and tightening.
Not only does that cause discomfort, but it can have implications in the rest of your workouts too: poor hip mobility means you can’t squat as low, kick as high or run as fast. The answer lies in hip opening and elongating stretches.
What is a 90/90 stretch?
A 90/90 stretch has lots of variations, but they all begin on the floor with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. It’s often thought of as the first step to a pigeon – your front ankle similarly comes to the opposite wrist but rather than kicking your other leg back, you also keep it bent at a right angle.
The stretch is great because:
- It stretches all of the muscles around the hip: These include the glutes as the hip flexors.
- It’s a great warm-up: Moving through the posture in a dynamic way, as is the preferred variation on SWTC, you don’t only stretch but also activate the muscles ahead of training.
- It can ease discomfort and pain: Tight hips and glutes can be hard to ignore, but the tension also leads to back pain and poor posture.
- It can be done easily at home, as well as in the gym: You don’t need any kit, and it can take just 30 seconds.
What MUSCLES DOes the 90/90 stretch work?
A 90/90 stretch will work into all the muscles that surround the hips, including:
- Psoas (connecting the hip joint and the upper thigh)
- Hip abductors (the outside of your glutes and hips)
- Hip adductors (inner thighs)
HOW TO DO A 90/90 stretch
- Sit on your yoga mat with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your right leg to the right-hand side so your thigh is parallel to the top of your mat and your calf is parallel to the side of the mat.
- Bend your left leg in from of you, so your thigh is parallel to the side of your mat and your calf is parallel to the top of the mat.
- Place your hands at your heart and squeeze your glutes to lift your bum off the floor.
- Lower back down and as your bum touches the floor, rotate your legs and your body to come into a 90/90 on the other side.
- Repeat the sequence by lifting off the floor, coming back down and rotating to the other side.
Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.
Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).