Deep squat to forward fold

Move of the week: wake up your hips and back with this dynamic stretch

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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: deep squat to forward fold. 

If you, like us, have so far spent most of your long weekend sitting (in the pub, the park or on your bike) then it’s time to shake off those tight hips and backs. 

It’s especially important to undo the compression of sitting before jumping into a workout, but even if your plans are to remain horizontal then wakening up the muscles will still help alleviate stiffness and pain. 

This dynamic, posterior chain stretching move is the best way to do just that. 

What is a deep squat to forward fold?

The dynamic stretch moves between two brilliant postures: the deep squat opens the hips and the forward fold stretches the back. 

This exercise is great because:

It eases back pain: by decompressing the spine as you fold your body over your legs. 

It improves mobility: by working to your full range of motion in the hips and the hamstrings. 

It’s a great warm-up: as the move is dynamic, it’s great to do before strength training or running.  

What muscles are worked in a deep squat to forward fold?

This stretch mainly targets the lower body, including:

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings 
  • Glutes 
  • Hips 
  • Lower back 
  • Upper back 
  • Rear delts 

    How to do deep squats to forward folds

    1. Begin standing, with your feet hip width apart.
    2. Push your glutes back and bend your knees to come into a deep squat. Get your glutes as close to the ground as possible, keep your arms inside your knees and stay long through the spine rather than leaning forwards. 
    3. Push through the heels to straighten the legs. As you do so, let the upper body fall forwards over your thighs to feel the stretch in your hamstrings. 
    4. Bend the knees again as your upper body lifts to come back into the deep squat. Repeat. 

    For more exercise tips, sign up to the Strong Women Training Club

    Images: Stylist

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    Chloe Gray

    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).

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