Single Leg Lowering
By Zach Dechant, BS, CSCS, USAW, SCCS
A great way to stretch the hamstrings is with the single leg lowering exercise. It’s the beginner progression for our single leg lowering series proposed by Gray Cook, and an effective exercise for those tight in the hamstrings.
Remember to always stretch the front side of the hips (hip flexors) prior to stretching the backside. If your athletes are in anterior pelvic tilt, you don’t want to stretch the hamstrings until after the hip flexors have been allowed to relax. Stretching the hip flexors first will help return the pelvis to a neutral position and allow for a better stretch on the hamstrings. Otherwise, athletes are stretching an already stretched muscle.
We utilize a hurdle or a door jamb for this movement. A hurdle is great because athletes can keep it held tightly to the back of their thigh.
How to do it:
• Perform a dynamic warm-up of 5-10 body weight squats, lunges, forward and lateral leg swings, calf raises, skips, shuttles and backpedals to increase body temperature and range of motion.
• Lie on your back and raise both legs straight into air.
• Brace both legs against the leg of the hurdle or door jamb.
• Keep the back flat on the ground and the hip and back of the knee flat against the surface of the hurdle upright or door jamb.
• Keeping the toes of both feet pulled to the shin and both quads tight, slowly lower the free leg to the ground.
• Hold for 10-15 seconds and then lower the leg to the ground.
• Rest for 10- seconds and then return both legs to the upright position. This is one rep.
• Repeat 5-10 times on each leg
• Make sure to keep the back flat on the ground and toes up and don’t let either hip rotate outward.
• Keep both quads flexed the entire time, and try to drive the heel and back of the knee on the down leg into the ground at the bottom of the movement.
• Hold each rep for 15-30 seconds
Zach Dechant, BS, CSCS, USAW, SCCS is Senior Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning at TCU in Ft. Worth, Tx. For more information visit https://www.zachdechant.com/#