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The Slingshot - A great solo hip flexor stretch using bands


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I've recently discovered this gem of a stretch. I've named it the Slingshot !

There is also a longer post in German on my website about it and also more pictures which might be helpful. The thing that excites me the most about this stretch is that solo hip flexor stretches hardly can get you the intensity of the Slingshot. The ST partner HF stretch still is the best one, but few solo stretches come close, if any. Standing variations can come close to the intensity but they also have some strength or balance component that doesn't allow for full relaxation (though these exercises of course have their place too!).

st_slingshot_upgright.png

To perform the stretch you'll need a power rack or some similar structure that allows to attach some strong bands. A pair of table legs might work too but I haven't tried it. Happy about feedback or suggestions. A weak band won't help much, the only language the hip flexors understand is intensity!


To perform this stretch the setup is as follows:

  • First figure out a proper height for the band(s). You dont want the band to extend your foot. In the stretch position the band should be at, or slightly below ankle height.
  • The intensity is determined by the band strength but also by the knee position. The more back you bring the knee behind the line of the band the more intense the final stretch will be.
  • All standard positions from the ST hip flexor stretches work: Hands on floor, arms resting on chair, etc..My personal favorite, if performed in a rack, is as shown in the image above as it brings the upper body in an upright position. A third option is to grab some rings hanging from above (see blog post)
  • To enter the stretch, first kneel on all fours and bring the back leg into position, only then swing the front foot around. Push back into the bands until your setup is complete.
  • Once your are correctly set up slowly let the bands push you forward into the stretch. Should it not be intense enough, go out and bring the knee further back. Also remember to use strong bands.
  • Standard contractions work. I like pressing the foot into the resistance, release, breathe, relax, ...

I have also found that this stretch works great dynamically. Move into and out of it for repetitions. At the deepest point in each repetition, press the back foot into the resistance for a count of three, breathe out, bring the hips a bit more forward, push them back and repeat.

Some advantages of this version:

  • External support: No partner needed to push the hips forward. It's not the same but the vector is quite efficient.
  • Relaxation: Easy to relax in this position, and it's safe.
  • Accomodating resistance: The band support will get weaker the deeper you get. As the intensity increases I find this works quite well.
  • Easy to adjust the intensity: Band strength combined with the back knee's position in relation to the bands gives plenty of options to set up the right intensity for your body.

Please give it a try and report back how you like it!

Markus

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