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A new hip flexor stretch that hugely reduces hamstring involvement:

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I attach a photo taken at the recent inaugural Monkey Gym workshop in Chattanooga; in it, Ryan (a participant and keen CrossFitter) is shown using a piece of Pilates equipment (the Cadillac) to stretch all the hip flexors.

Getting the back leg to the Cadillac table surface is easy: by leaning forwards, and by hanging the lower leg off the table top, you can get the hips square and in the full front splits position.

The string hip flexor stretch is then brought on by taking the trunk away from the front leg, using the Cadillac uprights to assist. The partner holds the hips square, and provides the pivot around which to move, as well as weighting the hip joint itself.

Three contractions are done: the standard 'drag the back leg through the table top'; the fold up the back leg until there's a stretch, then 'try to straighten the leg', and the novel 'press the trunk forward and down' (uses psoas very strongly).

Then the back lower leg is replaced on the table top, and then you try to lift the shoulders and trunk as far away from the Cadillac table top as you can; Ryan has done a brilliant job here. I should add he's 6' + and 100Kg. Very nice suppleness in such a big man.

Try this; you'll like it.


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Great stretch! Looks like the 'Advances in HF stretching' section of the NW will be about 8hrs long (with all the new variants). I've been playing with some variations on the Floor Piriformis and solo fascial-emphasis HF stretches, to great affect. I'm going to continue to play with them overseas in November, and we can test them before the NW.


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We did this exact same exercise with a few of the women attendees of the second part of the ST workshop here in Chattanooga; all liked it. This one definitely affects psoas more that our standard HF stretch, just because the hamstrings are not stretched anywhere near as much—and this aspect allows the pelvis to tilt anteriorly more than the standard HF stretch does (I refer here to the hands-on-floor version, taking the whole of the front of the back leg to the floor to start). In that version, hamstring tension stops the anterior tilt of the pelvis—but accordingly, confines the stretch to rectus femoris for the majority of people.

This version on the Cadillac is a very useful complement to the new floor HF stretch, IMHO, and should be done after it.

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