Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Happiness hinges at the hips....why?"The knee bones connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bones connected to the hip bone, the hip bones connected to the back bone". If the hips are happy the whole house is happy!
How to do:
From campfire, let your hips/knees down
Cross your knees over your ankles
Keep the focus up, and breath going
Sit up in Squash and hinge forward from hips with a straight back
Sit in tension with shallow breath
Tighten the hip flexors, inner legs
Let knees pop up and back hunch
Leave the stretch before a release
When we consistently take the chance to stretch and circulate muscles, we intentionally prepare them to serve us well. This inner leg stretch, foot activator, is one of the most applicable poses for riders. Our inner legs is what we use most, and stretch the least. When we make sure to stretch from and through our previous positions, it sets us up well to have a well-framed stretch for our legs. It is really common to try to tense and protect yourself where you don't feel flexible; try to avoid this. Breathing into the tension a few seconds at a time, with frequent breaks and reattempts, will help you achieve a functional position to actually hold the stretch in. If you have time, it is also beneficial to firmly rub the bottoms of your feet. There are a lot of muscles that coordinate up the leg and pelvis, so by giving them physical feedback it will help the muscles to release easier. Pay attention to where exactly feels tight and then find a way to incrementally increase the flexibility and circulation there.
Ride and Apply:
This posture correlates in a couple ways for riding. The first is flexibility in getting our hips to open up. We do so many repetitive leg activations, micro movements and adjustments in the saddle. Over time we can really get locked into a certain muscle memory, which is so hard to stretch out of. The second is stability and circulation. Our back, neck, and shoulders can sometimes 'forget' they don't need to be so busy. Letting our upper body be still and find a resting alignment, while still being stable is important. This position also allows us to be hyper-aware of our breathing. The distraction of standing up is gone, and we have a really physical sense of where our breath is going and how it's filling and releasing the tension.
This is one stretch that; if you could, I would encourage you to do daily. It encompasses all of the baseline postures we've done so far, and causes you to concentrate on all the principles of them, in a somewhat uncomfortable stretch. This also gives us feed back of whether or not our femur is tight in the hip joint socket. A lot of stiffness can be acquired when we ride a lot, so taking a tally on how flexible and open our hips are, will help us avoid back pain and uneven riding habits. Try to find some time daily to 'talk to your body' in this stretch!