It is so beloved because it targets every major muscle in the body — especially the ones we tend to overuse sitting at a desk or a computer all day — and it takes less than five minute to complete. Since it’s a dynamic stretch with static components, it can be used as part of your dynamic warm-up, to prep your body for your workout, or at the end of a session.
This combination of movement and static positions challenges the central nervous system, forging the connection between the body and the brain that is so crucial to an effective session. When the connection is made, muscles fire properly, so you make the most of every movement and are much less likely to get injured. Plus, this synchronization of movement increases your range of motion, so each exercise can be completed thoroughly.
Our members are busy. I get it. But you have time for this. Hold each position for 3 to 5 seconds, and move through the entire series at least 3 times each side.
Scroll down to see New York City-based trainer Katherine Roberts-Hill take you through The World’s Greatest Stretch.
Start in lunge position, right leg forward, foot flat on floor, knee bent 90 degrees, left leg extended behind you, left ball of foot on floor; hands on floor inside right leg, back flat (as shown).
Main targets: Hip flexors, butt, hamstrings, quadriceps, lateral calf.
Next, lift right hand off floor, bend right elbow 90 degrees and reach elbow toward instep of right foot (as shown). Reach as far as you can without rounding back.
Main targets: Deeper into hip flexors, butt, hamstrings, quadriceps, lateral calf.
Return right hand to floor, then rotate torso to left and extend left arm to ceiling, palm out (as shown). Keep spine long, and continue reaching through back leg.
Main targets: Deepens hamstring and gluteus stretch; adds shoulders, pecs, upper and lower back, internal and external rotators of hips and obliques. Enhances spinal mobility.
Return left palm to floor, then, rotate torso to right, pressing through left palm and lifting right hand to ceiling, palm out, eyes follow (as shown).
Main targets: Deepens hamstring and gluteus stretch; shoulders, pecs, upper and lower back, internal and external rotators of hips and obliques. Synchronizes thoracic spine mobility with lumbar spine stability.
Drop left knee and toe to floor, place hands on top of right thigh. Squeeze butt and slightly tuck pelvis, then press hands into thigh and push torso away, extending spine as tall as you can (as shown).
Main targets: Hip flexors, quadriceps, abdominals.
To add to stretch, extend arms over head, reaching fingers to ceiling (as shown).
Main targets: Deeper into abdominals, lats; adds biceps.
Finally, place hands on floor on either side of right leg, then shift hips back and straighten right leg, foot flexed, keeping back as flat as possible (as shown).
Main targets: Hamstring and calf.