As guys, our hips and groin are usually really tight areas for us (steady!).
I don’t actually know why this is and why our female counterparts tend to have a little more flexibility here.
Either way, I know it’s an area I need to work on, along with many other men.
There are various stretches we can be doing to correct this.
One of the more popular ones is a wide legged forward fold.
If you’re like me though, I’m nowhere near receiving the full benefit because, quite frankly, I can’t lower my torso low enough to get the full benefit.
Why does it matter?
Well, like other areas of weakness and tightness, as soon as your leg moves in the opposite direction of the direction that muscle pulls in, you’re opening yourself up to an injury.
For me, I want to be able to do some pretty awesome poses which require the straddle, so that’s my aim.
But for many of us, just making sure we aren’t at risk of a (gulp!) groin injury or tear should be the aim.
If you are a sportsman though (football, rugby, whatever it is) it’s crucial for making sure no sudden twists or turns will cause an issue here.
So thats when I turned to possibly the most intense stretch I’ve ever done...
When I worked on a cruise ship as a personal trainer, my colleague, a karate champion from Australia, told me that this is the one stretch you need to work towards the splits.
I didn’t keep up with it (wish I had, might be doing the splits by now!) but it is the most intense stretch I think I’ve ever felt.
That being said, it’s a solid hip and groin opener that you will just have to grit through.
Unlike other stretches, where there are a load of variations to work through, this one is quite easy to start with and make subtle changes for a different sensation.
There are single leg variations and these can mix things up but the way I see things, the way to do something is to just do it (or get as close to it as possible).
Frog pose is great for specifically targeting certain areas...
Man alive, does it hit the groin!
It does feel like something could tear (sorry, not selling this to you, am I?) which is why it’s ever so important to just go steady and not go full depth.
You’ll see multiple benefits from working through this pose...
Improvement in lower back health
Greater mobility and flexibility in the hips.
Awesome for counteracting the stresses of being in a car or at a desk
Improved performance in sport
Great opportunity to practise deep breathing and relaxation
Steps to get into frog pose
Start on all fours, knees under your hips, hands under your shoulders. Pick a point between your hands to look down at.
Take an inhale and on the exhale, start to slowly widen your knees. Don’t force this pose at all.
Continue to widen your legs and turn your feet out until they are online with your knees
If you can, start to lower your forearms to the floor. Doesn’t matter if your hands are flat or if they are clasped together, do what’s comfortable.
Take a deep breath in and as you breath out, slowly sit back towards your feet. This is where it gets intense so reach a point where you can feel the stretch but you aren’t uncomfortable.
Focus on you breathing. Big, deep breaths and just let gravity do it’s thing. No need to be active here.
The pose is most beneficial when practised with a yin mindset of holding the pose for a number of minutes (3-5 mins) and practising deep breathing to get into those tight areas.
You can always start by doing a minute and see how that feels.
How to make it easier or more challenging
You want to make it more challenging? Are you mad?!
Here are the areas and ways to make it harder or easier.
Easier - prop up on straight arms, chest up
Harder - lower forearms or even chest to the floor
Easier - bring them closer together
Harder - wider apart
Textbook, feet should be inline with your knees. However, changes can be made...
Easier - feet closer together
Harder - feet wider than your knees (working towards straight legs).
Make sure the hips remain neutral
Easier - lean more onto your hands / forearms
Harder - Sit back towards your heels
Give this a go and let me know how you get on. It’s an awesome pose!
In a bit.