The Big 3

by Frank Baptiste on August 6, 2011

If you only do one movement a day, this is it!

Practice it daily and move well–forever. The Big 3 combines my three favorite dynamic mobility drills that I’ve used with kids as young as 7, adults as old as 87, and professional athletes alike.

Learn how to perform each of the 3 drills then try and feel the benefits now!

The Inchworm

At first glance this appears to simply be touching your toes, walking your hands to the pushup position, and returning to a standing position, but there’s much more to it. This dynamic flexibility drill is designed to lengthen the entire posterior chain. A kinetic chain is made up of each component of anatomy responsible for the movement. You can think of it like a strand of Christmas lights–if one bulb is out the circuit is broken and the entire strand won’t work. Similarly, each link in the kinetic chain must function properly to maintain an optimal length/tension relationship and to move well. This total body movement actively stretches all the muscles along the backside of the body including calves, hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors of the low back. It also reinforces the hip-hinge and proper lumbo-pelvic rhythm, (the way your hips, pelvis and low back are designed to move with the most mechanical efficiency.) As a sedentary society these muscles are often neglected, making for short, tight, in-active muscles that cause dysfunctional movement and undo stress on other areas of the body, most often lumbar spine, and knees. This movement is excellent to regain lost mobility, prevent injury, and improve athleticism. The end position is a high plank, offering a core stability benefit as well. Walking out on your hands requires a degree of upper body strength and shoulder stability. Because it is a total body, structural exercise that requires the cardiovascular system to pump oxygen rich blood to working muscles, there is also an aerobic benefit as well.

Execution:

-Start standing, proud posture, glutes tight and hips tucked
-Keeping chest high, push butt back (as if being pulled from behind by your belt)
(weight should be toward your heels)
-When you have maxed out your hamstring stretch with straight legs, let your hands find the floor by bending forward
-Walk hands out to the high plank (pushup position) keeping hips as still as possible
-Push hips back, feet flat (down dog position)
-Walk hands to feet keeping legs straight
-Stand tall, leading with your chest

Repeat for 5-10reps

The Spiderman Lunge

This drill, also called a runner’s stretch, works to stretch just about everything–hamstrings and glutes of the front leg, the hip flexors on the rear leg, groin and adductor muscles, and entire backside of the rear leg. It also requires (and as a result helps to maintain) adequate thoracic spine mobility. Because it is also executed from the high plank position there is a decent amount of core involvement and shoulder endurance as well.

Execution:

-Start in the High Plank (pushup position)
-Bring right foot flat next to right hand
-Lift chest to extend T-spine
-Straighten rear leg
-Sink into pelvis to create a comfortable stretch
-Return to starting position and repeat on the left leg

Perform 5-10 repetitions on each leg

The Pigeon

This movement, a popular yoga pose, when performed in repetitions is a dynamic flexibility drill designed to improve hip mobility. Everything we do in sport and daily life requires hip extension, from walking, running, jumping, to simply standing up. The glute complex, made up of our most powerful hip extensors, both extends and externally rotates our hips. To stretch these muscles we perform the reciprocal action of hip flexion and internal rotation. From the high plank we are able to use our body weight to apply leverage and enhance the stretch. Improved hip mobility increases overall range of motion and enhances athleticism. Hip mobility is also important for injury prevention as it reduces stress on the joints above and below (knees and low back.)
Execution:

-Start in the High Plank (pushup position)
-Bring one knee toward the center of your hands and rest it on the floor, and the foot of the same leg across your body,
-Keeping hips square to the ground to maintain a neutral spine position, sink into the hip of the bent knee.
-Straighten the back leg and lift your chest to enhance to stretch
-hold 3-5secs and repeat on the opposite leg

Perform 5-10reps on each side

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Daly, CSCS September 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

awesome moves. what about The Worlds Best Stretch? I don’t like the inch worm as much as I use to. Many people move poorly through their hips, and end up over stretching their spine and postural muscles.

site revamp looks great.

More bonuses May 1, 2013 at 5:50 am

Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my
blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.

Thank you

Frank Baptiste August 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

It’s custom made.

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