Ways to Stretch for a Toe Touch

Toes touches stretch all muscles in the back of your hip and legs.

Toes touches stretch all muscles in the back of your hip and legs.

If you haven't been able to touch your toes since middle school, there are several ways to stretch to get your fingers and torso lower to your feet. Usually the culprits are a lack of mobility or stability, not tight hamstrings, hips or lower back, physical therapist Gray Cook says, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." Mobility is your ability to move your body freely while stability is your ability to control movement when you move so that you don't pull a muscle or joint. Before you train, do these warm-up exercises to improve your breathing, balance and body awareness so that you can reach your toes a little further each day.

Toe Touch With Toe Raise

Stand with your toes and the balls of your feet on top of a foot-long half foam roller and with your heels on the floor. Place your feet close together. Inhale through your nose as you raise your arms over your head and shift your weight toward your toes.

Exhale through your mouth with your lips slightly pursed as you bend your torso forward and your knees slightly to reach for your toes. Hold this position for two deep breaths.

Inhale through your nose and bring your body upright and your arms overhead as high as you can. Repeat the exercise for two to three sets of eight to 10 reps. Reduce the amount of bending of the knee and increase the distance of the forward bending of your torso so that you can reach your toes with each repetition.

Toe Touch with Heel Raise

Stand with your heels together on top of the foam roller and with your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor. Inhale through your nose as you raise your arms over your head and shift your weight toward your heels.

Exhale through your mouth with your lips slightly pursed as you bend your torso forward and your knees slightly to reach for your toes. Hold this position for two deep breaths.

Inhale through your nose and bring your body upright and your arms overhead as high as you can. Repeat the exercise for two to three sets of eight to 10 reps. Reduce the amount of bending of the knee, and increase the distance of the forward bending of your torso so that you can reach closer to your toes with each repetition.

Items you will need

  • 1-foot-long half foam roller

Tip

  • Once you can touch your toes easily, do some strength exercises to help you maintain that range of motion, Cook suggests. These exercises include the kettlebell deadlift, kettlebell swings and squats. Doing these exercises will also firm your hips and legs and strengthen your core.

Warning

  • If you have hypertension or vertigo, check with your health care provider before you attempt to bring your head lower than your heart level. Work with a qualified fitness professional if you are new to flexibility training.
 

References

  • Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
  • Stretch to Win; Ann and Chris Frederick
  • Advances in Functional Training; Mike Boyle

About the Author

Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.

Photo Credits

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