The couch stretch is an effective hip opener that relieves tightness and improves mobility in your back, quads core, and hips.
Strength and health coach Lizzie Wright gave us the lowdown on how (and why) you should incorporate this stretch into your training, as well as three progressions for those who are already couch stretch aficionados.
WHY COUCH STRETCH?
Your hips can become tight as a result of too much sitting throughout the day, including muscular imbalances, and poor posture. It’s an effective exercise that you can do multiple times throughout the day when you take a break or after a workout. Typically, the tightness often causes pain and weakness in your core, back and hips. The stretch can help to prevent injury and allow you to feel better overall, both mentally and physically.
You can add the couch stretch into your daily routine as a 5-minute habit, or you can even begin as low as 10-20 seconds per side to get you started.
This article looks at three variations to progress your couch stretch.
HOW TO DO THE COUCH STRETCH
It’s important to know that the couch stretch is safe enough to daily and it is something coach Lizzie Wright encourages her clients to do on a daily basis.
Ensure that you focus on keeping your core engaged so that it can help you align your body, keeping your torso upright and able to engage your muscles as you hold this position. There are many ways in which you can do this stretch to help you progress as well as help you get into the position. To protect your knees from the hard surfaces, make sure you use a cushion or mat under your knee.
1. Bend your left knee and place your shin along the back cushion of a couch (or a chair) with your toes pointed upward.
2. Keep your left thigh in line with your body.
3. Place your right foot in front, aligning your knee above your ankle.
4. If you struggle to get upright in this position use a stick or extra support from a chair to help you maintain your posture
5. Elongate your spine and engage your core and glutes.
6. Keep your hips square.
7. Hold for at least 20 seconds per side. Know that some will feel this more than others, so it is important to proceed at your own pace and gradually increase the time. To see progress, you want to be doing this either daily or every other day.
8. Do the opposite side.
THREE COUCH STRETCH PROGRESSIONS
1. Bench Couch Stretch
All you need is a box or a bench to rest your foot upon, whilst making sure it is not too high. Start with your knee further away the tighter you are.
2. Wall Couch Stretch
This variation is great as there is always a wall to use nearby. As you advance through the movement you will be able to bring your knee closer to the wall. It is important you do not arch your back. The aim being that you are able to bring your back against the wall as close as possible with your knee.
3. Elevated Couch Stretch
This variant is not for the faint hearted and more for those who already have a great base level of range whilst looking to unlock that next level. Go easy into the movement and have support to help prop you upwards if you need it. Once you have developed the foundations of this stretch it can get very spicy. If you are super tight and new to this stretch Lizzie does not recommend doing this straightaway, but it is great to work towards.
YOU CAN FIND MORE FROM LIZZIE ON HER WEBSITE, LINKED BELOW