A few weeks ago I showed you the one stretch that firefighters should never do. On the flipside, if I were to give you only one stretch to do, what would it be?
A hamstring stretch. But not just any hamstring stretch; one that stretches only the hamstring/gluteal muscles without overly stretching the back. Lack of flexibility in the hamstrings and glutes can contribute to back pain, which is very prevalent in the fire service. In my experience doing firefighter fitness testing, many of you have tight hamstrings!
Also, like I discussed in this post, firefighters who lack hamstring and hip flexibility may be at greater risk of experiencing a back injury since they are limited in their ability to maintain a neutral spine when lifting someone from an awkward position.
The “door stretch” pictured below is great because: 1) it does not overly stretch the back muscles. Excessive back flexibility is not advantageous for firefighters (more on that here); 2) you can completely relax. Having to hold your leg up often causes you to contract your muscles, which is counterproductive to the stretch.
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