Being able to bend at the hips in order to touch your toes -- without bending your knees -- takes a high level of overall flexibility. However, it isn't impossible for the average person. With repeated stretching on a daily basis, you can produce long, lean back, hamstring and calf muscles that are flexible enough for you to achieve an easy, comfortable toe-touch.
Two Types of Toe Touches
You can opt to touch your toes while sitting or standing. Doing so while sitting is generally easier than while standing because you don't have the added burden of having to balance your body against gravity. After stretching your back, hamstrings and calves, it might be helpful for you to practice touching your toes while sitting down first and then graduate to a standing toe-touch. To touch your toes while sitting, simply sit down with your legs together and straight out in front of you; lean forward as far as you can as you reach for your toes. To touch your toes while standing, stand with your legs together and your knees straight; slowly bend at the hip and attempt to touch your toes.
Stretch Your Calves
Stretch your calf muscles by standing about 6 inches away from a sturdy wall. Put one foot forward, placing the toes and ball of your foot on the wall and leaving your heel on the floor. Push your body forward until you feel the stretch in your calf. If you're having trouble feeling it, just scoot your heel closer to the wall about an inch at a time until you do. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat twice more times, and then switch legs to stretch the other calf.
Stretch Your Hamstrings
Stretch your hamstring by placing your leg on a piece of sturdy furniture or equipment until your foot is at about hip level. For comfort, you may want to place a rolled towel between the furniture and your ankle. Slowly bend over and bring your cheek down toward your outstretched thigh. You can grab onto your leg to help pull yourself down, but only go as far as is comfortable for you. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Release the stretch and repeat it two more times on the same leg. Using the same steps, repeat the process on the opposite leg.
Stretch Your Back
To stretch your back muscles, stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Grab your left elbow with your right hand, and grab your right elbow with your left hand. Bend over forward as far as you can, letting your clasped arms hang. Don't focus on trying to touch your toes but simply work on stretching out your back. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and then stand up straight again. Repeat the stretch twice more.
- Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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