The Frog Stretch:
The frog stretch is a stretch that I have actually been doing since I was a kid. It was one of the primary stretches that we would perform on the ice before hockey games to loosen up our hip joints. As kids we really didn’t know why we were even doing it. We saw everyone else on the ice doing the stretch, so we followed suit. Now that I have been lifting weights, exercising, and still playing hockey for 10+ years, I am starting to find this stretch more and more useful.
Why Frog Stretch?
When we think of hip health, the most common muscles that comes to mind are the glutes. They provide stability through the hip joint as well as abduction and external rotation, which are key to proper running and squatting technique as well as prolonged knee health. The glutes also help to maintain neutral pelvic alignment through abduction and external rotation moments as well. In short, these muscles keep your pelvis neutral and you knee properly aligned beneath you.
Figure 1: External rotators of the hip, showing the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius dissected with underlying musculature.
So, what do glutes have to do with the frog stretch. Isn’t the frog stretch supposed to focus on the adductors and not the abductors? My answer to your question lies in the relationship between your adductors and your gluteal muscles. It has been found that increased adductor tightness leads to improper activation or inhibition of the gluteal muscles, glute medius in particular. So, to achieve adequate adductor flexibility and gluteal activation we must find a balance that allows them to act upon the knee in synchrony. That’s where the frog stretch comes into play. This stretch is one of my favorite stretches for the adductor group.
Figure 2: Adductor group acting on the femur.
How To Frog Stretch?
- Assume a quadruped position with knees on the floor and hands on the floor.
- Turn the toes outward to externally rotate the femur.
- Open up at the knees, allowing them to be as far apart as possible.
- Begin sitting backward and downward. Your butt should begin to fall between the knees. This is the point where you will feel the full depth of this stretch.
- Perform proper diaphragmatic breathing while in this position.
- Hold the stretch for 45 seconds and release the stretch.
- Perform 2-3 sets at a time.