The 4-Stretch Test to Tell if You’re in Danger

The InchwormInchworm

What you’re testing: Hamstrings and calves
How to do it:

  • From a pushup position, slowly start walking your feet toward your hands, taking tiny steps so your butt gradually goes up in the air.
  • Walk your feet as far as you can without bending your knees.
  • Take 3 breaths, then walk your hands forward until you are in pushup position again.
  • Repeat 3 times.

You’ve got a problem if: You can only take a few small steps, or you can’t get your feet past the spot where your knees were in the pushup position.
The danger: Tight calves and hamstrings are a sign that your range of motion in your legs isn’t what it should be. Norton, Jr. often sees this in treadmill runners, who tend to reach out with their feet instead of lifting their knees, overextending the muscles in the back of the leg. Limited range of motion also makes your back a prime target for injury, since your body will naturally take the path of least resistance as you go about your day, meaning instead of bending down to pick something up the proper way, you’re more likely to bend over and put unnecessary strain on your back.

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