Fitness and Weight Loss This is one of the best post-workout stretches you can do

Use this move to stretch out your hips, lower back, and glutes.

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figure 4 stretch play

figure 4 stretch

(Photograph by Men's Health)
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Whether you’re a runner or a powerlifter, recovery is the key to being able to do what you love for longer. It’s also what enables you to rebound faster from intense workouts and get back at it.

Of course, for most of us, stretching and foam rolling don’t have quite the same appeal as, say, hoisting a barbell into the air, or sprinting down the track. That’s why, just like our workouts, recovery sessions can use the occasional update to keep things interesting.

The figure four stretch is one of the best stretches you can do for your body, regardless of the type of training you do. It targets the hips, lower back, and glutes—your body’s largest and most powerful muscle group.

“It’s excellent for rest days—for heavy lifters and runners,” says Maillard Howell, speaking to the versatility of this stretch.

Howell, a co-owner of CrossFit Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, NY, recently stopped by the ­MH Rec Room to show us one of his variations of the figure four stretch.

Watch the video above to see Howell perform what he calls the banded figure four stretch, which incorporates a resistance band to elicit a deeper, more intense stretch of these muscle groups.

Pay attention to Howell’s instruction, not only for how to get into the stretch but also for how long to hold each pose (two minutes).

You’re not only stretching your muscles—you’re also stretching the fascia surrounding them, and that takes time. Don’t rush this one.

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