The Diagonal Stretch

The Diagonal Stretch is one of the most ‘bang for one’s buck’ movement tools I’ve been developing, promoting and using for over two decades now with great success across many thousands of students.

* Modulating the whole anterior chain and spiral/diagonal line without promoting laxity and passivity
* Alleviates back pain (but when done wrong can induce it — mind the details)
* Prehab/rehab of various knee issues, especially stemming from patellofemoral stress. It bulletproofs the knees!
* Of great benefit for those who suffer the consequences of sitting a lot (almost everyone)
* Improves posture & Gait
* Of great benefit to athletic performance and specifically throwers, pitchers, javelin, sprinters, etc
* Of great benefit to fighters, punchers, kickers, helps open and facilitate kinetic transfer
* Of great benefit to those looking to arch better — back bridging, acrobatics, dancers, gymnasts, etc

Some key features
* Loaded Stretch — developing strength in the new range helps stabilize the newly acquired ROM and offers higher chances of integration into one’s movement
* Progressive — the various progressions, the ability to load more of the stretched musculature and not only increasing the ROM as in passive stretches allows for better manipulation of the training process and increase chances of continued improvement
* Included Stabilization — by performing this motion in an unsupported way we increase the chances of integration as the demands of using that range of motion later are present in the training process. Do not make the mistake that some unaware folks do — regressing the diagonal stretch and adding ‘helpful’ support of some sort which will remove these benefits. Fight for balance and include it!

Basic Alignment
* Stand with your feet together and open feet out to form 90 degrees angle
* Align one foot on the ball of the foot with the heel of the other foot
* Open back to 2-3 shoulder width length, remaining turned out in the front leg and keeping back leg facing forward and on the balls of the foot, play with this length till you find optimal loading:ROM relationship
* Use a knee bend on the back leg that enables one to load well, somewhere around 90-150 degrees
* If wishing to target more the hip and psoas — use less extension of spine and add a glute contraction with some posterior pelvic tilt as shown
* Progressions then will include shifting more weight into the back leg by:
 1. Progressing from back of the knee touch to touching the heel of the back leg with opposite hand
 2. Gradually straighten the front leg
 3. Finally elevate the front straight leg into a step, bench or even a wall

Reps and Sets
* I found a dynamic — static combo most useful, basically perform dynamic controlled tempo reps and adds a static pause in the end of the last rep in the stretched position, as shown
* 2 sets of 10 reps with a 10 sec pause at the last rep only is a good place to start
* Slowly progress to total of 5 sets and up to 20 reps with 20 sec pause at the last rep of daily work
* I usually recommend to do this in high frequency and low volume, as part of daily work or alternating days and never exceeding 5 sets, (mostly 3 sets are enough) such frequency and low volume help the CNS accept the new ranges better
* Progressive overload — establish a certain rep/set scheme like 3 sets of 10 reps+10 sec pause and pursue it daily for a week or two, the following weeks progress to 12 reps + 12 sec and the weeks after that to 14 + 14 etc…. After reaching a plateau, stabilize the rep range and pause and increase sets to 4, etc…

Summing up
The Diagonal Stretch is a phenomenal tool to add to your arsenal and something I consider as part of the Basic Starter Pack Protocols for anyone interested in moving better, other basics like Squatting, Hanging and Spinal Waves have been shared and can be found on our website & channels and more will be shared in the future so make sure to follow us on Instagram and turn ON POST NOTIFICATIONS, subscribe to our YouTube channel and HIT THE BELL and follow our Facebook page.

Post videos performing this motion using hashtags #DiagonalStretch #Idoportal #movementculture and on the Movement Culture group page on Facebook

Enjoy and may you get as much as we did from this simple yet potent tool! .


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