How To Do The 90/90 Stretch (Correctly!)
There’s one mobility exercise I see that gets completely butchered on social media and in the gym. And it’s a bummer because this one move is in my opinion, the ultimate sticky hip elixir because it works all angles of the hip.
It’s called the 90/90 and if you don’t know what you’re supposed to feel or NOT feel, you’re not benefiting from the true power behind it.
WHAT IS THE 90/90 STRETCH
The 90/90 is a base position from which we can attack the entire body from a mobility perspective. The beauty of this setup when it comes to the hips, is that the front leg is in external rotation and the back leg is in internal rotation. For those new to mobility training, internal and external rotation are the two most important components to a healthy functioning hip. Without just one of these, hip problems are sure to be on their way. You can test the internal and external rotation of your hips with my free Sticky Hips Cheatsheet.
THE BENEFITS OF THE 90/90 POSITION
As I mentioned, the 90/90 position allows us to attack the whole body, but more specifically, the hips. One of the most common things I see people lacking is internal rotation of the hip. The first thing one must do to increase internal rotation is figure out how to stretch it. We use stretching to open up new ranges of motion, and then perform isometrics to keep the new range. However, most people have never felt their hip internal rotation being stretched. Finding this stretch is way harder than say finding your quadriceps. In the 90/90 we can start to teach someone how to not only find this stretch, but also start to strengthen it.
The 90/90 position also allows us to attack the front leg, which is in external rotation. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, pigeon pose was probably on the agenda. However, pigeon pose is a pretty advanced position, that most people will not get a whole lot of benefit from. The 90/90 allows us to modify the same stretch in pigeon pose but in a much safer and more effective way.
Another great benefit of this position, is it allows you to perform a variety of hovers for the lower body. Hovers force the body to control the smallest of movements in compromised positions, which teaches the nervous system how to be ready for anything thrown its way. Below is an example of a hover called “kiss the heels” which just about everyone can benefit from.
WHO SHOULD AVOID THE 90/90 POSITION
Unfortunately, the 90/90 position isn’t for everyone, at least not in the conventional sense. Most of the time when you see someone in the 90/90, they’re trying to keep their torso as vertical as possible, but their spine is crooked and falling away from their trail leg. Unless you have incredibly flexible hips, being vertical in your torso is not going to be ideal and you’ll probably do more harm than good. Most people, (including yours truly), need to modify this position to get any benefit from it. The goal with any type of training, but especially mobility training, is to feel the right tissue...not to get into a certain pose or position.
Typically in yoga or even a Kinstretch class, people think their body should be in the exact same position as the instructor. This is not true because everyone’s bodies are different!The goal for everyone in the class should be to feel the same tissue, but be in whatever position their body can tolerate at that moment. For the 90/90, it's crucial to find the right setup for you, not just what you see on the internet.
Lucky for you guys, in the video above I’ll walk you through the correct setup that’s right for YOU. It’ll only take 15-20 minutes and you’ll need 2 yoga blocks or something similar like pillows, towels or blankets.
For even more of my favorite mobility exercises to bulletproof your body, click the link below where you can get my 3 must-have mobility moves for free. Once you try them, you’ll see why they’re my all-time favorite.
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ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change. CLICK HERE to learn more.
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)
Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor
Weck Method Qualified