Top 5 Ways to Touch your Toes

If you're like many people, touching your toes can seem like an impossible feat. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, improving your flexibility can be a challenge.

Tight hamstrings are a common issue among individuals of all ages, and can prevent us from being able to touch our toes. This is because the hamstring muscles, which run along the back of the thigh, are too tight and unable to stretch far enough to allow us to bend over and reach our toes. Tight hamstrings limit our hip and knee mobility, and can lead to pain and discomfort in the lower back, hips, and legs. In addition, a stiff back will also prevent you from touching your toes. Back stiffness can come from degenerative changes in the lower back. The back can also be stiff in sedentary or deconditioned people. Stiff hips can also reduce your ability to bend forwards, especially putting on shoes or socks. Hip stiffness can be a result of general muscle tightness, or degenerative conditions like hip osteoarthritis.

If you are struggling to touch your toes, it’s likely you will be putting your back under strain when you bend forwards. Having lengthy hamstrings allows you to hip hinge (tilt your pelvis forward) which allows you to maintain a neutral curve (known as a lordosis) in your lower back.

If you’re looking to increase your flexibility and finally touch your toes, here are the 5 best ways to make it happen:

1. Stretching: Stretching is an essential part of any flexibility routine. Focus on stretching the muscles in your legs, hips, and lower back. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

Seated Forward Bend: Start seated on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Reach your arms up overhead and fold your torso over your legs, trying to touch your toes. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Standing Forward Bend: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms above your head. Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs, trying to touch your toes. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

2. Yoga: Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility. Practicing yoga regularly can help you gain more range of motion in your hips, legs, and lower back.

3. Strength Training: Strength training can help you improve your overall flexibility. Focus on exercises that target the muscles in your legs, hips, and lower back. Squats and lunges are great exercises for improving your flexibility.

4. Work with a physiotherapist: One of the Surrey Physio team will manually and passively stretch your hamstrings. Having someone do this passively is a very effective way to stretch, while you simply lie back and relax. We can also do deep soft tissue work to the hamstrings which may help too. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online at the top.

5. Foam Rolling: Foam rollers are considered by many to be a great way to improve your flexibility. By rolling on the foam roller, you can target specific muscles and fascia that may be preventing you from reaching your toes. Start by lying on the foam roller and slowly rolling up and down your legs. Research does vary and consensus is split about whether foam rolling does actually stretch tight muscles. But it’s worth a try and see it helps you, but DYOR. Roll for 10-30 seconds.

By incorporating these five tips into your regular routine, you can improve your flexibility and finally touch your toes. Keep in mind that flexibility takes time and consistency, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. With patience and dedication, you’ll be able to achieve your goal

(These videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).