BY JOEL HARPER
KNEELING FOOT BEND
Stretches: the ankle, arches, and toes.
Get Ready: Kneel on a mat, rug, or folded towel with knees together and toes curled under.
Go: Gently lower your bottom onto your heels until you feel a stretch in your ankles, arches, and toes. If you want to increase the stretch, gently inch your knees back toward your toes, which will bend your toes even more. Hold for fifteen seconds. Ideally, you won't feel this stretch at all. Resist letting your heels flop to the side. Drive your heels together throughout the stretch.
Get Ready: Come onto your knees. Lift your left foot and place it halfway between your right knee and right foot, next to your right calf. Let your arms fall down to your sides.
Go: Gently sit back so your left heel drops down toward the ground. Lean your torso forward against your left quad and walk your hands forward on the mat so you are simultaneously pressing your left knee toward your left toe and your left heel down. Hold for fifteen seconds, then switch sides.
Note: Some people feel this stretch more with their heel on the ground, while others feel it more when their heel is lifted by one inch. Do whichever gives you the greatest stretch. You can also place your left hand on top of your head and gently lean forward, dropping your forehead toward your right knee. Don't pull; just use the weight of your hand. This will simultaneously stretch your neck and back.
Stretches: the ankles, feet, shins, and quads.
Get Ready: Sit on your heels with your knees together and the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your thumbs to your arches for balance, with thumbs pointing toward each other.
Go: Pull in your stomach, hunch your shoulders forward, and gently lift your knees off the ground so you are balancing on the tops of your feet. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly come down. Place your knees six inches apart and repeat for ten seconds. Then bring your knees back together with toes apart, and lift for ten seconds. Repeat the stretch position that felt the tightest. Only do this stretch if it feels comfortable on your knees. With time and practice, you will become completely open, and you won't feel this stretch at all. If you feel it, that's your cue to do this stretch each time you finish doing your cardio workout.
How did you like these stretches? Write to us in the comments below and let us know.