Learn How to Touch Your Toes!

Learning how to touch your toes may not be as glamorous as being able to do a handstand or chin up, but it’s just as important (actually, more important) to your overall functional mobility.

If you want to touch your toes all you need is practice. You don’t have to be a yoga master to reach your goals. As little as a few minutes a day spent idly stretching on your yoga mat enhances flexibility, easily—if you like the sounds of that, get started with our Yoga Starter Kit.

Why do I need to touch my toes?, you may ask. Well the short answer is it’s a good indicator of two very important things:

  • Your overall fitness level, and
  • Your flexibility.

It may surprise you to know that many people who would consider themselves as “in shape” may also be among the folks who can’t do a yoga forward fold without discomfort. Just because you’re strong or have solid endurance doesn’t mean you’re flexible—nope, you’re going to have to eke out a couple minutes a day doing stretches if you want flexibility.



An easy way to make stretching part of your regular routine is to join us on BR+. You can get a free month trial when you sign up now, and you score access to thousands of incredible workouts—including our Stretch & Mobility Series, BR Yoga series and new Yoga with YogiPogie. These routines take as little time as a few minutes (and up to 40 minutes for those of you looking for a longer session) and will significantly improve your flexibility, mobility and overall fitness.


The Perks of Toe Touching

There are some very convincing reasons why you should want to touch your toes.

  • Strengthens Your Posterior Chain: One of the biggest incentives to the forward fold is that it strengthens your posterior chain. This will improve your range of motion for greater gains and more control over your body.
  • Prevents Injury: If you allow your muscles to shorten by not keeping limber then you’re more likely to sustain an injury.
  • Heart Happy: As it turns out poor flexibility goes hand in hand with inflexible arteries. This means you’re more likely to experience cardiac issues — reduce your risk by touching those toes!
  • Reduces Tension: When you ‘carry the weight of the world on your shoulders’ you’ll notice that your shoulders physically pull up — a telltale sign of your stress load — to alleviate stress practice touching your toes. Bending over will help to work the tension from your shoulders by increasing your flexibility; which will also have a positive impact on your mood.

  • Why You Can’t Touch Your Toes

    There are a few culprits hindering your ability to touch your feet and if you’re on a mission to increase your flexibility then figure out which of these reasons is holding you back so you can remedy it.

    Weakened Posterior Chain

    Since we are the sum of many parts, it makes sense that if your hamstrings, lower back or hips are weak then it’ll unbalance the whole system thus, preventing you from touching your toes. When you try to touch your toes where in your body do you feel resistance or pain — hamstrings, back or hips? You’ve now found the source of your problem.

  • Hamstrings: If you get a tugging sensation in the back of your thighs, that’s an indicator that your hammies are coming up short. 
  • Lower Back: It’s not just your muscles that will block your progress, it’s the nerves in your lower back too. If you are met with a blast of pain from your lower back that travels down your legs then you’re experiencing nervous system tension. Improve your nerve mobility by sitting correctly (no slouching) and try some active hamstring stretching. 
  • Hips: If your hips start to protest, it’s likely because they are weakened from sitting too much. If you are desk-bound from 9-5 and only leave your seat for bathroom breaks, your hip flexors will grow complacent and shorten which puts more pressure on your hamstrings and reduces your range of motion. The solution: stand as much as possible and integrate hip flexor stretches into your daily routine.

  • Body Proportions 

    Every body is made a little differently, some of us have blue eyes, one bigger foot or T-Rex arms — it’s just the way of it. There’s no shame in having mile-long legs, apart from the fact that that extra length, when paired with a shorter torso or T-Rex arms, will make it physically improbable for you to reach your toes. 


    Body Weight

    If you’re carrying a little extra weight it’s going to jeopardize your ability to touch your toes. To really tap into your flexibility you’re going to want to focus on weight loss (read our blog: A Proven Strategy for Weight Loss for tips) first by committing yourself to regular workouts and of course implementing a healthy diet. If you’ve got questions as to what constitutes a healthy diet, we’ve got the answers in our BodyRock Meal Plan and Nutrition Bundle.


    Stretching: The Path to Touching Your Toes! 

    Now, before you drop to the floor after reading this article, the best time to do these stretches is after you’ve completed a workout or are already warmed up. You’ll see greater improvements and you’ll be less likely to injure yourself. Also, if you’re expecting overnight results, it won’t happen, in the same way, you don’t develop abs after one core session; it takes time for your body to adapt.

    Without further preamble, here are the best stretches for touching your toes:

  • Cat/Cow: This works both your back and hips. 
    • First, get on your hands and knees and on the inhale arch your back as you tilt your chest, tailbone and head to the ceiling for cow pose.
    • On the exhale, curl your head as you round your spine and look to the floor for cat pose.
  • Resistance Band Toe Reach: This is great for your back and hamstrings.
    • Take a seat then loop a BodyRock Core Bands, Pink Thing or tea towel around the arch of one foot and keep hold of both ends of the band.
    • Sit tall and stretch your leg out in front of you.
    • With a flat back, still holding onto the band, reach for your toes.
    • Hold for 30 seconds then pull up to a sit and repeat on the other side.

  • Pigeon Pose: Perfect for your glutes and hips.
    • Standing, swing your left leg forward, bending at the knee so your leg makes a 90-degree angle; then stretch your right leg out behind you.
    • Keep your right hip angled down and then walk your hands forward until your chest is over your bent knee.
    • Hold for at least a 30 count then release and repeat with your right side.

  • Child’s Pose: Ideal for hamstrings, glutes and spine.

    • Start in a kneeling position then slowly walk your hands out in front of you until your arms are fully extended in front of you and your bottom is resting on your heels.
    • You can either keep your arms in front of you or put them to your side, just keep your palms up.
    • Focus on taking deep, calming breaths to ease the tension from your body and hold for a minimum of 30 seconds.
    • To further open your hips, gently rock your hips from side-to-side as you’re kneeling.
  • Knee-to-Chest: Perfect for thighs, hips and glutes.
    • Lie on your back, legs and arms stretched out, making sure your hips touch the floor.
    • Draw your left leg up to your chest and clasp behind your knee for a count of 30 seconds, then release back to the ground.
    • Repeat on the right side.
  • Elevated Toe Touch: This targets both your hamstrings and your lower back.
    • Grab some kind of stable platform, like a sturdy book.
    • With your feet together and your heels on the floor, set your toes on the book and then bend at the hip and try to touch your toes — if you’re having difficulty, try bending your knees. 
    • Repeat 5-10x before standing up and stepping off the book.
    • Next, walk your heels onto the book while keeping your toes secured to the floor and try to touch your toes the same as you did prior — bending your knees if necessary.
    • Repeat 5-10x then you’ll find your floor reach will drastically improve with just one stretch!

    Touching Your Toes Made Easy

    Touching your toes is not mission impossible unless genetics are against you. All it takes is a little gumption to add in a few extra stretches after you complete your BodyRock+ workout and in no time you’re flexibility will improve for even greater gains!


    Touch Your Toes Playlist

    We’re making learning how to touch your toes easier with this awesome playlist that will help you move toward your goal. These workouts contain moves that will improve hamstring and low back flexibility and joint mobility so that you can grab your piggies sooner and safer.

     

    Get access for only $1.99 for 1 month! Try out our whole platform, including this Playlist, for less than a cup of coffee. 

    After that, regular price is $19.99, but you are under no obligation to stay: most do though, and discover daily inspiration to be healthy.

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