The couch stretch is an amazing stretch for improving hip mobility, but it’s often overlooked for working on knee mobility.
The rectus femoris, one of our quadriceps muscles, crosses both the hip and the knee joints. It not only extends the knee, but also flexes the hip. If you set this stretch up properly, you can work on improving both your hip extension and knee flexion simultaneously.
Let’s talk about the couch stretch for improving knee flexion mobility!
Assume the couch stretch position with one of your legs up on the wall. Find a moderately intense stretch in the front of your thigh. Start with your hands on the ground and if you can tolerate the stretch from this position, work your hands up your legs until you’re upright.
Make sure that your lower back is not extending and that your pelvis isn’t dumping forwards. Your ribcage and pelvis should be stacked and parallel to each other. Once you find the position that is right for you, hang out there passively for 2 minutes.
After the 2 minutes, take the foot that’s against the wall and push it into the wall as hard as you can for 20 seconds. After those 20 seconds, using your hamstrings, pull your foot towards your butt as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Finally, sink into more of a stretch and repeat the cycle 1-2 more times. Be sure to start contracting slowly! Cramps are fine, but don’t tear your quads apart! Repeat on the opposite leg if necessary.