The Brettzel

The Brettzel


A Stretch Every Runner Should Be Doing

The Brettzel is a perfect stretch for runners. It will stretch your quads and hip flexors while mobilizing your mid-spine at the same time. All three areas are spots where many runners could use more flexibility and mobility.

How to Do the Brettzel

  • Position yourself as shown in the start position picture below.
  • Flex your top hip up past 90 degrees and hold onto it with your bottom hand. Turn your bottom hip outward and try to grab your ankle with your top hand. (Don't grab onto your foot. If you can't reach your ankle, loop a towel around your ankle and grasp the ends of the towel.)
  • Once in the position, contract the glutes (butt muscles) in your top leg and contract the quads (thigh muscles) of your bottom leg. Aim to try to bring your top hip down and to straighten your bottom leg all the while resisting with your hands.
  • Don't contract too hard; use an intensity of 4/10. Hold this contraction for four seconds.
  • As soon as you finish the four second contraction, relax and immediately rotate your top shoulder toward the floor as shown in the end position picture below.
  • Hold this position for five seconds then return to the start position.
  • Go through the contract/relax cycle five times per side; do one or two sets for each side.
  • Make sure you don't strain your neck so have your head supported on a pillow, cushion, towel or something similar. Make sure you are looking toward the direction you're rotating. Your top leg can be supported as shown or you can have it on the floor.
Brettzel Start Position
Brettzel End Position
brettzel start
brettzel end
Images courtesy of Fit to Train.

To get a better description of the stretch, watch this video of Gray Cook, the renowned physiotherapist who created the stretch. He'll explain the rational behind the stretch and also reveal how the Brettzel got it's name.
Cook also shows you how to do the Brettzel 2.0, a stretch that targets the glutes and hamstrings making it a perfect compliment to the Brettzel 1.0.

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