The forward hang is a great stretch that is effective and easy to add to your routine. The forward hang just consists of bending forward from the waist and stretching out your back, much like a toe-touch. Toe-touching is one of the most basic stretches that finds its way into gym classes or sports practices for children, since bending your body forward gives it such relief. That’s because by stretching forward, we can easily attain an intense stretch for our back, legs, and it helps the neck as well.
What to expect from forward hang
The forward hang is a fairly straightforward stretch. You begin in the usual ready position: standing with you back straight and knees slightly bent, with your feet planted shoulder-length apart. Clasp your hands together behind your back, or if you can’t reach then they can hold either end of a dish towel. Inhale, and then exhale slowly as you bend forward at the waist, tucking your chin down as you roll forward. Focus on your spine: you should move slow and easy, picturing each vertebra roll forward with you. When you are finished, your hands should be stretched straight up in the air. Hold this position for five natural breaths.
How to prepare for the forward hang
Unless you have problems with your core, such as a stress fracture in your back, you should be all set to try a forward hang. If you do have back problems, maybe consult with your physician first. Otherwise the forward hang is very direct: you can do it from home without any equipment. All you need is some good ol’ gravity to help you decompress.
Muscles you'll work while performing the forward hang
The forward hang stretches out your lower back, which in turn lengthens your hamstrings and calf muscles. Stretching may seem like a “soft” option to spend your time on as compared to cardio, but it is an important part of fitness that helps to increase your range of motion, circulation, and helps calm your mind. This simple stress also helps stimulate digestion, and can even alleviate headaches and sleeplessness while fighting fatigue. With half of your body turning into dead weight and only your lower half for stability, your supportive thighs will become toned as your knees gain strength. The forward hang also helps to decompress your spine after a long day. Since your spine is the main part of your central nervous system, it is very important to keep it happy so it can keep up communication with your entire body. The morning is a great time to do the forward hang. After a long night without much movement, stretching out your back, neck, legs and spine will get your body loosened up and ready for the day ahead.
Tips for success with the forward hang
Remember to keep your knees bent, nice and easy. If you try to keep them stiff, you’ll end up falling forward on your face! Let your breath be your guide - if breathing feels strained you can always straighten up and then try again. Hanging forward should feel comfortable overall, without taxing any part of your body.