Summary

  • Uses the method of passive static stretching
  • Suitable for any level of flexibility
  • Eight hip muscle groups can be isolated on one piece of equipment
  • No adjustments are needed between exercises
  • Measures range of motion to compare left and right legs and quantify improvement

Procedure

Stretching equipment for the gym

Range of motion measurement for stretching exercises

The head rest and leg supports are adjustable to the user’s height. A sliding ankle support accommodates variations in lower leg length and cups the heel to prevent the foot moving. Access is from a footplate at the front, allowing the user to sit within the leg supports, which are bent at the knee. The leg straps are fastened first and the waist grips are tightened once the user is lying back. The body is now supported and stabilised, ensuring the stretching action occurs at the hip joint and is not transmitted to the pelvis and lumbar spine. Two handles on either side provide leverage for every exercise position. The leg supports are raised easily because of the gearing, and the lowering movement is braked by a damper. An instruction placard shows the stretching routine.

All the exercises start from the anatomical neutral. The user switches on a ratchet before moving a leg support, and the 2° or 3° ratcheting intervals provide fine control when the stretching limit is reached. This position will be held by the ratchet for as long as required. A timer on the electronic console saves the user from having to count. The leg can then be either moved further into the stretch or returned to neutral once the ratchet is switched off. Because the leg supports rotate about axes which coincide with the hip joint, angle sensors accurately measure the true range of motion. Their output is displayed digitally and the reading may be stored using a “hold” function. The user remains in position throughout and can go straight from one exercise to the next.

Exercises

Stretching equipment for the hamstring muscles

The opposite leg is kept extended to prevent the pelvis tilting posteriorly, so the ideal stretching position is maintained.

Stretching equipment for the hip extensor muscles

In the same position as the hamstrings exercise, the knee is flexed and brought to the chest.

Stretching equipment for the adductor muscles

The body is in a fully extended position with the pelvis stabilised.

Stretching equipment for the abductor muscles

The opposite leg is flexed at hip and knee to enable adduction in the frontal plane. This exercise is particularly beneficial for iliotibial band syndrome.

Stretching equipment for the medial rotator muscles

The leg is placed in the standard orthopaedic position to stretch the rotator muscles.

Stretching equipment for the lateral rotator muscles

The lateral rotators include the piriformis muscle which, if shortened, can cause sciatic nerve pain.

Stretching equipment for the hip flexor muscles

One-joint hip flexors: The opposite leg is fully flexed to tilt the pelvis posteriorly and bring the hip into extension. Gravity provides a downwards stretching force, which can be increased by using one of the handles.
Two-joint hip flexors: The exercise is repeated with the knee flexed at 90°.