Athlete/Celebrity Workouts

Stretch Like the Pros of the NFL

Meet the NFL's secret weapon for flexibility.



One complaint often heard from football coaches—typically right before someone gets cut—is that a player “can’t open up his hips.” This deficiency is almost always attributed to poor genetics, a misconception that rankles the Fredericks, who consider it correctable.

“Defensive backs get so bound in their hips over time,” says Ann Frederick, “that they lose the ability to open up their stride length and cut. Because our techniques work from the joint capsule outward, we’re able to get in deep enough and open up their hips. I call it ‘unlocking the power of the booty.’”

Ann Frederick says the musculatures of skill position players like defensive backs and wide receivers tend to be predominantly fast-twitch, as opposed to linemen, who are more endomorphic and “gooey-er.” In other words, one stretch does not fit all. “You can’t do the same thing for an offensive lineman that you do for a wide receiver,” says Chris Frederick, “and that’s where parameters for stretching have to be adjusted, just as they are for other aspects of training.”

3 Quick Tips

You may not be able to get out to Tempe for an evaluation by the Fredericks, but you can still take advantage of their advice. Here are three things to do before your next training session:

1. Open Your Hips:
Before you squat or run, stretch your hip flexors, glutes, quadratus lumborum, and latissimus dorsi—the grouping Ann Frederick calls the “core four.”

2. Stretch From the Core:
Stretch the areas closest to the center of your body, then out to your extremities. This will loosen your core regions first and allow you to move.

3. Stretch Hot:
Raise your body’s core temperature by stretching in a heated environment. Heat stimulates blood flow and perspiration, and it relaxes the body and improves your response to stretching.

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