I am 175 cm. high, 45 years old. When I stand with my legs straight and bow down, my palms are about 70 cm above the ground. I have done this daily for several weeks, hoping that I will improve in time, but the distance to the ground does not seem to shorten.

Is there any exercise I can do, that will make me flexible enough so that I can touch the ground?

  • That's a fair amount of distance left to cover. That's not necessarily insurmountable, but I also add the caveat that there are no guarantees. You might have a physical limitation that will prevent you from being able to do this exercise. The first thing to note is where you feel the strain at your lowest position. Is it in your hamstrings? Your back? Is it painful or just a stretch? Feb 26 '20 at 15:00
  • 1
    This is an outdated fitness test now, because not everyone can touch the ground, even if they are in shape. I would advise against trying to touch the ground as a stretching exercise as this can lead to lower back pain. You can do hamstring stretches lying down or seated to better accomadate you however. Your posterior chain is made up of several muscles so any kink in the chain.. even your calves could lead to issues
    – Ace Cabbie
    Feb 26 '20 at 17:37
  • @SeanDuggan I feel the pain at the back side of my knees. It is mildly painful (tolerable for about 20 seconds). Feb 26 '20 at 17:50
  • I'd attack it three ways myself: 1) if you have anterior pelvic tilt, incorporate corrective stretches and exercises (APT can cause serious hamstring tightness). 2) Use SMR (foam roller, lacrosse ball) on potential restrictions (bottom of the feet, posterior lower leg, etc). 3) PNF stretches for the hamstrings that don't hurt the lower back (e.g., stretch one leg at a time up on a bench about hip height using PNF). Mar 20 '20 at 15:56

Is there any exercise I can do, that will make me flexible enough so that I can touch the ground?

Leg lifts, hanging leg raises, leg raises on the dip stations, V-ups, standing leg raises, sit ups...

If it trains the anterior part of your hips then it will make you more flexible.


I was myself pretty stiff coming out of nearly 20 years of sprint training. Stiffness is considered a quality there :)

When I started doing other stuff, my lack of flexibility really bugged me and I spent quite a lot of time researching the subject. Standard process : stretch for more than 30 seconds, use PNF, use foam roller,..

In the end, I would say two things matter to really make improvements regarding your flexibility :

  1. Understand that limited ROM is because your body (brain, nervous system, whatever is at play) prevents you to go there to protect you.
  2. Based on 1, you must therefore teach your body 'its ok, it's safe'

    To achieve this you must strengthen your body and muscles. Yes, flexibility actually requires to be strong. I spent years thinking my hamstrings were tight whereas they were weak (despite sprinting, due to injuries) as well as my hip flexors. Worked on that, immediately improved my ROM. This might require you to spend sometime finding your imbalances / weaknesses

    To teach your body its safe, once you get the physical part covered (strength), you must use tame your nervous system. Use calm, deep breathing. There is ton on the subject, i personally usually recommend kit Laughlin who introduced the concept to me. From there, I learned then much making the connections.

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