Articles
The Russian Baby Maker: The Best Hip Stretch You've Never Heard Of
Greg Everett



I’ve mentioned the Russian Baby Maker a few times now on the website but have only managed to describe it briefly within a long article about warming-up. It’s a bit tough to describe without images and the name is sufficiently intriguing enough to generate quite a few requests for more information (Yes, I named it; no, I won't explain. You may be assured it's funny.)

The most important thing to know when doing the RBM is that the point is to spread the hips, not the knees. We’re trying to push the proximal ends of the femurs out to the sides, not the distal ends.

Put your feet a little wider than where you would normally squat, toes turned out only slightly, and lean down to grab the tops of your feet. Bend your knees a bit and push your elbows back inside your thighs toward your groin; your elbows should be bent, not straight. Push your elbows out against the insides of your thighs as you drop your hips until you’re in a partial squat, pushing out hard with the elbows, and resting at least part of your bodyweight on the arms so that your own weight further spreads the thighs.

Don’t try to sit all the way down into a full squat with an upright torso; you may actually be leaned quite far over and only slightly below parallel. If you don’t feel a stretch in your adductor/hamstring/inner-leg-parts origins, you’re doing something wrong.

This is definitely one of the static stretches that I find appropriate for pre-training. Hold for 10-30 seconds or so for 1-3 sets and see how your squats feel afterward.


18 Comments




Jen
January 31 2012
This is a great one! Would love a vid of it to show clients.
Silas
January 31 2012
Great! Really felt it. But then again, I've got the hip flexibility of Kaw-Liga... :D Will try it tomorrow before my squats for sure.
John
January 31 2012
"(Yes, I named it; no, I won't explain. You may be assured it's funny.)"

i would argue that anyone needing an explanation to assure the hilarity after seeing the picture(s) was born without a sense of humor.
Cheryl
February 5 2012
Does this stretch benefit the psoas?
bubba29
February 5 2012
i searched this term for videos. i found a lot of entertaining stuff but none of it appeared to be what you described. could you post a video?
Greg Everett
February 6 2012
Cheryl -Not directly, at least.
Greg Everett
February 6 2012
Bubba - It's a static stretch, so the video would look a lot like the photos posted.
Leo
February 7 2012
Called them saigon squats in college football.
Skor
February 10 2012
Well, that exercise is unique, but effective. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Dr John
February 10 2012
Tight muscles will be tight if you ignore the neurological component.
Stretching will not improve power and mobility if muscles are splinting due to imbalance or injury prevention sensing by muscle spindle cells within the muscle fibers.
Stretching is VERY controversial in the literature now. "Weakens muscles....Decreased Athletic Performance....No Effect Upon DOMS...etc"
IMHO, find the cause of the tightness first, then address the ROM issue. Just forcing the joint into an expected ROM, will never address the neuro component causing it.
And, it doesn't matter what you call a stretch, "Double King Crab, Pincer Stretch", or Russian Baby Whatever, if you force myofibrils within the muscle spindle cells, apart, and elongate them, you will never achieve the power and mobility you need for performance.
Steven Platek
February 12 2012
I've been doing this one, but not calling it the RBM - that's hilarious! And this is a great stretch.

On an different note: I placed second in a local weightlifting meet: masters 94kg! Stoked, because it was my first ever meet!
Greg Everett
February 13 2012
Dr. John -That stuff has been talked about on this website and in my book. To make it sound like static stretching will prevent anyone from being athletic I would say is a bit of an extreme interpretation of the literature. Even in cases when nervous system disruption was noted, it was both minor and transient from what I've seen. We can pretty easily see that it won't kill you or your performance simply by looking at every gymnast from the last hundred years or so - they stretch more than any athlete and are some of the strongest, most muscular and powerful. This doesn't mean I'm encouraging people to do a bunch of aggressive static stretching pre-training; as I said, my opinion on that has been discussed previously.
Matt Wichlinski
February 16 2012
I made a video of a variation of the RBM, it's essentially the same idea, except I use 2 bands to pull out the proximal ends of the femur, instead of manually pushing them out with my elbows. I feel Greg's version is best for a group of people, but if you have the time, space and necessary equipment, using bands might help a bit. I put a band around each leg, as high as comfortably possible, as if your wearing a rock climbing or skydiving harness, then wrap the other end around a fixed post a few feet laterally from your hips, like a squat rack or playground set or something. This pulls your hips out and allows for a ton of freedom of movement. Doing it this way allows you to perform split squats and hip flexor stretches as well, where you couldn't manually push both your hips out with your elbows in a hip flexor stretch. I have a video blog post on my site at tssathletics where I give credit to Greg, but couldn't post a link here for spammage reasons. Maybe this will help get the idea, though.
Greg Everett
February 16 2012
Matt - Sounds good. I do like getting other tools in there when it's convenient, but like you said, in a group or when you're trying to do 30 other warm-ups, simplicity goes a long way.
LeRoi
March 1 2012
This is really good stretch! I will do this from now on! Merci!
Scott
February 12 2014
Dr Newb. (John)
Trainer Scott
April 22 2015
Great stretch, I'm going to go try it right now.
Charles
February 12 2016
Super stretch up there!! Perfect for my pregnant wife who need to open up those hips!