If You’re Not Using This Exercise, You Should # 4: Brettzel

The goal of this series is to help coaches at the high school level and beyond expand their coaching “tool box” with practical movements, drills, and exercises – ones that aren’t just for show, but ones that can positively impact a training program.

Each week I will post an exercise along with a video demonstration, as well as a brief description.

Enjoy this week’s exercise!


Intro: The Brettzel is a great “bang for your buck” exercise that also carries a ton of versatility. By creating separation at the hips, the Bretzel addresses many muscle groups and joints all in one – from the Thoracic Spine to the muscles responsible for both Hip Flexion and Hip Extension. It can often be hard to get athletes to buy into mobility and stretching, but the inherent difficulty for many just to get into the Brettzel stretch makes it a more compelling challenge for the athlete than the typical mobility drill or stretch.

Goal: The goal of the Brettzel is to promote both upper and lower extremity mobility by dissociating many joints simultaneously.

Many athletes and coaches have laid on their back and crossed their leg over to the opposite side and felt a nice lower back stretch. But, when we pin that leg down with one arm, while simultaneously reaching for the foot of the opposite leg (with bent-knee), all of the sudden the potency of the stretch increases many times over. The Quadriceps/Hip-Flexors get a tremendous stretch.

Then, by relaxing the upper body as much as possible and taking deep breaths from the belly, the athlete can experience some stretching through the trunk as well.

Implementation: The Brettzel’s versatility comes in the many ways that it can be used. Because it hits so many areas simultaneously, it can be a great position to include during the warm-up. It is also great as filler exercise in between sets of a more strenuous exercise. I like to pair it with strength-focused sets, as it gives the athlete a chance to not only stretch, but to do so with minimal effort (which interferes less with the main exercise),all while bringing the heart rate down through conscious breathing.



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