Alignment Snacks: Stretching the Standing Muscles

Katy Bowman
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Instructional / How To Videos , Special Health Conditions

Katy Bowman’s “Alignment Snacks” are short (20-30 minute) downloads which focus on body alignment. In each “snack,” Katy leads an unseen (but not unheard) class through an alignment session consisting of various stretches and/or gentle exercises. These movements are performed while Katy provides information on proper alignment. The snacks currently cost $5 each; you can find them on her website ( or under the “Move” tab.

This review is for Stretching the Standing Muscles, a 31.5 minute alignment session which works on aligning and stretching the standing muscles of the hips and legs. As the title implies, this session is all standing. I felt very stretched out at the end of it.

The class is comprised of three movements, a calf stretch, a forward bend, and listing from the hip while standing on a block. The forward bends and listing exercises are performed alone first and then combined. Towards the end, Katy adds a balance challenge for those who are up for it (or for those who have the equipment), by using a half dome in the forward bend/listing combo. I imagine that this would add a nice balance challenge, but I don’t have a half dome. You finish with a final set of calf stretches, one for the gastrocnemius and another one for the achilles tendon.

Equipment used: a mat, a half dome, and a block

Things to Consider

The primary purpose of the alignment snacks is to provide alignment information and then put it into practice through motion. That said, I found this session to be very stretchy, especially for the calves and hamstrings, so I think it could work a stretching workout (as long as you don’t crave variety in your stretches).

This class requires some coordination and balance, but neither is strictly required in large quantities. If you can stand on one foot for a period of time (or are willing to work up to it), you’ll likely be ok. You can modify the hamstring stretches by bending more shallowly; you can modify the balance exercises by not using a block or dome and listing for a shorter period of time than Katy does.

Instructor Comments:
I thought Katy’s positioning tips were nice and clear in this one. She spends some time showing what not to do; I found this to be very helpful. Although she doesn’t go into detail on how to do a hip list, her instructions are adequate. In the unlikely event that you need more explanation, you could try either her “Balance… Using Lateral Hips” snack or Jill Miller’s Hip Helpers (if I remember correctly).