Exercising is essential for a healthy life, but it is just as important to do it well to avoid injury and achieve good results. In this sense, it is necessary to warm up before starting the exercise to reduce the risk of possible injuries. It is convenient to know well how to stretch the muscles of any part of the body and we want to help you learn the best exercises to stretch and warm up. Therefore, in this article, we will focus on one of the muscles of the thighs.
If you want to know how to stretch the quadriceps to work flexibility or to be fully prepared before a training session or a competition, we recommend that you continue reading this article.
Stretching the standing quadriceps
Among the quadriceps stretches, this form is the most popular, especially as an exercise to stretch the legs after running and also before, because it is very effective and easy to perform. Even so, we recommend that you lean on a bench, chair or other surface with height to support you and maintain your balance if you feel that you lose it at any time. To perform this exercise well to stretch your quadriceps, do the following step by step:
- Stand with your hips balanced and your feet separated according to the width of the hips, that is, without bringing them together or separating them too much.
- Raise one leg and grasp the ankle with the hand on the same side. With the other hand you can support yourself so as not to lose your balance.
- Stand straight, lifting your chest a little.
- Pull your ankle back and then slightly upwards, moving slowly and bringing your heel closer to your glute.
- You should hold the position for several seconds and then relax your leg. You can repeat the previous steps with the other leg and combine them.
Stretching the quadriceps lying face down
Another exercise to stretch the quadriceps to take into account is the one performed lying down. Being at home or in the gym is very easy to complete, but it is advisable to use a mat to do the stretching more comfortably. Here we recommend it if you are one of those who have trouble keeping your balance. Follow this step by step to do a quadriceps stretch on the floor prone:
- Lie face down on the mat and spread both legs.
- Grab the foot on the same side with your right hand, or the opposite if you want to do a wider stretch, and bend your knee little by little.
- Pull down, bringing your heel to your glute, with light pressure to relax your quadriceps.
- Hold for half a minute and then relax your leg.
- Repeat the steps above for the left side.
How to stretch your knees quadriceps
Quadriceps stretches can also be done on both legs at the same time. To do this, you will need a mat to avoid hurting your knees and follow these steps to stretch your kneeling quadriceps:
- Kneel on a mat or mat and roll your trunk back.
- Extend your arms and rest the palms of your hands on the mat.
- Keep your knees on the ground at all times, with your toes pointed back, keeping your foot straight, that is, do not put your weight on your toes.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then return to a relaxed leg pose. You can repeat the exercise several times, allowing at least another 30 seconds between stretches.
How to stretch the quadriceps on the side
Another way to stretch your quads is by laying on your side. This stretch is ideal if you have trouble keeping your balance on your feet or if your knees are sore. Here we recommend that you follow this step by step to stretch the quadriceps on the side:
- Lying on the right side, grab the left ankle and place it behind the body.
- You should pull that ankle by pressing towards you until the heel touches the buttock. If you do not arrive and you already feel a good stretch before reaching the gluteus, do not force more, you will gain flexibility over time, the important thing is not to injure yourself.
- Keep your back steady at all times and switch sides to stretch the quadriceps of the other leg.
Stretching the quadriceps in a quadruped position
To perform this stretch it is also advisable to use a mat or mat. The quadruped is the posture in which the knees and palms of the hands rest on the floor. Once you position yourself like this, as in the image, follow these steps to stretch the quadriceps:
- Take your left leg with your right hand. It can be done with the hand and the foot on the same or opposite sides, but it is easier to have balance if it is done with the opposites.
- With your knee bent, press your ankle down and forward to bring it close to your glute.
- Hold the position for several seconds (always less than a minute) and maintain balance with the leg and hand that you have on the mat, trying not to move the angle of the leg and the arm in stretch much.
- Switch hands and legs, and repeat the same process.
Easy quadriceps extension
Another quadriceps stretch exercise that you can do without major complications is this quadriceps extension exercise:
- Get on your knees on the mat and lift one leg, place your foot firmly on the ground, and make sure you keep your knee at a right angle. To do this, the knee must be in line with the ankle. If you already have good balance, you can do it starting standing: stand with your feet at the height of the hips and take a step, leaving one leg in front and the other behind and flex your legs until you achieve this angle and stretch.
- Stretch the other leg back, supporting yourself on your toes. To facilitate balance, you have two options: stretch your arms out to the sides at a right angle or rest your hands on your knee, depending on how comfortable you feel.
- Stretch the leg that you have brought back well, feeling the quadriceps stretch and hold for 20 seconds, then relax the legs returning to the original position or even standing up. You can lower your hips a little to extend the stretch, but always do it in a straight line and don’t go forward and keep your front knee in line with your ankle.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg and after another 20 or 30 seconds of rest you can return to the first leg.
How to stretch your quadriceps – tips
Knowing how to stretch your quadriceps will prevent injury to your legs, especially these muscles. Otherwise, you can make some mistakes that could cause you harm. In addition to the exercises above, you can follow these tips to stretch your quadriceps correctly:
- One of the most common mistakes is forgetting to control your pelvis when stretching your quadriceps. Hip flexion sometimes prevents the muscle from getting the tension it needs and stretching is useless, so keep the angle of your hips, knees, and ankles in mind throughout the stretches.
- Stretch your bent knee, but don’t press too hard. An excess will cause movements in the hips and pelvis, preventing successful exercise and could cause a muscle strain.
- When you stretch your quadriceps while standing, don’t swing your whole body forward while keeping your leg and knee angle the same, as it can over-stretch and hurt you. Leaning forward and lifting your leg back is not of much use either, you will not be stretching more just the same as if you stay straight and, in fact, by forcing the posture you could lose your balance more easily.