Today marks the halfway point of Stretch-mas! We’re glad you’ve been dedicated to following along. While today’s stretch is well known, that doesn’t make it any less important. For day six of Stretch-mas, follow along as we guide you through the Quad Stretch.
About the Stretch
Let’s talk about exactly which muscles you’re helping by doing this stretch. You may already know this, but your “quads” (or quadriceps) are the muscles in the front of your upper leg. But do you know why we call this area the “quads”?
The answer is simple – “quad” means four and is referencing the four muscles that make up the group: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, and Vastus Intermedialis. These muscles work together to help you walk, climb stairs, or stand up. They also connect to your patella (also known as the “knee bone”) to keep your knee in a stable position any time it extends.
Tight quad muscles contribute to a variety of issues such as knee pain, hip pain, and even pelvic misalignment. Stretching these muscles regularly helps more than just your legs — it helps your whole body!
For this exercise, start at the bottom of a staircase, or standing in front of a chair. Perform this stretch near a railing or countertop for something to balance on if needed. To start, take a step out from your chair and reach one leg back onto the chair (Note: The leg you put on the chair is the leg you’ll feel the stretch in). If you’re using a staircase, start facing away from the staircase, and place the leg you want to stretch on the second or third step.
Now, take a moment to assess your posture. Stand tall with
your pelvis facing straight ahead. From here, slowly and gently lean forward to extend your quad muscles. Hold this for 30 seconds and perform three to five times on each leg. Slightly bend the leg planted on the ground if you want to increase the stretch.
Still too easy? Try these progressions!
For this variation, stand in front of a bed, counter, or the back of the chair. Any stable surface that is slightly higher than the surface you were using before will deepen the stretch.
After placing your leg on the surface, you might already notice a slight stretch. If this feels comfortable, hold for 30 seconds, and do these three to five times on each side.
For one extra push, bring your hips back towards the ankle of the leg you are stretching. Additionally, you can bend the knee that’s on the ground for an even deeper stretch!
Many people don’t realize they have tight quads, but after doing this stretch for a few days, you’ll be amazed at the differences you feel all over your body!
Ready for more? Come back tomorrow as we finish off the leg stretch with the calf stretch!