The quadriceps are one of the most powerful muscle groups in the body. Used in walking, jumping, squatting, lunging and running, the quads also support knee extension and the patella. (Read more on the STACK Quads page.) You can appreciate why you should stretch your quads before engaging in activity.
I recommend two main quad stretches for athletes: the Standing Quad Stretch and the Lying Quad Stretch. Both quad stretches should both be performed for one or two sets during every stretching routine. Hold each stretch for a slow count of 20 to ensure that the muscle is being thoroughly stretched and to increase its length. Always remember to keep breathing during each stretch.
Standing Quad Stretch
- Stand tall and relax
- Keep your back straight during the stretch
- Bring your right foot up and try to touch your glutes with your heel
- Take your right hand and grab your ankle
- Slowly bring your heel as close to your glutes as possible and hold for a count of 20
- Your right knee and left knee should be as close as possible
- Return to starting position and change legs
To add a stretch for the hip flexors and quads, simply tighten your glutes. This should allow you to feel a slight stretch in that area.
Lying Quad Stretch
- Lie flat on the floor with legs and arms extended
- With your right hand, reach around and grab your right ankle
- Bring your heel as close to your glutes as possible and hold for a count of 20
- Your left arm and leg should remain extended during the stretch
- Return right leg to starting position and change legs
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock