When it comes to keeping your quadriceps strong and healthy, stretching is as important to your routine as strengthening exercises are. The lying quadrilateral stretches really target the front of your legs to open up your quadriceps and hip flexors.
In general, stretching does two things: “Static stretching then loosens up those tight muscles and helps improve flexibility to increase the body’s range of motion,” says trainer Mary Beth Rockwell.
Stretching can also improve your workouts.
“A dynamic (or moving) pre-workout stretching helps prepare your muscles for the workout ahead,” says Rockwell.
When it comes to your quadriceps, tightness can lead to body misalignment and soreness.
“Tight quads can misalign the pelvis, which can then snowball into pain in your lower back or knees,” says Rockwell.
“The longer you sit, the more your quadriceps can tighten – so it’s important to get up and give them a stretch once in a while,” she explains.
If you need inspiration, here are three of our favorite recumbent quad stretches.
1. Lying quadruple stretch with strap
For those who sit often throughout the day, Rockwell recommends setting a reminder to move, starting with this stretch.
This uses a yoga strap to help you get a good stretch no matter how tight you are.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you, creating an “L” shape.
- Wrap your strap around your right foot. Grasp the strap with your right hand and hold it taut.
- Roll onto your stomach while maintaining your grip on the strap.
- Bend your right knee. Keep your left leg straight.
- Pull the strap with both hands to bring your right heel closer to your right butt.
- You should feel a stretch in your right quad. Keep your hips pressed to the floor and a slight tension in your abs to reduce any tension in your lower back.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Release the tension on the strap.
- Repeat this stretch on the left side.
2. Lying Quadruple Side Stretch
This side lying quad stretch is a great stretch when you don’t have a yoga strap handy. It is also a challenge for your balance!
- Lie on your right side, stacking your left leg on top of your right leg, and place your right hand near your right ear to support your head.
- Bend your left leg. Reach down with your left hand to grab the top of your left foot.
- Pull your left foot towards your left glute. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
- To increase the stretch, make sure your left knee is stacked over your right knee. Gently engage your abs, pulling in your pelvis to further increase the stretch.
- You should feel this stretch in your left quad.
- Release the tension.
- Roll to the left side and repeat this stretch on the right.
3. Quadruple foam roller
Roll for at least a minute, holding (and breathing!) anywhere that needs more attention.
- Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and a foam roller under your quadriceps. Stand on your forearms.
- Slowly roll your quadriceps from the top of your thighs to just above the knees.