Lower Body Stretches

This month we have talked about exercises to help strengthen and tone the hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes. This week we will focus on some stretches for these muscles to perform after our exercise sessions in order to reduce soreness and obtain longer, leaner legs. Be sure to warm up these muscles before stretching them, and don’t bounce while stretching.

 

Hamstring Stretches

Chair Stretch

Begin by sitting on the edge of a stable chair with your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your right leg keeping your heel on the ground and flexing your right foot. Keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward at the hips to a position in which you feel the stretch, but you are not in pain. Hold (no bouncing) for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the left leg.

hamstring stretch

 

Floor Stretch

Begin by sitting on the floor with your right leg straightened, your right foot flexed, and your left leg bent (left foot on right thigh). Slowly reach toward your right foot as far as you can go until you reach a position in which you feel the stretch, but you are not in pain. Hold (no bouncing) for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the left leg.

seated hamstring

 

 

Quad Stretches

Standing Quad Stretch

Begin standing behind a chair or in front of a wall. Hold onto the wall or the back of the chair with your left hand as you bend your right knee to bring your foot toward your glutes. Grab the top of your right ankle with your right hand and gently pull until you feel the stretch, but you are not in pain. Hold (no bouncing) for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the left leg. 

quad stretch

 

Lying Quad Stretch

Begin lying on your right side with your right hand propping your head up. Your right leg should be straight. Bend your left leg at the knee so that your left foot is coming toward your glutes. Grab the front of your left ankle with your left hand until you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh, but you are not in pain. Hold (no bouncing) for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

lying quad stretch

 

Calf Stretch

Find a stable surface, like a wall or a desk. Be sure you are able to keep your balance. Flexing your right foot, place your toes on the wall while keeping your heel on the ground. Leaning forward will help you feel more of a stretch in your calf. After holding for 20-30 seconds, switch to the left leg. 

calf stretching