When it comes to keeping your quad muscles strong and healthy, stretching is as important to your routine as strengthening exercises are. Lying quad stretches really target the front of your legs to open your quads and hip flexors.
In general, stretching plays two roles: “Static stretching afterward loosens those tight muscles and helps improve flexibility to increase the body’s range of motion,” explains Mary Beth Rockwell, CPT.
Stretching can also improve your workouts.
“A dynamic (or moving) pre-workout stretch helps prepare your muscles for the workout to come,” says Rockwell.
When it comes to your quads, tightness can cause body misalignment and pain.
“Tight quads can pull the pelvis out of alignment, which can then snowball into pain in the low back or knees,” says Rockwell.
“The more you sit, the tighter your quads can get — so it’s important to get up and give them a stretch every once in a while,” she explains.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, here are three of our favorite lying quad stretches.
1. Lying Prone Quad Stretch With Strap
For those who sit a lot throughout the day, Rockwell recommends setting a reminder to move, starting with this stretch.
This one 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 in front of you, creating an “L” shape.
- Loop your strap around your right foot. Grasp the strap with your right hand and hold it taut.
- Roll over 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 glute.
- You should feel a stretch in your right quad. Keep your hips pressed to the floor and slight tension in your abs to reduce any tension in your low back.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Release the tension on the strap.
- Repeat this stretch on the left side.
2. Lying Side Quad Stretch
This side-lying quad stretch is a good stretch when you don’t have a yoga strap on hand. It’s also a challenge for your balance!
- Lie on your right side, stacking your left leg on top of your right leg and placing your right hand near your right ear to prop up your head.
- Bend your left leg. Reach your left hand down to grab the top of your left foot.
- Pull your left foot toward your left glute. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
- To increase the stretch, make sure your left knee is stacked on top of your right knee. Gently engage your abs, tucking your pelvis to increase the stretch further.
- You should feel this stretch in your left quad.
- Release the tension.
- Roll to your left side and repeat this stretch on the right.
3. Quad Foam Roll
Roll for at least a minute, holding (and breathing!) in any spot that needs more attention.
- Lie facedown on the floor with your legs straight and a foam roller under your quads. Prop yourself up on your forearms.
- Slowly roll your quad muscles from the top of your thighs to just above the knees.