When it comes to keeping your quad muscles strong and healthy, stretching is just as important to your routine as strength training. The lying quad stretch really targets the front of your leg to open up your quads and hip flexors.
In general, stretching serves two roles: “Static stretching then loosens those tight muscles and helps improve flexibility to increase the body’s range of motion,” explains trainer Mary Beth Rockwell.
Stretching can also improve your workouts.
“A dynamic (or moving) pre-workout stretch helps prepare your muscles for the workout,” says Rockwell.
When it comes to your quads, tightness can lead to body misalignment and pain.
“Tight quads can pull the pelvis out of alignment, which can then lead to lower back or knee pain,” says Rockwell.
“The more you sit, the tighter your quads can become—so it’s important to get up and stretch them at the same time,” she explains.
If you need some inspiration, here are three of our favorite lying quad stretches.
1. Lying prone quadriceps stretch with straps
For those who sit a lot throughout the day, Rockwell recommends setting a reminder to move, starting with this stretch.
It 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, forming an “L” shape.
- Loop your strap around your right leg. 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 glute.
- You should feel a stretch in your right quad. Keep your hips pressed into the floor and keep your abs slightly tight to reduce any tension in your lower abdomen.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Release the tension on the strap.
- Repeat this stretch on the left side.
2. Stretch the false side quadrant
This side-lying quad stretch is a good stretch if you don’t have yoga straps handy. It’s also a challenge for your balance!
- Lie on your right side, stack your left leg over your right leg and place your right hand near your right ear above your head.
- Bend your left leg. Reach your left hand down to grab the top of your left foot.
- Pull your left leg 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, tilting and extending your pelvis.
- You should feel this stretch in your left quad.
- Release the tension.
- Roll to your left side and repeat this stretch on the right side.
3. Quad foam roll
Foam rolling your quads can help improve recovery and reduce soreness after exercise.
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 quads. Raise yourself up on your forearms.
- Slowly roll your quad muscles from the top of your thigh to just above the knee.