Quadriceps Stretches

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The quadriceps are four muscles located in the anterior part, or front, or your thigh. This muscle group acts to extend the leg while straightening the knee. Running and biking, as well as daily activities, can result in tight quadricep muscles. Sometimes tightness in your quads may be a culprit in differnt injuries such a patellofemoral stress syndrome (PFSS) or iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBS). Your quads may also be tight if you have spinal stenosis or other related problems with your lumbar spine.

A stretching program for your quads is a great way to improve flexibility in this muscle group. Your physical therapist can assess your specific condition and offer you strategies to stretch your quads.

Here is a step-by-step quad stretching progression much like one that your PT may prescribe. Before trying this - or any other exercise program - check in with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do.

Standing Quadricep Stretch
What's so great about the standing quad stretch? You can do it anywhere! The standing quad stretch can be done in the office, at the gym, or outside just before a long run. If you can find a place to stand, you can do the standing quad stretch. Here is how you do it:

While standing, hold onto a counter top or chair back to assist in balance.
Bend your knee back by grasping your ankle with one hand.
Assist in bending your knee back as far as possible.
Maintain position for 30 seconds.
Return to standing position.
Repeat exercise 3 to 5 times with each leg.

Sidelying Quadricep Stretch
The sidelying quad stretch is a great way to get a good stretch to your quads. Being on the floor in a supported position can help you focus in on the stretch in your quads. Here is how you do the sidelying quad stretch:

Lie on your side.
Bend the knee of your top leg as far as you are able.
Maintain position for 30 seconds.
Return to starting position.
Repeat exercise 3 to 5 more times with each leg.
You can add a little iliotibial band stretch to this exercise simply by pulling your knee down towards the floor with your ankle. Just place your bottom ankle on to of your knee and gently pull it down towards the floor.