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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

9 Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During & After Workout

9 Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During & After Workout

What’s the quad you ask? The quadricep muscle is located in the upper half of your leg and at the front of your thigh. It’s the big strong muscle that goes from the top of your knee through to your waist, and when you overwork it during a workout it can hurt, make you feel tired, and make for a real tough day.

If you are concerned that a workout is proving more pain than gain, and that you’re feeling tired and inefficient in your work and personal life, some quad stretching will do you good. Provided that your doctor has given you the thumbs up to workout, quad stretches will give you the power up and perk you crave in your day to day.

While stretching cannot completely relieve you from muscle pain, quad stretches may temporarily help ease the pressure. You can try these stretches in the office, at home, or at the gym.

So let’s get into it. Here are the top 9 most effective quads stretches to help you reduce muscle pain after that gruelling workout.

1. Lying Side Quad Stretch

The lying side quad stretch is fantastic if you are having issues with your knee or if you would rather recline than standing up, be it for balance or ease. To do this quad stretch effectively, carry out the following steps:

  • Lie down on either side propping your head up with one hand and bent elbow. Pull your outer foot towards your head until you feel the quad muscle activate. If you are having trouble with staying steady, bend your bottom knee as this will help keep an overall balance.
  • Hold the lying quad stretch for about 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat for your other quad muscle.

2. Easy Quad Stretch

The easy quad stretch can be done anywhere, anytime, but requires a little more balance than the lying stretch just covered. It’s one of the most common stretches that you’ll see people do and can be easily done in the office to make your workday feel great. To achieve this stretch, perform the following steps:

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  • Stand straight on one leg. If you are struggling to balance, use a wall, a chair, or an unassuming friend, to keep you balanced.
  • Grab your non balancing foot with your corresponding hand, and pull upwards toward your torso. Ensure you maintain your chest upright. Keep your focus on achieving a good stretch from this quad and feel the day to day efficiency benefits the next day.
  • Hold for approximately 30 seconds, and then stretch the other leg exactly the same way.

3. Kneeling Quad Stretch

For a slightly different effect from reclined and standing stretches, the kneeling quad stretch relaxes muscles located right above your knee as well.

This stretch is ideal if you’re pregnant or elderly as there is reduced pressure and balance required on the rest of the body. You can use a soft cushion or pillow under the knee if you find the floor uncomfortable.

To achieve this quad stretch, carry out the following steps:

  • Begin in a high lunge position, stepping your right foot forward. Drop your left knee slowly to the ground.
  • Take a deep breath and slowly adjust to remain balanced. Reach back for your left foot and grab your toes with your left arm, once you are stabilized.
  • Hold this quad stretch for about 30 seconds. Once time is up, slowly release your hold on the left foot, then come back to a high lunge position. Switch sides and follow the same steps for the other knee.

4. Pigeon Twist

This yoga pose stretch is more challenging than the other ones we’ve been through, but fantastic for stretching quads and giving you more energy and less workout pain throughout your busy day.

To achieve this quad stretch, carry out the following steps:

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  • Begin in a downward facing dog position. Bring forward your right knee between your hands forming a pigeon pose.
  • Rest your right hand next to your right chin, then bend your left knee.
  • Using your left hand, reach for your left foot and gently press your left foot’s sole in the direction of your left hip.
  • Put your right on top of your left foot and slightly twist to the left side. Wrapping your left hand round your back as shown in the picture above. If possible, grab onto your upper right thigh located in front of your hip.
  • Using your hands, press into your body, getting deeper into the twist. Hold on here for about five breaths before releasing your hands and straightening out your left leg.
  • Twisting your body back towards the right and plant your palms on either side of your right knee.
  • Stepping your right leg back, come into the downward facing dog position for one complete breath. Now bring forward your left knee in between your hands. Rinse and repeat for the other side.

5. Frog Pose

The frog pose stretches both quads at the same time; a good time saver if you’re looking for a quick tiredness fix. However, this move will also give you a wonderful stretch on your shoulders and chest.

To achieve this pose, carry out the following steps:

  • Lie down on your stomach and prop your chest up with your elbows, then bend your knees reaching your hands out back in order to hold on to your feet.
  • Now turn your fingers ensuring that they point in similar direction as your toes and lift up your elbows, ensuring that they point toward the ceiling. You can then lift your torso as high as possible to feel the muscles activate.
  • In case you experience pain in your knees during this, refrain from pressing your foot down too hard. Alternatively, you can perform one side at a time if you find this quad stretch too challenging.
  • Hold on here for approximately five deep breaths and release.

6. Straight Leg Raises

In case your knee hurts after a workout, begin with this simple strengthening stretch for your quadriceps. Straight leg raises will put little to no strain on your knees.

To achieve this stretch, carry out the following steps:

  • Lie on the floor with your back on any other flat surface. A gym or yoga mat will make this more comfortable
  • Bend one knee, and place the other flat and straight on the floor.
  • Keeping your other leg bent on the floor, raise the flat leg to the height of your bent knee.
  • Repeat this move 10 to 15 times for three sets to get the most out of it, and to feel great the next day.

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7. Hamstring Curls

The hamstrings are muscles located along the back end of your thighs, so the other side of your quads. Whilst a hamstring curl predominantly stretches that muscle, it also activates the quad. Two birds, one stone!

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by lying flat on your stomach.
  • Bring your heels slowly up and as close to your back hip as possible. Hold this position.
  • Perform three sets of 15.
  • You can perform this move standing up also, while holding a chair and lifting one leg at a time. In case you find this too easy why not add a weight on your ankle, gradually increasing the weight from one to five pounds.

8. Prone Straight Leg Raises

The prone straight leg raise takes into account a lot of elements to the quad stretches we have covered so far. You’ll also need a bit of flexibility in order to do this efficiently and feel the benefits.

To achieve this quad stretch, carry out the following steps:

  • Lie down on your stomach and keep your legs stretched out.
  • Tighten the muscles in the hamstring of both legs, lifting one leg toward the ceiling.
  • Hold on this position for about 5 seconds. Lower your lifted leg, and repeat.
  • Perform 10 to 15 lifts, then switch sides for the other leg. You can add more ankle weights while gaining strength.
  • Remember, you should not feel back pain during this stretch. In case you do, consider limiting how high you lift your leg or revert to one of the other quad stretches covered.

9. Wall Squats

The wall squats is an advanced quad stretch that activates a lot of other muscles too.

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To achieve this quad stretch, carry out the following steps:

  • Keeping your feet on the floor and shoulder length apart, stand up with your back against the wall.
  • Bend your knees slowly, and keep your pelvis and back against the wall.
  • Hold this position for about 10 seconds. Do not bend too low. In case you feel discomfort or pressure in your knees, consider reducing the bend and alleviating the pressure in the stretch.
  • Repeat this move 3-5 times, trying to hold the sitting position a few seconds more each time.

Are These Quad Stretches Worth It?

The overall benefits of quad stretching is indisputable. Feeling often tired, unable to do what you want to do after a stressful workout do happens.

Quad stretches helps increase the range of motion around your and also loosens up stiffness in your muscles. This will help your muscles withstand exertion better after a stressful workout.

When your tendons and muscles are not stretched, they will not work properly as well. This may escalate the chances of you developing a particular tear or strain.

In case you feel you have a severe muscle pain, it is advisable that you see your doctor. However, if the pain is bearable, it is advisable that you go by the general rule RICE: “Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.” Also, avoid the moves until the pain is bearable.

More Stretches for a Flexible Body

Featured photo credit: Matthew LeJune via unsplash.com

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Angus King

Professional working in the cycling industry

9 Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During & After Workout

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

Benefits of Static Stretches

Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

Improved Flexibility

If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

Prevent Injuries

If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

Think of it this way:

When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

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However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

Improvement in Recovery

If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

  • Improved relaxation
  • Increased movement efficiency
  • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
  • Reduction in muscle tension
  • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
  • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
  • Relief from cramping

15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

1. Neck Stretch

    While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

    Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

    2. Chest Stretch

      Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

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      3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

      Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

        Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

        4. Triceps Static Stretch

          Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

          Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

          5. Biceps Stretch

          Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

            Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

            6. Wrist Stretch

            11 Best Tennis Elbow Exercises For Pain Free Mobility [PDF]

              While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

              7. Side Stretch

                Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

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                8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                  Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                  9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                  Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                    Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                    Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    10. Knees to Chest

                    Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                      Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                      11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                      How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                        Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                        12. Figure 4 Stretch

                        How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                          Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                          13. Standing Quad Stretch

                            Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

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                            Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                            14. Hamstring Stretch

                              Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                              Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                              15. Calf Stretch

                                Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                The Bottom Line

                                Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

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                                Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                More Tips on Stretching

                                Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

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