Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 1, 2019

9 Most Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During and After Workout

9 Most Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During and 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:

Advertising

  • 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:

Advertising

  • 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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Featured photo credit: Matthew LeJune via unsplash.com

More by this author

Angus King

Professional working in the cycling industry

9 Most Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During and After Workout

Trending in Physical Strength

1 17 Healthy Late Night Snacks for When Midnight Cravings Hit 2 15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners 3 Possible Side Effects of Probiotics (And Why They Usually Pass) 4 12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It) 5 25 Healthy Habits for a Fitter Body and Happier Mind

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

Advertising

2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

Advertising

Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Advertising

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

Advertising

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

Read Next