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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 March 3, 2021

10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

Building muscle is one of the best ways to help you feel better about your appearance, but it’s also a great way to improve your physical efficiency, stabilize your bones and joints, and reduce risk of injury in everyday life. However, most people aren’t sure how to go about building muscle in the best way.

By carefully selecting the time of your workout, the combination of techniques, and the proper post-workout snacks, you can maximize your workout to build strength and muscle. Here are the essential tips you need to know.

1. Work out at the Right Time of Day

The time of day when you choose to work out can make all the difference when it comes to working out to your maximum potential. Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, says that working out in the morning is best for weight loss due to the body’s hormonal composition at that time. If you really want to lose fat, exercise on an empty stomach[1].

Now, if your goal is to build muscle, you’ll want to eat something first. This means that an afternoon or evening workout can serve you better as your body will have the necessary nutrients to perform well during a workout.

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Ultimately, the best time to work out is the time of day that fits into your schedule. Not everyone has the luxury of working out in the morning or right after work. If you’re able to stick to a schedule, it will help you on your journey to building muscle.

If you need help just getting started and finding motivation to get to the gym, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost.

2. Weights Before Cardio

If your goal is to lose weight or build muscle mass, strength training should come first, according to researchers. Furthermore, studies have shown that “Moderate- to high-intensity endurance training decreases the efficacy of strength training.” Therefore, if you’re going to train for a marathon, do so after you lift weights.[2]

3. Eat Often (and More)

Keep your energy up and give your body plenty of fuel for building muscle by eating small meals every three hours or so. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, ideally the equivalent amount of protein in grams as your current body weight in pounds. For example, a 150-pound man would aim to take in 150 grams of protein per day.

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When trying to build muscle, aim to eat 250 to 500 calories more than you normally would, but don’t go too far beyond that. Your body may store the extra calories as body fat if it doesn’t use them during or after the workout.

4. Eat a Snack After You Work out

After a workout, your body will need a good dose of protein and amino acids in order to aid in muscle growth and recovery. This is essential to building muscle, as without the recovery, you can open yourself up to muscle strain and injury.

You should aim to eat this high-protein snack within about 60 minutes of ending your workout. This will help the muscles absorb the nutrients when they need them. Try yogurt, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, nuts, or a protein shake as a great post-workout snack.

5. Stay Hydrated

The last thing you need complicating your workout is a cramp or fatigue, so drinking water before, during, and after your workout for best results. This will also aid in the recovery process as the muscles will use water to heal.

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6. Never Skip the Warm up or Cool Down

Stretching prevents muscle strain, helps blood more easily reach the joints and muscles, and can help lower cholesterol when done as part of a yoga or Pilates routine. Muscles also need to realign themselves after an intense workout, which a few minutes of stretching can help to accomplish.

7. Combine Compound and Isolate Movements

While isolating certain muscles is important, you need to alternate compound motions as well, which will target multiple muscle groups at once. Compound workouts are good for beginners and for toning certain parts of the body. They’ll also burn more calories and increase your mobility.

Compound movements include squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups. These target several muscles groups at once. If you find that one muscle group is weaker than the rest, you can incorporate isolate movements to build it up.

8. Gradually Increase Your Weights

Increase the weight you’re lifting on each exercise by about 5 percent each week. If you bench-pressed 100 pounds this week, for example, then next week you should try doing 105 pounds. This gradual increase will yield the best muscle building results without overly straining your body.

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9. Budget the Correct Amount of Time for Your Workout

Studies have found that working out a muscle group two times a week is the best way to start building muscle more quickly. You will certainly see some results by only working a muscle group once a week, but try twice to give yourself a boost.

Also, you don’t need to spend two hours in the gym each time you go. 20 to 30 minutes of weight lifting and strength training will help you see results and increase your muscle mass. If you go to the gym for an hour, try varying your workout a bit in order to avoid overworking a certain muscle group.

10. Look in the Mirror

Try to do all of your weight lifting in front of a mirror. That way, you can correct your posture and make sure you are fully extending your muscles. Correct form means means maximized results.

This will likely feel strange at first, especially if you feel self conscious at the gym. However, know that this is normal and what many seasoned weight lifters do to ensure proper form.

The Bottom Line

Building muscle is a worthy goal to have as it will ultimately improve your everyday life from the ground up. You’ll find that everyday tasks become easier and that you have more energy for both your workouts and personal life. Use the tips above to start building muscle today.

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Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

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