Knowing the best quad stretches is vital to your upper leg health. And performing these stretches on a routine basis will not only keep your quads healthy and supple, but also help you to avoid injury.
The quadriceps are large, four-headed muscles situated on the front side of your thighs. It originates from the waist and goes down to your knees, where it inserts and produces knee extension.
While it may seem like a straightforward muscle group, your quadriceps, like all other muscles, can benefit from regular stretching. (1)
Today, we’ll go over exactly why that is. We’ll also share five of the best quad stretches you should perform regularly.
The Five Best Quad Stretches
Standing Quad Stretch
This is a classic quad stretch, and you’ve probably had a sports coach who had you perform it as a kid.
Stand tall, raise one heel back as you grab your ankle and bend your knee.
Pull your ankle up as far as you comfortably can.
Once you feel a deep stretch in the quadriceps, hold for 10 to 30 seconds and release.
Then, repeat for your other leg.
Prone Lying Quad Stretch
Lie face down on the floor with your arms to your sides and toes against the floor.
Grab one foot and pull it toward you as shown, bending your knee as much as you comfortably can.
Pull your foot until you feel a deep stretch in your quad muscle.
Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
Repeat with your other leg.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
Assume a kneeling position, and extend one foot forward, planting it firmly in front of you.
Grab your right foot as shown, pulling it up until you feel a deep stretch in your quads.
Once you feel your quad stretching well, hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Switch position to stretch the other quad.
All Fours Quad Stretch
Assume a position on the floor on “all fours” looking down as shown.
Grab your left ankle and pull your leg upward until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Continue to pull your ankle until you feel a deep stretch in your quad muscle.
Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
Then repeat with your right leg.
Lying Quad Stretch
Lie flat on the floor, face up, with your legs extended.
Grab your right foot and pull it up to your side as your knee bends.
Pull your foot to your side until you feel a deep stretch in your quad muscle.
Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Recover, and then repeat with your left leg to stretch your left quad muscle.
The Importance of Stretching Your Quads
The most apparent reason you should stretch your quads is to improve your flexibility and prevent them from getting in the way. This leads to a better range of motion and a decreased risk of muscle or joint-related injuries down the road.
Another reason why you should stretch your calves is to boost your performance. Short and stiff muscles are prone to spasms, and some research finds that it could also hinder strength output. By stretching regularly, you prevent that from happening.
And if you do HIIT cardio routines, then stretching your quads is a must. Along with great hydration, stretching frequently will help you to avoid injury and pulled muscles when doing HIIT. And if you neglect these things, then you’re going to pull a muscle, it’s just a matter of when!
Stretching also helps improve blood flow to the area, which can alleviate symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speed up post-training recovery. (2)
And finally, stretching your quads takes little time and effort. You also don’t need any equipment to do it. So, you have no excuse not to get started.
Click to return to more stretching routines.
1. Kastner, J. (2011). Quadriceps stretches. SportsRec. https://www.sportsrec.com/387727-quadriceps-stretches.html.
2. Cheung, K., Hume, P., & Maxwell, L. (2003). Delayed onset muscle soreness : Treatment strategies and performance factors. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12617692/.