Leg Stretches

leg stretches

The muscles of the leg compose a major portion of the overall body mass in most fitness trainers. It is therefore important to ensure the muscles are stretched to avoid stiffness, improve circulation and enhance recovery. The leg muscles are recruited during most fitness activities, therefore improving recovery and ensuring the legs remain supple and flexible is paramount. Bodybuilders and weight trainers may benefit from post workout stretching, with many trainers reporting improved recovery and decrease in post work soreness when implementing stretching within the cool down period. Lets take a look at some leg stretches.

Standing hamstring stretch

Stand in front of a raised platform. Lift one leg onto the raised platform whilst the leg remains straight to supply a stretch to the hamstrings. The higher the platform the more intense the stretch will become, so increasing the height over the long term is a great way to progress with flexibility. Leaning forward and reaching towards the toes of the stretched leg can aid in the intensity of the stretch.

Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.

Bent over hamstring stretch

Stand upright whilst placing the majority of your bodyweight onto one foot. Move the opposite foot forwards by a couple of foot whilst maintaining bodyweight is placed upon the other leg. Bend forwards and reach to the toes of the front foot to stretch the hamstrings. Do not bounce with this stretch.

Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.

Standing quadriceps stretch

Stand upright with the majority of your bodyweight supported by one leg. Fully bend the other knee so the foot is brought up to the buttocks. Use one hand to apply a continued force to the foot to ensure the quadriceps are stretched. The other hand can be used for support if needed. The intensity of the stretch can be enhanced by bending forward slightly, if balance allows.

Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.

Adductor stretch

Sit on the floor with the torso erect and the knees bent with the sole of the feet touching each other. Ensure the feet are as close to the body as possible. Grasp the ankle of the corresponding leg and allow the elbow to push the knee downwards towards the floor to stretch the groin area.

Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds.

Abductor stretch

Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front. Bend one leg and place the foot to the opposite side of the outstretched leg, so the thigh crosses over the thigh of the outstretched leg. Bring the arm which is of the opposite side of the leg which is being crossed and place the hand on the floor, on the opposite side, so the arm is now crossed with the bent thigh. From this position it is now possible to force the knee of the bent leg further to supply a stretch to the hip abductor muscles.

Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.

Calf stretches will be covered in another entry, with muscle fascia stretching also covered for enhancing the hypertrophy of the calf. Performing these leg stretches will be ideal after exercising the legs, whether that is with heavy and intense weight training, or a long distance run or bike ride. Exercising and targeting the adductor and abductor muscles with stretching is ideal for those who are susceptible to hip and groin injuries. Sports which require a lot of explosive movements would also require strong, flexible and supple hip adductors and abductors.

Bodybuilders and weight trainers who have aesthetics as their primarily goal may benefit from intense fascia stretching post work. The muscle fascia is a tissue sack which surrounds the muscle to aid in support and stability. Many advanced bodybuilders intensely stretch post work to try to stretch the fascia, to lessen the constriction and therefore improve muscle hypertrophy.

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