Stretching your legs is one of the best things you can do for your body. You too can benefit from these stretches, which will come in handy after an operation or if you suffer from heavy legs. If you practice activities such as running or cycling, it would be good to include leg stretches. Should I stretch my legs before training or after ? There is some controversy about when it is best to do this, so find the best time for you. We recommend doing stretches as part of the warm-up of an exercise routine. Remember that a muscle that has not been properly warmed up is at greater risk of injury. Do a light warm-up that includes dynamic stretching whenever you exercise. You can also do your leg stretches after running .
Stretching your legs has several interesting benefits:
- • Strengthens the muscle and prepares it for subsequent exercises.
- • Prevents muscle injuries.
- • Increases muscle flexibility.
- • Stretching can even increase height a little (all stretches encourage this).
However, flexibility is not easy to achieve and genetics has a lot to do with it. Some people are simply less flexible than others. You may need several weeks of regular stretching to improve the mobility of your joints . Learn a wide selection of beginner leg stretches and their names . Let's look at all the exercises you can do!
Best leg stretching exercises
Many of us are looking for a list of stretches for heavy legs . This condition makes it difficult for us to sit, stand, or even walk. Leg elongation exercise can help us a lot to alleviate the feeling of heavy legs, which normally occurs due to long periods of time we remain seated (this causes our muscles to shorten).
Even a tough leg workout at the gym can cause muscle strain. Do you go to the gym? So, recover your muscles with stretches. Not only strength is important, but also flexibility. Relieves muscle shortening and tension by returning the muscles to their full functional length. After putting our recommended stretches into practice, your legs will have a healthier range of motion. Look in detail at each leg stretch with the drawing .
Stretching the legs while lying on the back
The piriformis is a small muscle found deep in the buttocks. When this muscle becomes tight, you may feel tingling or numbness in your legs.
To stretch, lie on your back with both legs extended. Bring the other knee to your chest. Without lifting your head or shoulders off the floor, use your opposite hand to gently bring your knee across the midline of your body. You should feel a slight stretch in your glutes and lower back.
- Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
We recommend purchasing a stretching and abdominal mat , as it will be suitable for all floor exercises.
Stretching in deadlift position
This leg stretching exercise is done while standing, starting from the posture of the famous bodybuilding exercise called deadlift (a strength movement). In this case, we will do the deadlift without load and to stretch the hamstrings.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your chest up and gently bend your knees. Lean forward from the hips to push your glute back. Try bringing your arms toward your toes until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings .
Then, reverse the movement. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips and repeat.
- Do about 25-30 repetitions. You can also do the exercise with a pair of light weights.
Vastus medialis quadriceps stretch
The inner quadriceps muscles help stabilize the hip and knee joints. Inner leg exercises are often recommended because they tone and strengthen the muscles.
Stand up with your legs wide open. Lean your right leg forward a little. Move your entire torso to the right until you feel a stretch in your left thigh.
- Breathe relaxed and then repeat the exercise with your left leg (to feel the stretch in your right leg).
Stretching the hip flexor muscles is as important as stretching the legs , especially after we have spent a long time sitting.
Start on the floor, bending your knee and standing on one leg. Gently squeeze your posterior glute. Now, keeping tension in your glute, gently lean forward until you feel the stretch in your quadriceps .
- Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with the other side of the body.
Basic Quadriceps Stretch
The quadriceps are at the front of the thigh. We use the quadriceps muscles when walking, running or taking strides.
For this lower body stretch , you have to start standing and preferably near a wall. Put one hand on the wall for balance. Bend one leg and support the foot with your hand. You have to bring your leg behind you while keeping your thighs and knees together.
Feel a mild to moderate stretch in the front of your thigh.
- To do the standing quadriceps stretch , keep your breathing relaxed and do the same with the other leg.
Post-run leg stretch
This leg stretch is recommended for runners. Put it into practice if you want to relieve tension in your calves and ankles after long walks and runs .
First, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly, lean forward from the waist, and place your palms next to the outer edges of your feet.
Now, bend your right knee and extend your left leg behind you. Place the ball of your left foot on the floor. Depending on your flexibility and comfort level, lower your hips to stretch your body. You should feel the stretch in your hip flexors, quads, and calves.
- Hold the position for no more than 30 seconds before changing legs. This is a leg and hip stretch .
6 leg stretches with recommended devices
In this section, you will see new ways to stretch your legs with some devices. We advise you on the best machine to stretch your legs and some other products. You don't have to choose everything! Only what catches your attention or what you find useful. The best of our selection:
• They are devices and accessories that really work.
• They are much easier methods of leg stretching.
• Are cheap.
• They can be stored anywhere because they take up almost no space in the home.
Stretching with the leg stretcher
The adjustable leg stretcher is a highly recommended gem. It serves to stretch legs and flexibility , so you will get two benefits at the same time. It will be quite a challenge for you! Use it for months and months to stretch your legs a little more each time. You will gain more and more flexibility.
You can always have the leg extender at home to stretch your legs in bed or wherever you want. Buy it in your country (Spain, Peru, Mexico, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, USA), as it is usually cheap in most places. This device is widely used for martial arts and sports that require great flexibility in the legs.
Leg stretching machine
The operation is very similar to the previous device, but with a much more sophisticated and comfortable design, since it is like a seat with padded supports to place the body and legs. The leg stretching machine opens with a wheel . It is very comfortable and safe. In addition, adults and children can use it .
Use this stretching device to improve your flexibility at home. In fact, you can store the machine perfectly because it is foldable.
Resistance Band Leg Stretching Exercise
You can practice leg stretching at home with something as simple as one of those fitness resistance bands. It is perhaps the cheapest product you can buy to exercise. Pay attention to this exercise!
Place a mat on the floor and lie on your back. Place the rubber band under your foot and grab the other two ends of the rubber with both hands. If you grip the ends of the rubber closer to your foot, the band will offer more resistance. One of your legs will be bent with the foot touching the ground. Stretch your other leg with the band facing the ceiling until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Flex your foot and hold the position for 30 seconds. Alternate between one leg and the other.
Leg stretching exercise with gym ball
Stand in front of the gym ball. Stretch one leg and place your heel on top of the ball. If your leg is straight, you will notice the stretch behind the knee and thigh. If you press your leg down, you will stretch much further.
- Hold the position for about 30 seconds and alternate each leg.
Swiss gymnastics balls are very cheap.
Stretch your legs with a medicine ball
Get a medicine ball of a weight you can handle well and try the following exercise. It is an abdominal exercise, but you will notice great tension in the back of your legs.
Lie face up on a mat. Extend your legs in the air to form an "L" with your body. Grab the medicine ball with both arms behind your head. Do an abdominal crunch to bring the ball up to your legs with your arms. When the ball is close to your legs, you can hold the position for a few seconds to notice the stretch more.
If you want to make this exercise more difficult, try placing the medicine ball between your ankles.
For an added challenge, do sit-ups and place the ball between your ankles, keeping your legs steady. Lower yourself to the starting position with your arms extended above your head holding the ball between your feet. Do the abdominal crunch again, grab the ball and return to the starting position holding the ball above your head. Repeat the process.
There are more leg stretches you can do with a medicine ball. For example, the single-leg Romanian deadlift.
Dumbbell leg stretch
Even dumbbells , which are one of the cheapest products we can buy, can be used to do our stretches at home. You can also use kettlebell weights .
The most basic way to stretch your legs with dumbbells is the Romanian deadlift , which you can do both on one leg and on two legs.
Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your legs straight (you can bend your knees a little), try to lower your torso with your arms straight to bring the dumbbells below your knees. Dumbbells should remain close to your legs. When the dumbbells are down, try to hold the position for a few seconds to notice the stretch in your gluteus and hamstrings.
The one-leg version is the same, but when descending we take one leg back to give more work to the supporting leg. This requires a great balance. Alternate and do repetitions with each leg.
You can also do static lunges with dumbbells to stretch your legs.
As you can see, here you have 6 effective alternatives to achieve a good stretch in your legs and gain flexibility. These products are much cheaper than other options like the famous Precor stretching machine .
Are you interested? :
Other exercises to stretch legs without material!
If you are not interested in buying the stretching machine or investing your money in other products, don't worry! Here are other exercises to stretch your legs before bed . You can do this comfortably at home and you won't require any additional materials.
Femoral and calf stretch
The femoris are the muscles at the back of the thigh. The femoris runs from the thigh to the knee and helps bend the knee and move the hip. You use your hamstring muscles when you play sports or run.
The gastrocnemius muscles are located at the back of the leg. The calves help you move your heel during physical activities such as walking, running or jumping. It is possible to stretch the hamstrings and calves together.
Place your right foot in front of you. Lean your torso forward using your hips as a hinge. Direct your body towards your left leg, which will remain extended. Bend the knee of your supporting leg a little.
Now, slowly flex your left ankle so that your toes are facing your body.
- Maintain a relaxing breath and then repeat the exercise with the right leg.
Seated leg stretching exercise (hamstring)
Here we have more stretches for heavy legs . If you feel overload in your hamstrings, a simple exercise that you can do right in your chair can help.
Sit upright and extend one leg in front of you with your knee slightly bent. With your spine in a neutral position, move your body forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your extended leg.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Leg stretch in supination position
Let's see how to do a stretch with your legs up . This exercise works the lower back, thighs, calves and ankles. All of these areas are involved in daily activities such as running or cycling.
Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet touching the floor. Bend one of your knees, hugging it towards your body with your arms. Slowly kick that leg toward the ceiling and straighten it. Then, pull your leg toward your body until you feel a stretch in your back of leg.
- Do this movement of extending and bending your leg 3 times. Also, when your leg is up, rotate your ankle in circles up to 3 times.
- Repeat the process with the other leg.
90/90 Shin Box Stretch
To improve your hip mobility, use these leg stretches in physical therapy . This particular stretch encourages internal and external rotation of the hip.
Get on the floor while sitting with your knees bent. Your feet will be on the ground in front of you. Your hands will also be on the floor behind you. Your feet must maintain contact with the ground. Slide both knees to the right to place both legs on the floor. Hold the position for a moment before bringing your knees to the center and moving them to the left.
- Continue alternating knees for 30 to 60 seconds.
This movement serves to stretch the pelvis and groin to their end range, helping you maintain full range of motion at the hip.
Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing outward at a 45-degree angle.
Do a deep squat, keeping your spine upright and heels down. Press your elbows into your knees to more gently spread your thighs apart.
- Take a few deep breaths.
We will use this movement to stretch the hip joints and increase hip mobility. Remember that you must perform this exercise slowly and carefully.
You have to start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Now, spread your knees as far as you can and extend your feet outwards. If you can, lower yourself onto your forearms or cross your hands under your forehead and relax your upper body.
Lower your hips toward the floor and gently rock back. Stop the movement when you feel the stretch and rock forward again.
- Do this for 30 to 60 seconds.
The greatest stretch in the world
This movement stretches the leg muscles in the posterior chain (the back of the body).
Start in a plank position with your arms straight and your hands directly under your shoulders. Move your left foot away from your left hand. Tap your left elbow against your left foot, calf, or knee (this will depend on your mobility). Next, turn your body and extend your left arm above your head. Have your fingertips face the ceiling and follow the hand with your gaze.
- Return to the plank position and do the movement for the right side of the body.
Exercise to stretch your legs on the wall
The hamstrings start from the hip and reach the back of each knee. These muscles help bend the knee and extend the hip. These muscles can become overloaded as a result of sitting for a long time during the day. How to do daily stretches to improve hamstring mobility?
Place your arms straight against the wall. Put one leg forward (bent) and stretch the other one back. The leg that is left behind should remain straight. Notice how the femoral muscle stretches.
- Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and remember to relax during the stretch. You can stretch your standing hamstrings almost anytime, anywhere. This wall leg stretch is a convenient way to increase muscle flexibility.
Floor Calf Stretch
The gastrocnemius muscles run down from behind the knee to the back of the heel. Tightness in the calf muscles is common for most people. Sometimes this is due to wearing high heels. The tension can lead to ankle and foot problems such as Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.
You can easily stretch your calf by sitting on the floor with your legs straight and placing a towel or resistance band around your foot. Simply pull the towel or rubber band toward you to feel the stretch in your calf. You will be able to do this almost anywhere.
Another way is to do a classic runner's stretch for your calf muscles. Simply place both hands on the wall and leave your heels on the floor as you lean toward the wall. You should feel a slight stretch in the back of your legs.
Cross leg stretch
This last stretch is the best and simplest; Highly recommended by physiotherapists. Sit on the floor and bend one leg. Support the heel of the bent leg with the toes pointing upward. Now, place the ankle of your other leg behind the knee that is bent. Push with your bent leg back to feel the stretch in your thigh. Stretching with crossed legs is very effective.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE LEG STRETCHING EXERCISE ROUTINE IN PDF?
Go to the tools menu of your internet browser and select the "Print" option (you may also be able to access it by pressing "Ctrl + P"). In the section you will see, choose "Destination" and "Save as PDF" . Then, Press "Save" and you will have all these exercises to stretch your legs in PDF and you can consult them whenever you want.
In case you still want more exercises, we finish with a very instructive video with Patry Jordan's leg stretching routine . These are other exercises that we recommend.
This is our best selection of exercises to stretch legs . Here are 10+ leg stretching exercises for all parts: quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and hips. You have exercise options to do sitting and standing, and both with a leg stretching device and without equipment. Choose your leg flexibility exercise and work your legs and glutes. You may want to stretch your legs after training, for running and other sports activities. Start putting these exercises into practice! Both your mobility and flexibility will appreciate it.