Stretching might not seem like the most fun or fancy thing you do when you’re working on getting fit, but it’s super important. It helps you get all limber and ready to go, which is crucial for making the most out of your workouts and your daily life.

That’s where leg stretches come into play. We’ve done some digging (pun totally intended!) and found the top seven stretches that can really help you become more flexible in your lower body.

Improving how bendy you are can help everyone feel better, but if you forget about your legs, you might end up feeling achy and stiff. If your muscles are super tight, you might notice it’s harder to do simple things like bending down or grabbing stuff from the ground. Those little struggles can be signs that your muscles need some extra TLC.

When your leg muscles are tight, it can throw off how you stand or walk, which might cause discomfort in your back, hips, or knees. It’s like your body is out of tune! Another clue that your flexibility might need some TLC? Your legs might feel stiff or achy, especially after you’ve been sitting around or after you’ve been active.

Stretching regularly is super important, especially for your legs. It helps keep everything limber and feeling good. If you can stretch every day, that’s awesome! You’ll see improvements in how flexible you are pretty quickly. But if you’re busy, that’s okay too! Just a few times a week can still make a big difference, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

What is American College of Sports Medicine? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. They provide guidelines and recommendations for exercise and fitness professionals, as well as the general public, to promote safe and effective physical activity.

And if right now you’re looking for a guide for leg stretching exercises, this blog is perfect for you! So keep reading and be ready to find out suitable leg stretching exercises for your own!

6 Stretching benefits

Before dive into the stretching exercises, let’s get to know the benefits of stretching, and here are six really cool benefits of stretching that experts totally support. So, if you’re thinking about adding these leg stretches to your workout routine, you’re on the right track!

Makes Moving Easier

Leg stretching makes moving easier
Leg stretching makes moving easier

Stretching a lot helps your body move smoothly and without any hitch. Karly Mendez, who knows a lot about how our bodies work, says, “Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and helps your joints move like they’re supposed to. That’s super important for doing everyday stuff without any trouble!”

Helps You Do Better and Stay Safe

Studies (those are like super smart investigations) have shown that stretching can make your muscles stronger and more agile, and it can even help prevent injuries. When your joints can move all the way, your muscles work better and stay healthier.

See also  How I Learned To Backflip In 6 Hours (Neck Injury)

Experts recommend doing dynamic stretching (that’s when you move your body while stretching) before sports or workouts, and passive stretching (when you hold a stretch) after you’re done moving around. It’s like giving your muscles a nice stretchy hug after a workout!

Boosts Blood Flow

When you stretch your legs, it’s like giving them a nice little massage. Karly Mendez, our expert on all things body-related, explains, “Stretching the legs helps increase blood flow to the muscles. This means more nourishment for your muscles, so they can work their best.” With better blood flow, your muscles can recover faster after a workout, which is pretty neat!

Eases Back Pain

Tight muscles can be a real pain in the back, literally! When your muscles are tight, they don’t let your spine move like it should, which can lead to aches and stiffness. But here’s the good news: stretching can help!

A study from 2023 found that stretching not only made back pain go away right away but also helped keep it from coming back in the long run. So, stretching those legs might just be the ticket to a happier, pain-free back!

Enhances Posture

Believe it or not, the tightness in your leg muscles can have a big impact on how you sit and stand. Karly Mendez, our go-to expert, explains, “Your spine has a natural little curve. But if your hamstrings are tight, they can tilt your pelvis backward, flattening that curve and making you hunch over.”

Similarly, tight hip flexors (those muscles in the front of your hips) from sitting all day can tug your pelvis forward, leading to slouching and eventually, back pain.

Eases Away Stress

Feeling a bit on edge? Well, here’s some good news: stretching can help you chill out. A study from 2013 found that following a stretching routine helped people feel less anxious, stressed, and achy.

Plus, it can give your mood a nice little boost! Scientists think that static stretching (where you hold a stretch) activates something called the parasympathetic nervous system, which basically helps you relax by dialing down the amount of stress hormone your body makes. So, next time you’re feeling stressed, try stretching those legs for some instant relaxation!

6 Recommended leg stretching exercises for you

The World’s Greatest Stretch

The World’s Greatest Stretch
The World’s Greatest Stretch

It’s called the “World’s Greatest Stretch” for a reason—it’s amazing! This move is like a lunge mixed with a twist, and it works wonders for stretching all the important muscles in your body. This stretch is a mix of stillness and movement, so it’s perfect to kick off your stretching routine. It’ll help loosen up your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, quads, and calves. Plus, it’ll give your chest, arms, and spine a nice stretch too!

  • Get into a high plank position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight behind you.
  • Step your right foot forward into a lunge position, keeping your foot outside of your hands.
  • Twist your torso to the right, reaching your right arm up toward the ceiling while keeping your left arm on the ground.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then return to plank position.
  • Switch sides, stepping your left foot forward and twisting to the left.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.
See also  How to Learn a Backflip (Without BREAKING Your NECK)

Hip 90-90 Stretch

If you want to give your hips some extra love, this stretch is perfect! It helps increase flexibility by stretching muscles that rotate your hip both internally and externally. You’ll feel it working on muscles like your abductors, adductors, glutes, hip flexors, and piriformis.

  • Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle, with your knee and ankle resting on the ground.
  • Extend your other leg to the side, also bent at a 90-degree angle with your knee and ankle on the ground.
  • Keep both knees pointing in the same direction.
  • If your knees don’t comfortably touch the ground, use a yoga block or rolled-up towel under your front leg’s hip for support.
  • Sit up straight and evenly distribute your weight on both hips.
  • Hold for 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat for 2 to 5 reps on each side.

Pigeon Pose Stretch

After a long day of sitting, your hips will thank you for this stretch! It’s great for opening up your hips and improving flexibility and mobility. This stretch targets your hip flexors, glutes, piriformis, and groin.

  • Start in a downward dog position.
  • Lift your right leg up toward the ceiling and then bring it forward until your right knee is bent in front of you.
  • Your left leg should be straight behind you, with the top of your left foot resting on the ground.
  • Keep your pelvis facing forward, and your spine straight.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds while keeping your arms stretched out in front for support.
  • Return to downward dog position and switch sides, repeating 3 to 4 times on each side.

Piriformis Stretch

If you’re dealing with sciatica or pain in your glutes, this stretch is a real game-changer. It targets a muscle called the piriformis, which is deep in your glutes.

  • Lie down on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross one leg over the other so that the ankle of one leg rests on the knee of the other.
  • Reach your hands behind your thigh (just below the knee) and gently pull both knees towards your chest until you feel a nice stretch in your buttock.
  • Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Aim to do this stretch 3 to 5 times on each side.

Foldover Stretch

Foldover stretch
Foldover stretch

This stretch is fantastic for loosening up your hamstrings, hips, and calves, while also giving your lower back some love.

  • Stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms hanging by your sides.
  • Slowly bend forward at your hips, reaching towards the ground.
  • Keep your legs straight and your heels planted on the floor.
  • It’s okay if your knees have a slight bend, but try not to lock them.
  • If you can’t touch the floor, you can bend your knees slightly or use a yoga block for support until you become more flexible.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Slowly rise back up to standing.
  • Repeat this stretch 3 to 5 times.

Standing Quad Stretch

This stretch targets your quadriceps, the big muscles at the front of your thighs.

  • Stand tall, holding onto a chair or a stable surface for support.
  • Shift your weight onto one leg and grab onto your opposite ankle or shin with the hand on the same side.
  • Pull your heel towards your glutes, keeping your knee pointing towards the ground and your thigh in line with your body.
  • You should feel a nice stretch along the front of your thigh.
  • Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Aim for 5 to 10 repetitions on each side.
See also  Shoulder stretching exercises

If you are interested in related exercises, this YOUTUBE video right below may be helpful for you to explore the world of related exercises! Check it out!

Leave a reply