Heavy Leg Day? Easy Leg Stretching Exercises To Try
Are you exhausted after a heavy leg day? If you feel like you've just crawled out of the gym after a particularly strenuous leg workout, then the leg stretching exercises mentioned below are for you. We're talking quads, hamstrings, and calves—you know, the big guns!
To help you curate a routine, we've put together a great list of easy leg stretching exercises that can help ease some of that post-workout pain. Whether your muscles are screaming for rest or you're looking for exercises to help improve mobility, this guide on easy leg stretches should be able to help.
Lower Body Stretches: Easy Leg Stretching Exercises To Try
The leg stretching exercise that you can try post lower-body workout can be picked from this list:
1) Quad Stretch
The Quad Stretch is a great way to stretch your quadriceps, a group of four muscles at the front of your thighs. Your hamstrings are the muscles that run down the backs of your thighs and play important roles in squats, lunges, and other leg exercises.
How to do this leg stretching exercise?
- To start, stand near a wall.
- Bend your left leg up toward your butt.
- Grab your partner's ankle with your left hand, and straighten your back.
- Your knees should remain close together throughout the stretch, and your spine should be in a neutral posture.
- Hold for 20 seconds, then release.
- For a deeper stretch, pull your heel in toward your buttocks.
- If you can't reach your ankle or want a gentler stretch, loop a towel or yoga strap around it.
2) Downward Facing Dog
This leg stretching exercise works the hamstrings and calves, which power exercises like hamstring curls and Romanian deadlifts. Downward-facing dog is one of the most common yoga postures performed by many athletes and advanced weightlifters.
How to do the downward-facing dog pose?
- On your hands and knees, straighten your arms and lift your hips.
- Lower your heels toward the floor, stopping if you feel any pain or discomfort.
- Do not move closer to your hands to touch your heels to the floor, and keep your spine flat throughout this stretch.
- Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds before easing into a resting position.
3) Butterfly Stretch
The Butterfly Stretch is a great way to relieve tightness in your legs. It targets several muscle groups, including your inner thighs, hips, and lower back—all key muscles for performing side lunges and sumo squats.
To perform this easy leg stretching exercises:
- Sit with your legs out in front of you on a yoga mat.
- Bending your legs toward your groin, ensure that the soles of your feet touch.
- Hold both feet with your hands, rest your elbows on your knees, and keep your back straight while gently pushing your knees down toward the mat.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 1-2 more times.
- DO NOT bounce your legs or force the stretch, which could lead to injury.
4) Figure 4
Figure 4 stretches are a gentle way to release tension in the gluteal and hip muscles.
To perform the Figure 4 leg stretching exercise:
- Lay on your back on a yoga mat, and cross your left ankle over your right knee.
- Bring your right knee toward your chest, using your arms to gently pull it closer.
- Keep your spine flat throughout the stretch.
- If you feel a stretch in your right hamstring, bend that leg.
- Hold for 15 seconds, then release.
- Repeat for other side.
- You can try a deeper stretch by further bending the knee of the leg you're stretching.
5) Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The kneeling hip flexor stretch targets the hip flexors, which are important for performing any movement that brings your knee forward.
To perform this exercise:
- Kneel on a yoga mat with both knees touching.
- Bend your left knee, and place it on the mat.
- Raise your hands off the mat, and extend your torso.
- For additional support, place your hands on your left knee.
- Stretch your right leg behind you to increase the stretch.
Why Leg Day Stretches Are Important?
Stretching helps to relax your muscles after you've been working out, which can reduce soreness. Stretching increases blood flow to and around your muscles, which means they get oxygen and nutrients faster.
This is important because when you work out, your muscles tear slightly, but those tears heal into stronger tissue that can handle more activity. Moreover, if your muscles are getting enough oxygen and nutrients while they heal, they'll recover sooner than before!