6 Best Quads Stretch Exercises for Women After a Long Run

Quads stretching is essential post a long run. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
Quads stretching is essential post a long run. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)

Stretching your quads or quadriceps muscles is a must after a long run. The quadriceps is a strong big muscle located at the front of your thigh and in the upper part of your leg, starting from your knees and going up to your waist. When you overexert this muscle during long runs, that leads to severe pain and muscle tightness, and also increases the risk of injury in the future.

Performing quads stretch exercises after your workout or run can give you the power you need to move your leg more efficiently. While stretching can’t cure muscle pain completely, it can help ease the pain.

Effective Quad Stretches

If you're a runner, try incorporating these six quads stretching exercises into your workout routine. Perform them after you’ve completed your run to avoid pain and enhance your overall running performance. Let's get started:

1) Kneeling Quad Stretch

The kneeling quad stretch stretches and relaxes the muscles located above your knees. This exercise is great for pregnant women and the elderly, as there is less pressure and can be modified using a pillow or cushion under your knee.

To do it:

  • Take a high lunge position, and step your left foot forward. Bend your right knee to the ground.
  • Breathe easily, and slowly adjust your body to maintain balance.
  • Reach back for your right foot, and hold your toes with your right arm.
  • Hold this stretch for some time, and slowly release your foot on the floor.
  • Change sides, and perform the same steps on the other leg.

2) Standing Leg Stretch

The standing leg stretch is an easy quad stretch exercise that can be done anywhere.

To do it:

  • Stand, and hold a chair or countertop for balance.
  • Bend your knee by holding your ankle with your hand, and move your feet near your buttocks.
  • Gently pull your ankle, and bend your knee as far as you can.
  • Maintain the stretch for a few seconds, and release.
  • Repeat with both legs.

3) Lying Side Stretch

The lying side quads stretch is an amazing exercise if you're facing problems with your knees or balance.

To do it:

  • Lie down on your right side, and balance your head with one hand keeping your elbow bent.
  • Start to pull your outer leg towards your head till you feel a stretch in your quadriceps.
  • If you're unable to keep up the balance, you can flex your bottom knee.
  • Hold the stretch for some time, and switch sides.

4) Prone Quad Stretch

In this stretching exercise, the ground helps you to stabilise your pelvis and maximise the stretch.

To do it:

  • Lie flat on your stomach, and bend your knee back.
  • Hold your ankle to pull your foot near your butt.
  • Maintain the posture for a few seconds, and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise a few more times with each leg.

5) Hamstring Curl

Hamstring curls not only stretch the hamstring but also help activate your quadriceps.

To do it:

  • Lie down flat on your stomach.
  • Bring both your heels up and close to your back.
  • Hold the posture; stretch, and relax.

6) Wall Squat

Wall squats are a great quad stretch exercise that engages a lot of other muscles as well, including your core, ankle, hamstring, thighs, etc.

To do it:

  • With your feet at a shoulder-width distance, stand upright with your back gently pressed against a wall.
  • Slowly bend your knees, and keep your back and pelvis against the wall.
  • Squat down, and hold the position for a few seconds. Make sure you don’t bend too low.
  • Repeat five times.

Bottom Line

Quads stretches help enhance the range of motion, flexibility around your leg muscles, decrease soreness, reduce tension, build strength, decrease the risk of injuries and also alleviate stiffness and strain. Performing these stretches regularly can help you withstand muscle tension better after a hectic long run.

However, if you think you might have a severe muscle tear or injury, consult a doctor immediately, and seek medical attention. In the meantime, you can also try RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Also, avoid running till the pain stops completely. If you experience pain or discomfort while stretching, stop immediately, and discontinue the exercise.

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Edited by Bhargav