7 Best Yoga Poses You Can Do to Stretch Your Quads

There are several yoga poses that can help to stretch your quads. (Photo by Elina Fairytale via pexels)
There are several yoga poses that can help to stretch your quads. (Photo by Elina Fairytale via pexels)

Quads or the quadriceps are basically a group of four muscles that makes the major part of your thighs. The four muscles include the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius. Whether you are walking, standing, sitting, running, jumping or cycling, your quadriceps are engaged, and that's the reason why these muscles are so prone to overuse and injuries.

Tight quads can cause real pain and lead to reduced range of motion, lower back pain and less mobility in your hips. The good news is that practicing certain yoga poses can potentially help stretch and strengthen your quadriceps. Along with your quads, these poses can also stretch your hip flexors, which often get tight due to prolonged sitting, and can ease discomfort.

Best Yoga Poses to Stretch Your Quads

Here's a look at seven such poses:

1) Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)

A low lunge pose is a beginner-level asana that helps stretch your quads and even controls the intensity and depth of the stretch in your legs.

To do it:

  • Get on all your fours, and step your left foot forward so that it comes between your hands. Keep your left knee stacked above your left ankle.
  • Slowly put your right knee and the top of your right foot on the ground so that the sole of your foot points upward.
  • Sweep both your arms overhead, and extend your fingertips towards the ceiling.

2) Three-legged Downward Facing Dog Pose (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana):

The three-legged downward-facing dog pose is a hip opener, but you’ll also feel a gentle stretch around your quads.

To do it:

  • Take a downward-facing dog pose with your hands and legs on the floor, and lift your left foot so that your leg is aligned with your back and hips.
  • Bend your left knee, and take your left heel towards your back.
  • Start to press through your left heel, and bring it across your hips towards the right side of your body.
  • Stay in this position for ten seconds, and return to the start.

3) Twisted Monkey Pose (Markatasana)

Also referred to as a crooked monkey pose, this yoga asana is very similar to the low lunge pose and offers an intense stretch in your belly and quadriceps.

To do it:

  • Begin the pose in the downward-facing dog, and move your right foot out towards your right hand.
  • Keep your right knee above your right heel. Lower your left knee towards the ground.
  • Bend your left knee in a way that your left heel gets toward your left hip. Keep your left toes pointed upwards.
  • Move your right arm back, and hold the outer part of your left foot. Keep your palm away from you.
  • Bring your right foot out to your side, and move onto the outer part of your right foot. Allow your right knee to move to the side, and press your pubic bone to your right knee.
  • Lift yourself, and stay in this position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly lower your left foot, and bring your right hand down towards your right foot.
  • Return to the initial position.

4) Half Frog Pose (Ardha Bhekasana)

The half frog pose is a lying quad pose that gets your knee into flexion. You’ll feel a good stretch in your entire quadriceps and your bent leg.

To do it:

  • Lie on your stomach,and keep your legs straight behind you.
  • Press your upper body off the floor, and place your right forearm under your chest keeping your right palm under your left shoulder.
  • Bend your left knee, and bring your heel towards your butt. Grab your foot, and pull it in towards your hip.
  • Press down to feel a stretch in your hip flexors and quads.
  • Hold the pose; switch sides, and repeat.

5) Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)

This pose stretches and opens your shoulders and hips and targets your quadriceps muscles.

To do it:

  • Stand straight in a Mountain pose (Tadasana).
  • Bend your left knee, and bring your left heel to your left butt.
  • Hold your left foot with your left hand, and press through your right leg as you bring your left foot upward and back while hinging at your hips to lengthen your torso.
  • Your right arm should reach straight in front of you, and your gaze should be on your fingers.
  • Hold this position, and return to the start.

6) Half Reclined Hero Pose (Ardha Supta Virasana)

The half reclined hero pose is another very effective restorative quad stretch that can easily be modified depending on your fitness level and flexibility.

To do it:

  • Sit straight in a good posture. Keep your abs engaged and legs extended in front of you.
  • Start to bend your left knee, and bring your left heel to your left hip. As you do that, allow your heel to rest outside your glutes.
  • To deepen the stretch, recline your upper body back.
  • Hold for three to five breaths and switch sides.

7) Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

A thunderbolt pose is great for beginners, but you should avoid it if you have ankle or knee injuries.

To do it:

  • Kneel, and keep your feet pressed along the ground. Sit back and rest your butt on your heels. Make sure your big toes are touching each other.
  • Keep your torso straight and abs engaged, and breathe easily for a few seconds.
  • You’ll feel a nice stretch along your quads.
  • Relax.

Bottom Line

When practicing the aforementioned yoga poses to stretch your quads, remember not to force yourself to feel a deep stretch. If you start to experience any type of discomfort or pain, come out of the pose immediately.

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Edited by Bhargav