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The standing quad stretch loosens the front of your thigh.
Thigh muscles that are strengthened without being stretched can become tight and painful. The thigh muscles - which consist of the quadriceps, hamstrings and inner adductors - connect from the hips and pelvis to the knees. When these muscles are tight or become shortened, they can pull on your hips and lower back; over time, results of this can include a compromised posture, hip pain and knee injuries. Incorporating stretching exercises at the end of your workouts, for at least 10 to 15 minutes, can help to prevent pain and injuries.
First, Warm Up
Warm up your body -- especially your thigh muscles -- before stretching; working cold muscles can result in injury. Run, walk or cycle, for example, for 10 minutes. Follow the cardio with a 10-to-12 repetition set each of lunges and squats to activate the lower-body muscles.
The Standing Stretch
Perform the standing quadriceps stretch to loosen the front of your thighs. Place one hand on a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. Take hold of your right ankle with your right hand. Keep your right thigh perpendicular to the ground and the knees close together. Pull your ankle toward your buttocks, gently, until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Stretch Your Hamstrings
Stretch the back of your thighs with the seated hamstring stretch. Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you, feet flexed. Bend at the hips and lower your torso toward your legs; take hold of your feet, ankles or shins, whichever is available to you based on the tightness or flexibility in your hamstrings. Engage your quadriceps to deepen the stretch.
Bound Angle Pose
Relieve the tightness in your inner thighs and hips with Bound Angle pose. Sit tall with your legs extended out in front of you. Bring your feet in toward your pelvis and press your soles together; allow your knees to drop to the sides. Relax your thighbones toward the floor. Stay in this position if this provides enough of a stretch; otherwise, lean forward with your torso to deepen the pose. Place your hands on either your feet or the floor in front of you.
Be sensitive to knee pain during these stretches; discontinue the stretch if you feel an uncomfortable sensation in your knees. Keep your feet flexed and legs engaged during these stretches to help protect your knees. Consult with your health care provider before engaging in a new stretching program. Inform your doctor if you have had any knee or hip injuries.