7 Best Leg Stretches For Tight Muscles, According To Trainers

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Whether you’ve been tense since your last workout or you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, here’s an idea for you: do leg stretches. Why? They will help you decrease that annoying stiff discomfort and they come with a tonne other benefits, like improving your range of motion and reducing your risk of injury, explains Meg TakacsNASM-CPT and founder of the guided audio coaching app Run With Meg.

Before unrolling your carpet, it is useful to know the causes tightness (or even pain) in your calves, quadsand hamstrings in the first place. Things like sedentary behavior (sitting at a desk all day) or overtraining (like doing the same activity over and over again) can be the source, explains Raymond Peralta, DPT, senior physical therapist at the Sports Performance Center at NYU Langone’s Orthopedic Center. “For example, people who only run long distances tend to have tight hamstrings and calves,” says Peralta.

Meet the experts: Meg Takacs, NASM-CPT, is an RRCA Certified Running Coach and CrossFit Trainer. She is also the founder of the guided audio coaching app Run with Meg. Raymond PeraltaPT, DPT, is the primary physical therapist for the Sports Performance Center at NYU Langone’s Orthopedic Center.

Sore or sore muscles actually have a different root cause and often benefit more from periods of rest than from stretching, Peralta says. The pain is caused by micro tears in the muscles that happen when we train, says Takacs. These micro tears are all part of the normal process of muscle building, she explains, and heal when the body sends nutrients and blood to painful areas during recovery at rest. That said, stretching can help speed up this process and give your legs momentum and can sometimes give your overall athletic performance an extra boost.

There are two types of leg stretches you can and should do: static and dynamic.

Static stretch (or, occupying a position) should be done after training for recovery, says Takacs. Why? It lengthens your muscles, decreasing their elasticity, which can also decrease your power, speed and agility if you do it before training, she says.

This makes dynamic stretching (moving thanks to your range of motion) better for the warm up period. “It’s used to prepare your body for exertion or impact, elevate your heart rate, and mimic the motions of your next workout,” says Takacs.

In general, it’s safe to stretch your legs every day, says Peralta, although two to three days a week is also good enough. However, you should definitely avoid stretching if you have just suffered an injury that causes swelling, or more than mild discomfort when stretching. If you have medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritisosteoporosis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, don’t stretch either, says Peralta. In all these cases, it is best to consult a professional to guide you in your stretching safely.

7 Best Leg Stretches

Now is the time for the details. Here are the seven best leg stretches for relieving even the tightest muscles, demonstrated by Takacs and backed by stretching experts.

1. Achilles Opener

How:

  1. Start in a standing position with both feet hip-width apart and your head facing up.
  2. Bring one leg forward and lower it into a slight bend, raising both hands above your head in a straight line.
  3. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch legs. You should feel this stretch in the back of your legs, primarily in the Achilles area.

2. Frog pose

How:

  1. Start on all fours on the ground, knees aligned with hips and hands under shoulders.
  2. Gently spread your knees apart so that the arch of your foot is flat on the floor or as close as possible. You will feel the stretch in your inner thighs and hips.
  3. Reach one arm out to its opposite side, as if weaving, and touch your shoulder to the floor.
  4. Reverse the movement of the arm to bring it back to the starting point. He is a representative.
  5. Perform 10 reps alternating sides, holding for about 30 seconds each.

3. 90/90 hip opener

How:

  1. Sit with your legs in front of you, bent at 90 degrees with both knees facing in the same direction and resting on the floor. Keep your hands clasped or facing forward off the floor.
  2. After sitting in one direction for 90 seconds, keep your heels on the floor and rotate your bent legs so that your knees are pointing in the opposite direction.
  3. Hold the position for another 90 seconds. (If necessary, you can bring your elbows to the floor for a greater range of motion.)

4. Butt Openers

How:

  1. Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and your feet on the floor.
  2. Bring the left leg up to a 90 degree angle and rest it on top of the right quad.
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch legs, so that the right leg is bent at 90 degrees with the ankle/calf resting on the left quad. Hold this side for another 30 seconds. (You should feel this stretch in your glutes, hips, and upper hamstrings.)

5. Hamstring Hinge

How:

  1. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, holding a PVC pipe (or similar household item) over your shoulders and upper back or placing your hands behind your head.
  2. Rock your hips back, keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet planted on the ground. (You should feel this stretch all the way through your hamstrings when done correctly.)
  3. Slowly rise to a standing position. He is a representative.
  4. Repeat for 10 reps.

6. Deep Squat Reach

How:

  1. Start standing with your feet wider than hip-width and hold a PVC pipe (or broom) over your shoulders and upper back or place your hands behind your head.
  2. Lower into a deep squat as low as your range of motion allows.
  3. Slowly lean to your left side as far as you can without lifting your heels off the ground. (If that’s too difficult, you can also hold the deep squat position.)
  4. Slowly lean to your right side as far as you can without lifting your heels off the floor. He is a representative.
  5. Continue alternating for 10 reps total.

7. Static Computer Band Opener

How:

  1. Start standing up and use a PVC pipe or wall as a support.
  2. Cross the left leg in front of the right, keeping both feet firmly planted and the right leg fully extended.
  3. Bend over, supporting yourself at the hips as far as you can without lifting your heels off the floor.
  4. Hold this position for 20 seconds.
  5. Repeat with right leg crossed in front and left leg fully extended.

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