10 Simple Quad Stretches to Relieve Pain and Soreness

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If you’ve done a workout with lots of explosive movements, hiking, running, cycling.. your quad muscles will likely be quite sore for the next few days. Performing quad stretches will help relieve pain and soreness so that you can quickly get back on track with your next workout.


10 Best Quad Stretches to Relieve Pain and Sore Muscles

Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds, repeat on both sides.

1. Simple Quad Stretches

This is the stretch that you might recall from your gym class. It’s simple but it’s also a great stretch for your quads! You should feel the stretch in your IT band (the front part of your hips) down your quads.

  • Hold one leg behind your back.
  • Push your hips forward with your chest up.
  • Remember to actively engage your core as you pull your leg inwards.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Modification: hold a wall or rest the bent knee on a chair to help with balance.

2. Seated Hero Pose (Virasana)

The Hero Pose is a seated yoga position that targets knee mobility and posture. This pose also helps to strengthen the arches of your feet.

  • Start in a kneeling position with your toes pressed on the ground.
  • Keep your weight evenly distributed on both sit bones.
  • Sit with your hands rested on your tights.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  • Modification: Place a block under your sit bones as support.

3. Reclined Hero Pose with Knee Grab

This pose is a more challenging variation of the Seated Hero Pose. Give this a try if you are looking for a deep stretch in your quads and hip flexors.

  • Start in a kneeling position with the back of your feet pressed on the ground.
  • Lift one leg out in front of you.
  • Walk your arms behind you and slowly lower down onto your back.
  • When you are ready, bring both arms to the front. 
  • Exhale as you gently pull your knee towards your body.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Modification: Walk your hands back as far as you can, stop when you feel the stretch.

4. Lying Quad Stretches

This is an easy variation of the Simple Quad Stretch. If you’re already down on the ground you can just roll onto your stomach.

  • Lay down with your head facing the ground.
  • Bend one leg and reach back to grab it with your hand.
  • Inhale and exhale as you press the foot towards your body.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

5. Lying Side Quad Stretches

Another variation of the Simple Quad Stretch is one that you can easily do on your bed in the morning. Stretching your muscles when you wake up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles. That way you’ll be able to move better during the day.

  • Lay down on one side.
  • Bend the top leg and reach back with your free hand to grab it.
  • Inhale and exhale as you press the foot towards your body.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

6. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

This pose is called the Bow Pose in yoga because it resembles an archer’s bow. The torso and legs curve upwards to represent the body of the bow, while the arms look like the string. This pose helps to open up your chest and stretch your quads as you lift upwards.

  • Lay down on your front side.
  • Reach back with both hands to grab your feet.
  • Gently lift your chest and quads up as you push your feet into your hands.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

7. Low Lunge with Leg Hold

The Low Lunge and Runner’s Lunge (when your knee lifted off the ground) are two stretches that everyone should be doing daily. This stretch opens up your hips, hip flexors and quads. Practicing these stretches will also improve your overall leg flexibility.

  • Begin in a lunge position with the back knee on the ground.
  • Check to see if the leg in front is correctly aligned. Your knee should be directly above your ankle.
  • Your hips should be square. This means that both hips should be facing forward like when you hold a steering wheel.
  • Place both hands on the ground in front of you.
  • Bend your back leg.
  • Use the opposite hand to reach back and grab your foot.
  • Your hip may want to lift up. Make sure to continue pushing your hips to the ground. Allow gravity to sink it down a little deeper.
  • On each exhale, actively press the back of your foot against your hand.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Modification: Focus on lifting your back leg up, rather than grabbing it.

8. Wall Quad Stretches/ King Arthur Stretch

This is an intense stretch that really targets your hip flexors and quads. Follow the instructions carefully as this stretch can be a little tricky to get into. 

  • Place a cushion next to the wall. This will help protect your knees.
  • Kneel down and place one knee onto the cushion. You body should be parallel to the wall.
  • With the knee that’s closest to the wall, rotate your leg up up against the wall.
  • Try to bring your shin bone as close to the wall as possible.
  • Step forward with your opposite foot to get into a low lunge.
  • Your knee should be directly in line with your ankle. Your front foot hip distance apart from the knee in the back.
  • Take deep breaths and relax.
  • Make the stretch more active by pushing your hips forward as you exhale.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Modification: Use blocks on both sides to help you stabilize. 

9. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose is often a restful pose used between different sequences in yoga. It’s also a great stretch to have at the end of a routine. You can target your lower body by pressing your hips back and down towards the ground.

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Spread your knees out to the edges of the mat while keeping your big toes together.
  • On the exhale, sit back and extend your arms. Palms should be facing down.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

10. Pretzel Quad Stretch

This two-in-one stretch targets both your quads and thoracic spine.

  • Lay on your back.
  • Lift one knee up and bring it across your body to the ground.
  • Hold your knee down with the arm that’s closest to it.
  • Bend your other leg. Use your other hand to grab the ankle behind your back.
  • Actively rotate your shoulder away from the leg that’s up.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Modification: Use a strap to pull your back leg in towards your body.

Conclusion

To make the most out of your stretch, remember to take a mental note of where you the stretch and which stretches work best for you. We’re all different, some stretches may be right on the spot while you might not feel other stretches as much.

It’s important to stretch and strengthen both sides of your muscles. Here are some quick hamstring stretches that you can pair with the stretches above. Your body will thank you for every minute of stretching you do each day.

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