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How can I stretch my quadriceps?

There are several methods to stretch your quadriceps, for example:
  • While laying on your stomach, grab the foot of the leg you want to stretch. Bend the knee and pull the foot toward your back. Pull until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Standing on the leg you do not want to stretch: bend the knee of the leg you want to stretch, grab the foot of the leg to be stretched behind you, and pull it toward your back. Pull until you feel a stretch, keeping your trunk upright.
This answer provided for NATA by Loras College.
Edward Phillips
Physical Therapy
Here's how to do a quadriceps stretch on your stomach:

Reps: 3-4 per leg
Sets: 1
Intensity: Moderate
Hold: 10-30 seconds
Rest: No rest needed

Starting position: Lie on your stomach on the floor with your hands flat under your chin.

Movement: Bend your right knee and try to bring the heel toward your right buttock. Reach back with your right hand and take hold of your foot. Hold the stretch, then slowly lower your foot to the floor. Repeat the stretch with your left leg. Continue alternating legs until you finish all reps.

Tips and techniques:
  • Stretch to the point of mild tension, not pain.
  • Breathe comfortably.
Too hard? Place a yoga strap around your foot to assist with the stretch.

Too easy? Lift your knee up slightly off the floor to increase the stretch.
Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
To stretch your quadriceps, stand in front of a chair or wall. With your left hand, support yourself using the wall or chair. Bend your right knee and grab your right ankle with your right hand behind you. Pull your right ankle backward so that you feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh. Don't pull your right ankle directly up to your right buttock. Instead, concentrate on pulling it up toward the ceiling and backward away from your buttocks. This way you won't compress your right knee too much and overstress the cartilage and other structures in your knee. If this pose is difficult, an alternate method is to place a chair behind you and bend your right knee so that your right shin rests on the chair. (You can place a pillow or cushion on the chair for comfort.) The point is to feel the stretch in the front of your left thigh. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat the entire procedure 2 times.
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Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Here's how to stretch your quadriceps:

1. Stand with feet together and hips straight.

2. Bend your right knee back and take the front of your right foot in your right hand.

3. Keeping your knees even (i.e., do not let your right knee swing forward), bend your right knee back. You will feel a stretch in the front of your leg from above your hip to your knee. Do not allow your posture to curve forward but keep standing straight up.

4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax.

5. Repeat this four times and then switch to the left quad.
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My favorite stretch for quadriceps and hip flexors is the 90/90 kneeling quad stretch.  You get down on one knee with the other leg bent at a 90 degree angle so that your legs are hip width apart.  Squeeze your glute on the kneeling side and tip your pelvis forward.  You do not lean your torso forward into the front leg.  You should feel a good stretch from your hip flexor down through your quad.  Hold for 20-30 seconds.  Repeat on each leg 2 to 3 times.

A great stretch for the quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thigh) and for the muscles that flex your hip is the side-lying hip flexor stretch. To perform this stretch, begin by assuming a side-lying position. Next, grab the ankle of your top leg with your top hand and bend your top knee. Pull your heel toward your butt until a mild stretch is felt in the front of the thigh and hip.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 1 to 3 times on each leg.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.