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What are some leg stretches?

F. Michael Gloth, III
Geriatric Medicine
Some preferred leg stretches include:
  • Side knee to head -- While lying on your back, bring your straightened leg up to as close to 90 degrees as you can. Then, turn to the side opposite the raised leg and continue to bring that leg as close to your head as you comfortably can. This is often a preferred exercise for cooling down rather than as a warm-up.
  • Seated single leg head to knee (advanced) -- This stretch is for those of you who are in moderate to advanced condition. Sit on the ground with both legs straight out. Then bend one knee so that your heel is next to your buttocks. From this position, bring your head as close to the other knee (with the leg still extended) as is comfortable. Count 20 seconds and switch to the other side.
  • Legs over head (advanced) -- This is another stretching exercise for people in moderate to advanced conditioning, who do not have osteoporosis or other reasons to avoid such exercises. Lie flat in the supine position and raise both legs together and as far over your head as is comfortable. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat. If you're less comfortable with this exercise, try the head-to-knee stretch that follows.
  • Legs over head (advanced) -- This is another stretching exercise for people in moderate to advanced conditioning, who do not have osteoporosis or other reasons to avoid such exercises. Lie flat in the supine position and raise both legs together and as far over your head as is comfortable. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat. If you're less comfortable with this exercise, try the head-to-knee stretch that follows.
  • Head-to-knees stretch -- Simply sit on the ground with both legs extended in front of you and slowly bend your head toward your knees. Again, only stretch to a point that is comfortable. If you can't touch your toes, grab behind your thighs, knees, or calves (with time, you should see improvement). Hold this for 20 seconds, then relax and repeat.
  • Groin Extension -- Sit on the ground with your legs as far apart as you can comfortably get them. Slowly bend your head toward your left knee and hold for 20 seconds, and then do the same with your right knee, while keeping both knees on the ground. Finally, bend your head toward the ground in the middle for another 20 seconds.
Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

As people reach their fifties, the body’s metabolism slows. Without a change in eating or exercise habits, it’s common to put on weight and become less able to perform routine physical...

The legs should be included in any flexibility program because they are what initiates functional movement and will also dictate how forces are transmitted and produced through the entire kinetic chain. To stretch the legs you stretch all of the major muscle groups. Here are some of the best leg stretch exercises:

  • standing hip flexor stretch
  • standing hamstring stretch
  • supine piriformis stretch
  • static calf stretch

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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.