If you do not know, your quads are a group of four muscles which will form together in the front of your thighs. These muscles meet together at the knee cap, and this is done to aid in straightening your knee.
However, they also help in slowing down bending our knees when we are doing an activity like sitting down, or when we are going down the stairs.
The four muscles include; rectus femoris, vastas medialis, vastas intermedialis, and lateralis. The rectus femoris is also seen as a hip flexor as well, however, it is still included in the group of the four quad muscles.
This muscle connects our pelvis to our kneecap and to our lower leg. This is because this muscle crosses two joints and it also has a more complex function too. This is why this muscle in particular can cause more problems than some of the other ones.
Then when we look at the trio of the vastas medialis, intermedialis, and lateralis, these are the three muscles that attach our thigh bone to our knee cap, and then to the lower leg.
These are towards the mid line of the body, the medial, in the middle and to the sides of the body, being the lateral, and the vastas medialis in particular helps with our kneecap, or patella, in being towards the middle of the body, as well as tracking well, in spite of some other muscles pulling it more outwards.
There is a good chance that you have felt your quads or your thigh being sore, and stiff, and you want to stretch and resolve any tension which you could be feeling in them.
Because of this, we have put together this guide to give you all the information you need on how you can resolve this pain and tension in a way that is simple and easy to do.
So, if you feel like you are in pain in this area, then keep reading to get some simple stretches that you can do whenever you want to ensure that this part of your body is not in pain too often!
Any Equipment Needed?
When it comes to stretches and exercises you can do to train this part of the body, so often you will need to use equipment.
However, this stretch is designed so you will not need any extra equipment to be able to do it. But, it is worth noting that you will be challenging your balance when doing this pose. Because of this, we recommend keeping something to hand that will be able to keep you balanced.
Also, while for most people this exercise will not require any extra equipment, if you are unable to be able to hold the front of your ankle in the way this pose requires, then you might need to use a piece of equipment like a belt to be able to use for aiding in the stretch where your mobility might be limited.
How To Do It?
One thing that is worth pointing out before we get into the actual steps is that you can choose to do this process either standing, or while lying down. You will get slightly different, but mostly similar results no matter how you plan to do it.
Because of this, we recommend that the first couple times you try to do this stretch that you test doing it both standing up and lying down.
This will make it more accessible, and you can work out which one suits you better. If you struggle with balance like we mentioned in the previous section, then lying down might be preferential.
However, if you want to do the stretch in a way where you will be able to do it while you are out and about, then you will likely want to try doing it standing up, since this is a lot less awkward to do when you are outside in public!
It is worth noting that if you want to do this pose lying down, you will get the best results doing this while lying on your front.
This will ensure that your range of motion is not going to be compromised and that you can do the whole stretch while still getting the benefits.
You can try it on your side, but it will be a lot less effective and generally more challenging to pull off. Once you have decided if you want to do the stretching standing up or not, you want to bend at your hip and your knee so that you are able to take hold of the front of the ankle which should be up behind you.
If you are struggling to reach or to get a good grip, this is the best time to try working with a belt or something similar to look around your ankle so you can hold it without needing to reach as far.
If you are close, this is a good medium to get a more comfortable grip while still stretching. If you are feeling pain when trying to do this without a belt, we recommend trying a belt as this pose should not be painful.
Then, once you have a grip of your ankle you want to flatten your low back, make sure that you can minimize your lumbar curve as much as possible, and do this before doing anything else.
If you do not know how to do this you can do it by placing the back of the opposite hand to the opposite foot you are holding, and holding on the low back, and pushing into it slightly. This should help in keeping your back in a flat position and minimizing your aforementioned lumbar curve.
Once you have adjusted your back and still have a grip on your angle, you want to start to pull on your ankle and foot and pull it in the direction of your sitting bone, or as it is more informally known, your bottom.
While you are doing this you want to let your knee drop down to the ground. There is a chance that it could fly out to the side so try and note this if that is the case.
There is a chance that you might find this pose quite easy to do, so if you want to make the stretch a little more challenging or stimulating, you can start to pull gently on your knee to bring it even further below the hip.
This will aid in further focusing the stretch more on your rectus femoris in particular which is one of the muscles in your quads which we mentioned earlier. Then, one of the last steps which people often forget is that you should try and hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds if possible.
This will ensure that you are getting the most out of the stretch and getting all the correct stimulation on your quads.
Then, when you have held the stretch for long enough, you want to slowly go back to your resting position, this will ensure that you do not hurt yourself by trying to stand back as normal too quickly.
Once you have got back to your resting position, you want to repeat the steps, but on your other leg. This might be more challenging depending on your dominant foot, but you should be able to do it if you give yourself support.
If you do not know your dominant foot, it is the foot you will automatically support yourself with if you get pushed back a little.
What To Look Out For?
So, while this is not the most challenging stretch which is out there, there are still some things you should look out for when you are doing it to ensure that you get the best results possible when you are doing it.
As we mentioned when going through the steps, you will be stimulating your rectus femoris when doing this stretch.
This muscle is what attaches to your pelvis, so if your pelvis is tilting when you are doing this stretch, your body is actually letting you down a little and you are not properly stretching that muscle.
You will still be stimulating the vastas group of muscles. However, if you want to make sure that you are stretching the rectus femoris as well, then we recommend that you try and keep your pelvis in the same place and not tilting while you are doing the pose.
Also, another important note to keep in mind when you are doing this stretch is to ensure that you are looking after your knees and not putting them in a position which feels unnatural and painful.
If you experience excessive pain when attempting to do this stretch, we recommend going to talk to a medical professional as soon as possible!
Hopefully this guide has given you all the advice and information you need to be able to effectively stimulate and stretch your front of your thighs and your quads.
This pose is simple but it can be very effective. As useful as it is to know the normal way to do this stretch, make sure to make the adjustments which will make it either easier or more challenging to adjust it to your skill level to ensure that you are getting proper stimulation while not hurting yourself!