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Quadriceps stretches

The quadriceps stretches are designed to improve the flexibility of the quadriceps muscles and are important to maintain balance between strength and flexibility.

Most of the muscles that control the movements of the knee are found in the thigh. The four large anterior thigh muscles—rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vast  medialis - are collectively called the quadriceps muscles, and these are the major knee extensors.

Many muscles in the body cross several joints, and thus many of these muscles are able to do several movements. However three of the quadriceps muscles, the vastus muscles, cross only one joint i.e. the knee joint.
The tendons of the four components of quadriceps femoris unite in the lower part of the thigh to form a single strong tendon attached to the base of the patella, and some fibres continue over it to blendwith the patellar ligament. This muscular arrangement allows these muscles to perform only knee extension. These three vastus muscles are strong extensors and sometimes may be sore and tight in front of the knee where the patella bone is located. Muscle tightness due to lack of stretching the quadriceps muscles is most often the cause of this problem.
It is important, however, to have the right balance of strength and flexibility between the opposing muscle groups of the thigh.
Generally the quadriceps muscles more stronger but less flexible than the hamstring muscles. People tend to stretch the hamstring muscles more than the quadriceps muscles, thus creating an imbalance between the two muscle groups. Therefore one must give equal emphasis to stretching of quadriceps muscles as you give to hamstring muscles.
Stretching quadriceps muscles will help you to avoid muscle soreness and tension in these muscles and therefore it is recommended that you include quadriceps stretching in your routine stretching / fitness program.
Following are the quadriceps stretches in different body positions


 
Quadriceps Stretch
Quadriceps Stretch Prone
 

Quadriceps Stretch Prone

  • Lie face down.
  • Reach back and grasp ankle.
  • Relax leg and gently pull ankle towards buttocks.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Quadriceps Stretch Standing
 

Quadriceps Stretch Standing

  • Stand supported with right hand
  • Pull the heel toward buttocks with your left hand until a stretch is felt in  the front of the thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other heel.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

 
Side lying Quadriceps Stretch
Quadriceps Stretch Side lying
 

Quadriceps Stretch Side lying

  • Lie on your left to stretch the quadriceps of the right side.
  • Pull right heel in towards buttocks until a comfortable stretch is felt in the front of the thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

 
Bilateral Quadriceps Stretch Prone
Bilateral Quadriceps Stretch Prone
 

Bilateral Quadriceps Stretch Prone

  • Lie on your stomach with a sheet around your ankles
  • Keep your knees together, hips down, pull the heels towards bottom.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

 
Yoga pose Back hero Quadriceps stretch
Back hero Quadriceps stretch
 

Yoga pose Back hero Quadriceps stretch

  • Sit on your knees.
  • Keep your hips between the feet as shown.
  • Slowly lie back over feet supported on elbows.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.