Considering how much our legs do for us every day, it's no surprise that many of us are stricken with muscle tension.
When this happens, it can be difficult to sit, stand, and walk. You can relieve this tightness by performing leg stretches regularly.
The most common culprit of tight legs is sitting for prolonged periods of time, which causes muscles to shorten, according to Leada malek, DPT, CSCS, a certified sports specialist based in San Francisco, California.
But crushing a strenuous leg workout can also lead to a feeling of tightness - or even discomfort and pain - as your muscles recover.
This is why stretching is crucial.
“The flexibility of muscles is important for their function,” Malek explains.
And leg stretches can help restore short, tense muscles to their full functional length, allowing them to move with a healthy range of motion.
Relieve tension, discomfort, and pain with these expert-approved leg stretches.
1. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Stretch the hip flexors after long periods of sitting with this movement.
- Start in a semi-kneeling position.
- Gently tuck in your tailbone and squeeze your back glute. Keeping your tailbone tucked in, gently rock forward until you feel a stretch in your rear quad.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated hamstring stretch
Give tight hamstrings love with a simple movement you can do right at your desk.
- Sit well and extend one leg in front of you, keeping a slight flexion of the knee.
- With a neutral spine, lean forward at the hips until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings of the extended leg.
- Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg.
“Yes, this is traditionally a strength movement, but the deadlift is one of the best ways to increase the stretch of your posterior chain,” says Blake Dircksen, DPT, CSCS, physiotherapist at Tailor-made treatments At New York.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping the chest up and a slight flexion of the knees, pivot forward at the hips to push back your buttocks. Extend your hands towards your toes until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Reverse the movement. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips. Repeat.
- Perform 25 to 30 repetitions. Add a pair of light dumbbells if you like.
4. 90/90 Shin Box Stretch
Improve hip mobility with this stretch, which works both internal and external hip rotation.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor in front of you and your hands flat on the floor behind you.
- Keeping your feet in contact with the ground, move both knees to the right to rest both shins on the ground. Hold briefly before bringing your knees back to center and moving them to the left.
- Continue to alternate for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Standing quad stretch
This simple stretch targets your quadriceps and hip flexors, Malek explains.
- Stand up straight. Shift your weight onto one foot and bring the opposite heel towards your buttocks.
- Grab your ankle and press your knee against the inside of your thigh. Slightly tuck your tailbone in and gently pull on your foot to bring your knee back. You should feel a good stretch in your quad.
- Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg. Stand on a chair for balance if necessary.
6. Supine piriformis stretch
When the piriformis (a small muscle deep in your glutes) becomes tense, you may feel tingling or numbness in your leg, Malek says. Stretch it with this simple movement.
- Lie on your back with both legs extended.
- Bring your knee to your chest. Without lifting your head or shoulders off the ground, use your opposite hand to gently pull your knee over the midline of your body. You should feel a slight stretch in your glutes and lower back.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
7. The largest expanse in the world
This movement stretches the muscles of the legs in the posterior chain (the back of your body), says Dircksen.
- Start with a straight arm plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Step your left foot outward with your left hand.
- Tap your left elbow against the inside of your left foot, calf or knee (this will depend on your mobility). Then rotate your torso to extend your left arm above the head, reaching your fingers towards the ceiling. Follow with your gaze.
- Reverse the movement to return to the plank. Repeat on the opposite side.
8. Runner's stretch
Relieve stiff calves and ankles caused by long periods of walking and running with this classic stretch.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping both legs straight, step back one foot slightly to be in an offset position. Press your back heel into the ground to feel your calf stretch.
- From this position, bend your back knee. Try to keep your back heel pressed into the ground to stretch the lower part of your calf.
- Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
9. Frogger Stretch
This movement stretches the adductors of the hip and improves mobility in the hip capsule. “This movement should be done slowly and gently,” Dircksen says. "No pain is allowed here."
- Start on all fours with your hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips.
- From there, spread your knees as wide as possible and let your feet spread outward. Fold your hands under your forehead and relax your upper body.
- Lower your hips back to the floor and gently rock back. Stop when you feel the tension and rock forward again.
- Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.
10. Sumo Stretch
Malek recommends this movement to stretch the hips and groin at their tips, which helps you maintain full hip mobility.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing outward at 45 degrees.
- Immerse yourself in a deep squat, keeping your spine high and your heels low. Press your elbows against your knees to gently spread your thighs apart.
- Take a few deep breaths.
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Going to the gym is a great habit. But when life gets in the way, sometimes you just can’t make it there. That’s why it’s important to have a home sport room. A indispensable for anyone serious about staying fit, a home gym lets you get your workout in without ever needing to leave the house.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE GREATEST BENEFITS OF HAVING A HOME FITNESS ROOM :
1. HOME GYMS MAKE IT EASIER TO STICK TO YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE.
According to the etats unis Department of Health and Human Services, every week, adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous exercise—or a blend of the two. The HHS also recommends that you spread your workouts throughout the week and include muscle-building workouts at least twice a week.
Sticking to an exercise routine is easier said than done. But with a home fitness room, you can get the workouts you need all from the convenience of your own home. Using private equipment, you get to avoid the traffic that comes with the gym commute, skip the lines for workout equipment, and exercise on your own time. With your home gym, if you exercise any time you have 30 minutes to kill, you’ll get your 2. 5 hours in before the weekend with time to spare.
2. A HOME GYM LETS YOU AVOID BAD WEATHER.
Bad weather is one of the most common reasons that people break their workout surveillance. Although it might seem like an excuse, oftentimes it’s a legitimate safety concern. There are almost 6 million car crashes annually, and 21 percent are weather-related. About percent of weather-related car incidents happen on wet pavement, and another 18 percent occur during snow and sleet storms. Every year, almost 5, 000 people die in these crashes.
When you have a home fitness room, you don’t need to worry about the commute to the gym and can exercise from the comfort and safety of your own home. Having a home gym doesn’t just help you stay fit; it can also save your life.
3. HOME GYMS LET YOU EXERCISE IN PRIVATE.
We know that exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety. But what if going to the gym makes you feel so nervous and intimidated that you don’t get the exercise you need ? You can end up in a vicious cycle of anxiety because you’re worried about people judging you. If this sounds like your experience, you’re not alone. Almost 65 percent of women and trente six percent of men avoid going to the gym because they’re afraid of what other people might think. People mostly fear judgment about their weight, but there are many other reported fears, such as :
Using equipment incorrectlyDoing exercises wrongWearing the “wrong” clothesNot looking or being athletic enoughLooking awkward while exercising
But when exercising in your home gym, you won’t have to worry about any of these things. You can wear whatever you please, huff and puff as loud as you want, and watch the dorkiest Netflix shows while you work out and no one will judge you … except maybe your family.
4. A HOME GYM LETS EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE GET THEIR EXERCISE.
Speaking of your family, when was the last time they worked out ? All members of your household – kids, teens, adults, plus de 50 ans – need an age-appropriate amount of exercise. We’ve already talked about exercise for the average adult, but what about exercise for younger or older family members ?
The World Health Organization says that young people ages 5 to 17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity at moderate to vigorous intensity. The majority of their workouts should be aerobic, with bone-loading and muscle-strengthening exercises added several times per week. Ideally, older adults should get the same amount of exercise as their younger counterparts. Folks who aren’t able to reach those minimums—150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise – should progressively do as much as they can. Even older adults with limited mobility should be réactive at least three days per week to prevent falls.
As difficult as it is to get yourself to the gym, it’s even harder to get your kids or older relatives there. With a home fitness room, you can be sure that the people under your care are exercising as much as they should.
5. YOU CAN DESIGN YOUR HOME GYM ANY WAY YOU WANT.
At the gym, your workout is limited by the gym owner’s equipment. Maybe that equipment works for you, but maybe it doesn’t.
Luckily, you can design your home fitness room any way you want. Do you want a rower ? Get one. Do you like a particular kind of treadmill or brand of elliptical ? Done. Do you have a spouse or friend you would like to work out with ? Get two of something. When the gym is in your home, you get to decide what goes in the space.
The possibilities are endless ! But don’t feel intimidated by your options. If you aren’t sure how to start building your home sport room, there are professional fitness consultants who can look at your home space, listen to your workout needs, and help you style a personalized home gym. And, the best part ? Home consultations are free at G
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