The best stretches for quads are great for loosening up the front of your thighs. These are great for runners as well as those anyone who’s experiencing tightness from injury or sore muscles after a workout.
Because we’re seated for a good portion of the day, our quads get tight. Stretching the out helps prevent injuries and chronic stiffness from occurring over time.
Whether you’re looking for a few exercises or a stretching workout to loosen up your legs, our list below has got you covered.
Best Stretches for Quads
1. Rear Foot Elevated Quad Stretch
The rear footed elevated quad stretch is one of the best thigh stretches out there. It focuses on one leg at a time and is relatively low impact.
This movement requires you to get on one knee. You’ll also need a bench or chair to rest the back foot on. We do recommend folding a towel or using a foam pad to rest your knee on.
How to Do the Rear Foot Elevated Quad Stretch
- Start in a kneeling posture with one leg in front of you and one behind. Position the towels or foam pad under the knee on the floor for cushioning.
- Lift your back leg’s foot up and rest it on top of the bench, chair or seat.
- Place one hands on the leg in front of you for support.
- Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your back leg’s quad.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Release and repeat several times.
- Switch legs and do the same number of repetitions for the other leg.
2. All Fours Quad Stretch
The all fours quad stretch is another terrific stretch for the front thigh area. This one can give you a deeper stretch that reaches up to your hips.
What’s great about it is it’s simple to do. You will need to balance yourself though.
How to Perform the All Fours Quad Stretch
- To start, get on all fours.
- Lift your right leg off of the floor behind you.
- Using your right hand, grab hold of the foot or ankle. Which you hold on to will depend on your flexibility.
- Keeping your hand firmly on the foot or ankle, pull it slightly towards your butt. This will give you a nice deep stretch in your quadriceps and hip flexors.
- Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds.
Switch sides and stretch the other leg for the same amount of time.
3. Side Lying Quad Stretch
The side lying quad stretch is similar to the all fours stretch above. This time though, you’ll be lying on your side. This change the angle of the motion allowing for different areas of the thigh to lengthen.
It is another easy, low impact stretch that anyone can perform.
How to Do the Side Lying Quad Stretch
- Lie on your right side with your hip against the ground and legs extended.
- Use a pillow to prop your head up. The goal is to keep your head aligned with your spine.
- Bend your left knee backwards. Try to touch your heel to your butt.
- Reach back and grab the top of the foot with your left hand.
- Slowly pull it up and in towards to your butt.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
- Switching sides and do the same for the right leg.
4. Standing Stretch
This standing version is the simplest of all quad stretches. It’s also the one you see being done the most. In fact, runners and swimmers often perform this stretch before races.
How to Do the Standing Quad Stretch
- Stand straight with feel shoulder width apart.
- Lift your left foot back towards your butt by bending your knee.
- Tighten your core and tilt your pelvis toward your chest.
- With your left hand, grab your ship or ankle.
- Gently pull your leg up and in towards you while balancing yourself with your right leg.
- Do not pull the knee backward or sideways as to avoid injury.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch legs.
5. Kneeling Quad Stretch
The kneeling quad stretch is another variation of the elevated quad stretch. The one major difference between the two is you’ll be able to control the stretch with this one.
We also like this stretch because there’s very little movement involved. This means there’s less of a possibility bending your back unnecessarily.
How to Perform the Kneeling Quad Stretch
- Position yourself against a wall.
- Kneel on your right knee and tilt your pelvis inward. Think sucking in your stomach and draw your pelvis up toward your chest.
- Lift your left foot up against the wall so the top of your foot rests against it.
- Keep your shoulders and chest upright. And flatten your lower back.
- Squeeze your glutes. Then, slightly lean forward. This will give both your hip and quadriceps muscles a good stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds before switching knees.
6. Twisted Pigeon Pose
The pigeon twist is a yoga pose that allows you to stretch your hips, quads and glutes. It improves overall lower body flexibility on both right and left sides since you’ll be doing the stretches separately.
With continued practice, you’ll experience a deeper and more complex stretch. It’s a good hip opener that allows your chest and shoulders to stretch as well.
How to Perform the Twisted Pigeon Pose
- Get on all fours. Keep your hands in front of your shoulders.
- Extend your right leg back.
- Bend your left knee and fold it in front of you. This will bring your left knee to your left wrist.
- Lower yourself by getting on your elbows.
- Lower yourself further by bringing your head towards the ground.
- Using your right elbow for support, lift your torso and twist to the left.
- Bend your right leg up and use your left hand to reach it.
- Hold for 30 seconds and switch.
7. Lying Quad Stretch
This is a simple stretch that does not require anything more than level ground or the end of your bed. You can do with one or two legs at a time. Reaching for two legs gives you a deep stretch. But, it is also more difficult to do.
How to Do the Lying Quad Stretch
- Lie on your stomach at the corner of your bed or on a flat level spot on the ground. Make sure that your back is flat and not arched.
- Bend one leg back towards your butt as far as you can.
- Grab your leg with your hand pulling it toward your glutes. Again, make sure that your lower back is flat. Relax into the stretch. Don’t tense up your muscles.
- Hold for a couple minutes and then switch legs.