What are the best stretching exercises for your quadriceps muscles? Here’s an all you need to know guide for all things related to quadriceps: stretching them, strengthening them, and healing them after injury.
What are Quadriceps Muscles
The Quadriceps Femoris Muscle is actually a large muscle group located on the front and sides of your thigh. The muscle group is made up of four parts: rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis. Your quads extend the legs to the knee. The quadriceps are critical for any activities using your legs especially walking and running.
How to Get Rid of Tight Quad Muscles
Stretching is the best way to get rid of tight quad muscles. There are a couple of stretching exercises for quadriceps muscles; here are the most effective ones.
The Best Stretching Exercises for Quadriceps
The Lying Quad Stretch
All the muscles in your leg are connected. This means that you can’t stretch your quad muscles in isolation. It’s pretty likely that your hip, thigh, and foot are being engaged too. This stretching exercise is excellent because it targets all those areas in addition to your quads. You get a full leg stretch with it.
Lie down on your side, extend your left arm above your head and bend it in a way such that your hand comes under your head. Next, lift your head with your left hand and use your right hand to grab your right foot.
Pull your foot towards your buttocks and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Then release and turn the other way. Do the stretch with your left foot now.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
Start the exercise in a high lunge position with your left foot forward. Next, drop your right knee to the floor and reach back with your right arm. Finally, grab your ankle or toe and pull it inward to get a deep stretch.
This will loosen the muscles right above your knee joint and increase mobility.
Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Remember to take deep breaths and deepen the stretch as you move into the second half of the exercise. Once you’re done, release and repeat the pose on the other side.
What is the Best Exercise for Quadriceps
While there are a lot of exercises that strengthen your quads, we believe bodyweight squats are the best ones. Note that you can’t perform this exercise on its own to expect results; however, we recommend including it in your workout if you want to tone your quadriceps.
Here is how to properly perform bodyweight squats for strengthening your quads. We have a more detailed post about the best bodyweight exercises for legs here.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing slightly outward. Keep your arms on your sides and push your hips back. Think of it like you’re sitting back in a chair. Replicate that motion.
However, remember to keep your core tight and chest up. Stop moving downwards when your thighs are parallel with the ground. Hold the pose for a moment, then push through your heels until you return to the starting position.
Stretching Exercises Leg Cramps
Stretching your quadriceps can be an excellent remedy for leg cramps because they’re caused by tight quad muscles more than half of the time.
However, two other muscles could be responsible. These are the calves and hamstring muscles. We have included stretching exercises for both below.
Calves Stretch to Relieve Leg Cramps
Stand straight while facing a wall and extend your arms at chest height. Place your palms on the wall and place your right leg forward. Flex the knee and place the left leg behind you. Keep it straight.
Keep both feet firmly on the floor. Without bending your waist or lifting your feet, lean forward. Flex your right knee and move your body toward the wall. Continue for 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat on the other leg.
Hamstring Stretch to Relieve Leg Cramps
Place the back of a chair next to a wall and stand in front of it. Put your right heel on a chair and flex your leg. You must keep this leg straight.
Bend forward from your hips but keep your upper body straight. Your left foot needs to stay on the floor. Continue for 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat this motion on the other side.
We recognize that if you want stretches for quads then maybe you’re also looking for hamstrings stretches as well. As mentioned before when you stretch one of your leg muscles you usually will stretch others.
However, we’ve made a complete guide on stretching exercises for your glutes and your hamstring muscles. You can find details for specific stretches and exercises in our article on How To Warm Up Glutes And Hamstrings.
Does Quadriceps Tendonitis Go Away
The quadriceps tendon attaches your quadriceps muscles to your kneecap. When this tendon becomes inflamed, it is called quadriceps tendonitis. The injury does have treatments; most people who have been affected get better within several weeks. However, the specific period depends on your physical therapist’s diagnosis.
Quadriceps Tendonitis Treatment
Once your doctor diagnoses you, they will create a personalized treatment plan depending on the severity of your injury; this usually includes a combination of:
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
- Physical therapy
- Quadriceps exercises (stretches and exercises targeting the hamstrings and hips)
- Quadriceps taping and bracing
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Quadriceps Tendonitis Recovery
Your recovery timeline depends on several factors, including your age, treatment plan, the severity of the injury, and overall health. Hence giving an exact time frame isn’t possible.
Mild tendonitis usually gets better in a few weeks. However, if you’ve had the injury for a while, you might need to wait 6 to 12 months before the tendon will begin showing signs of improvement.
If your injury is very severe and you need surgery, recovery can take 6 to 9 months.
How to Heal a Tight Quad Muscle
In addition to the stretching exercises for quadriceps muscles detailed before, you can do a couple of other things to heal a tight quad muscle.
First, get some rest. Try to avoid lower body strengthening stretches and exercises like squats and lunges and take a break. Put your feet up on a pillow and lie down in a bed. Catch up on any tv shows or movies you’ve missed and call in sick at work.
Second, ice your injury. Ask a friend or family member to get you a pack of ice and place it on your quadricep tendon to cool it down.
Third, wrap the injured area with a bandage. An elastic bandage will get the job done. You can also use a compression sleeve or call a first aid expert to wrap the injury for you.
As long as you follow these guidelines and regularly stretch, your quads will stay in optimum health.
Stretching Exercises for Quadriceps – Wrap-up
Hopefully learning how to properly stretch your quads before a leg workout will prevent the wrap-up.
Insert dad joke drum and cymbal here.
As my kids would say Wah, Wah, Waaah Dad!
The purpose of this article or any article I post is to help you in your workout journey.
As Dads, we can’t spend hours every week in the gym. We have to be able to work out from home, quickly and efficiently.
However, that does not mean we need to hurt ourselves or create a situation where we don’t want to work out at home anymore. So please take stretching seriously, be safe, and have fun exercising.