Quadriceps Stretch

image

One thing that tightens up the quadriceps muscle more than just about anything is time spent being sedentary. (Hint, hint: Computer work and sitting in front of the TV.)

Prolonged sitting keeps your hips flexed. In this position, your quads are in a static contraction. This, in turn, tends to decrease hip range of motion, and may lead to hip arthritis.

Too much sitting can also tighten up your back muscles.

By nature of the muscle's location, a tight quad pulls your pelvis forward.  The spine tends to go along for the ride when the pelvis moves.  This means that as constantly contracting quads tug on the front of the hips, the lumbar lordosis (arch) in your low back increases, which may lead to tight back muscles, pain and posture problems. 

In most cases, the fix for tight quadriceps is simple enough: Stretch them!

Quad Stretch Prep
The following stretch can be used at the office for a work break and at home as part of your regular back maintenance program. It may also be really helpful after a workout, because exercising without stretching afterwards can result in excessively tight muscles.  (Trust me, I know this from personal experience!)

If you are de-conditioned or balance challenged, consider using a chair or wall for support. If you are super tight in your quads, consider using a strap or a belt to help you reach your foot.

Don't worry, I'll provide instructions for these variations. Otherwise, no other equipment is needed for the standing quadriceps stretch.