Have you been battling tight hamstrings? Have you been stretching your hip flexors (psoas) with no appreciable change? Do you struggle with low back pain while standing, walking or when getting up? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s time to check if you have tight quads, and if so, do something about it!
The easiest way to check is to perform the standing quad stretch:
- Stand where you have something to hold on to. Bring one knee up toward your chest and grasp the ankle with the same side hand.
- With your knee up, pull your heel toward your buttock.
- Engage your core. The distance between your hip bone and the bottom front ribs should stay the same as you lower your knee toward the ground.
- Lower the knee as far as you can toward the ground. You will feel a stretch at the front of the thigh.
Are your knees right next to each other? If yes, and you didn’t cheat by letting your pelvis tilt forward, then your quad is fine! If not, stay here for 20 seconds, repeat on the other side, then stretch each side once more for 30 seconds. Perform this stretch once or twice daily. Breathe!!!
For a stretch that is even more effective, because it reaches into the attachments right around the hip joint, try the half kneeling version! (This version may not work for people with severe knee problems).
- Find a place along a wall. Place a pillow or pad on the floor about 8” from the wall.
- Get on all fours, facing away from the wall. Place one knee on the pillow, and the foot up against the wall, toes down.
- Bring the other leg forward into a lunge position.
- Slightly tuck your chin and engage your core muscles, so that you have a firm connection between your hip bone and the front bottom ribs. With your hands on your forward thigh, raise your upper body until it is angled forward about 20 degrees. If you don’t feel a stretch at this point, you may need to move your knee closer to the wall and the foot higher.
- To deepen the stretch, press into the wall with your foot and squeeze the glute muscle.
- Lengthen your spine and breathe!