If you're an athletic gal who calls the gym, the tennis court, the slopes or the cycling or running track her second home, you're probably no stranger to quadriceps stretches. Besides, stretching the front of your upper legs prevents injuries, strengthens your muscles, improves your range of motion and promotes recovery after exercising. After mastering basic and intermediate quadriceps stretches, advanced isolated stretches can take your flexibility up a notch. Stretch one leg at a time so you can really focus on the quadriceps without interference from supporting muscles.
Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch
Come down on both knees on an exercise mat and lunge forward with your right foot so your right thigh is parallel to the floor with your knee directly above your ankle, and your left thigh is stretching forward in a diagonal position. Place your right hand on your right thigh for support.
Tighten your abdominals to stabilize your body, bend your left knee and raise your heel up toward your tush. Reach around with your left hand and grasp the front of your left foot.
Pull the heel of your left foot closer to your tush, and push your hips gently forward to emphasize the stretch in your left quadriceps. Look straight ahead, keep your back straight and hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch at least three times before switching legs.
Lying Quadriceps Stretch
Lie on your back on an exercise mat, straighten your legs and align your head, shoulders and hips.
Bend your right knee, bring your lower leg out to the side and up toward your tush, and rest it on the floor next to your body.
Round your lower back a little -- avoid overarching it -- and focus on the stretch in the front of your right thigh. Hold it for at least 30 seconds before straightening your leg and releasing the tension. Repeat this stretch three times on each side.
- Don't hold your breath when stretching -- breathe as normal.
- Consult a doctor before taking on advanced stretches, especially if you have an injury or health condition.
- To prevent injuries, only do advanced isolated quadriceps stretches if you're at an advanced fitness level. Avoid doing these stretches if you're inactive or of moderate fitness level.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.