Located in the front of each thigh, the quadriceps work with your hamstrings -- the muscles in the backs of your thighs -- to bend and straighten your legs. The quads also support your knee joints. Keeping your quadriceps flexible with regular stretching exercises, such as the side lying quad stretch, improves your movement and reduces your injury risk.
Perform a warm-up exercise such as a five-minute walk to warm the muscles. Stretching cold muscles increases the risk of injury.
Lie on your left side with your legs extended and stacked. Support your head with your left arm. Position your body in a straight line.
Bend your right leg and, with your right hand, bring your foot toward your buttocks. As you exhale, slowly pull your right leg backward until your feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Your right knee should be pointing towards your extended left foot. Do not lift your right leg off your left. Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds.
Inhale as you slowly straighten your right leg to the starting position and relax for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat for two to five repetitions. Switch sides and repeat the steps with your left leg.
- Before starting a new exercise program, consult a medical professional.
- Performing stretching exercises regularly provides the best results. MayoClinic.com recommends stretching at least two to three times a week.
- If you can't reach your foot in the standard position, use a towel to wrap around your foot.
- Stretching exercises create muscle tension that you will feel. However, you should not feel pain. If you experience pain while performing this stretch, stop immediately.
- The movements of this stretch should be slow and precise. Do not bounce while you're stretching. This increases the risk of overstretching and injury.
- Keep your back straight throughout the stretch. Do not allow it to arch.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.