After an extreme workout at a boot camp, your quadriceps are still sore and stiff despite the cool-down you performed after training. Whether you live in an apartment or a two-story house, you can use the stairs to stretch your aching thighs. Any flight of stairs will do the job, from household steps to large, stadium steps. Be careful that you don't get too eager and overstretch your quads.
Stand at the bottom of the stairs and face the steps. Put your right foot on top of a step about 2 feet away from your other foot, allowing your left hip to extend.
Put your hands on your right knee and shift your weight toward your right foot.
Breathe deeply and slowly as you relax your pelvis, allowing your body to naturally sink downward. You should feel a stretch in your quads. Increase the distance between your feet if you don't feel the stretch. Keep your left heel on the floor as you hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. Keep your pelvis square, meaning that the pelvis should be facing forward without excessive rotation or lateral tilt.
Switch leg position and repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
- Stretch to Win; Ann and Chris Frederick
- Tighten your glutes slightly to increase the stretch. If stairs or steps aren't available, do the basic quad stretch by standing on one leg and holding the opposite ankle with one hand behind you. The kneeling or standing hip flexor stretch also stretches your quadriceps.
- The distance between your feet when doing the stairway stretch would depend on your ability to extend the hip and leg, your leg length and the height of the steps. Adjust the distance accordingly.
- Stretching too much and too far can cause a stretch reflex, which is an involuntary contraction of your hip and leg muscles and joints that protects them from overstretching and tearing. This causes the muscles and joints to become more painful and resistant to length changes. The stretching sensation shouldn't feel painful or major discomfort. If you feel pain, then you've stretch too much.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.