Stretching your biceps and quadriceps can lessen the annoying aches and soreness that you get after a hard workout. Invest five to 10 minutes of stretching after your workout to relax your body and mind. Maximize your stretching and relaxation by breathing deeply into your belly because holding your breath can make the muscles tighter.
Too much arm curling can cause your elbows to get locked into a constantly bent position. Stretching your biceps not only increases elbow extension, but also stretches the nerves that extend from your shoulder to your fingers and hands. A easy stretch that you can do almost anywhere is by putting your left palm against a wall with your fingers pointing down, and stand with your feet about hip-distance apart. Tilt your head to your right and depress your left shoulder, stretching the biceps and the side of your neck. Another bicep stretch is to put both hands against the wall with your fingers pointing down. Push against the wall with your elbows straight. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
The standing quadricep stretch targets the thigh muscles, decreasing muscle spasms that you get after a long run or doing squats. Stretching from a standing position also works your core to maintain your body alignment and balance. Stand with your hand against a wall and grab your left ankle with your left hand. Tighten your buttocks as you hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Keep your left kneecap pointing down and avoid swaying your upper body. Other stretches for your quads include the kneeling hip flexor stretch, which work on both your hip flexors and quads.
Stretching isn't just about holding a stretch and watching the clock tick away. Dynamic stretching is moving multiple body parts together to simulate sport-specific or movement-specific actions, exercise physiology Dr. Len Kravitz says. Examples of exercises for your biceps and quadriceps include swinging your arms to the front and back or side to side and doing butt kicks and knee lifts from a standing position. This will help you perform better in your upcoming workout. Be sure to control the movement and range of motion to prevent pulling your tendons and ligaments.
Don't ignore their neighbors! Your biceps and quadriceps are connected to nearby muscles, and they all work together to move. Stretching nearby parts, such as your shoulders, spine and buttocks, can influence the flexibility of your biceps and quads, according to massage therapist Thomas Myers, author of "Anatomy Trains." Do stretches that work several body parts together with your biceps and quads, such as the sun salutation or the warrior poses from yoga. If you have pain or any medical conditions, check with your health care provider before doing any stretching.
- ExRx: Standing Quadriceps Stretch
- Stretch to Win; Ann and Chris Frederick
- Anatomy Trains; Thomas Myers
- University of New Mexico: Stretching: A Research Retrospective
- ExRx: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
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.