How to Do Stretches if You Can't Touch Your Toes

Pulling your knees toward your chest stretches your lower-back muscles.
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Do you have one of those jobs where you sit for long periods of time? If you do, chances are by the end of the day the muscles in your lower back and legs have become tight and stiff. Toe-touching stretches can help release some of this tightness; they effectively stretch your lower back, butt, hamstrings and calf muscles. But, you may not have the flexibility to touch your toes. The good news is that there are several no-toe-touching stretches that focus on these muscles.

    Step 1

    Perform knee-to-chest stretches. This exercise focuses on stretching the muscles in your lower back, according to In addition, you can give your butt muscles a good stretch. Lie back on the floor and extend your legs straight out in front of you. This is the starting position. Bend your right knee and lift it up toward your chest. Grab your knee with both hands and gently pull it closer to your chest. Hold the stretch and then return your leg to the starting position. Repeat the stretch with your left leg. Try lifting both knees at the same time for a variation.

    Step 2

    Lie on the floor a few inches from an outer wall corner to stretch your hamstrings. Raise your left leg and with a slight bend in your knee, place your heel against the wall. Keep your right leg straight and flat on the floor. Slowly straighten your left leg until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of your thigh. Hold the stretch, reposition yourself and repeat with your right leg. If you don't feel the stretch, scoot your butt closer to the wall.

    Step 3

    Lean into and push against a sturdy wall to stretch your calf muscles. Without any extra training aids, you can perform this stretch just about anywhere. Stand an arm's length away from the wall, extend your arms and put your palms against the wall at eye level. Take a staggered stance, right foot ahead of your left to stretch your left leg. With your toes pointing toward the wall, keep your heels on the floor, your left leg straight and bend your right knee. Lean toward the wall until you feel the stretch in the back of your lower left leg. Hold the stretch, switch your legs and repeat.


    • Do an easy 10-minute aerobic warm-up to increase circulation and flexibility.


    • Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Do two to three sets of 30 seconds with each leg.


    • If you have had or are susceptible to muscle pulls or strains, check with your doctor before doing the stretches.

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