Feel tight in the front of your thighs? This stretch is a great way to loosen up.
As a Physical Therapist, most of my runners use the “heel-to-butt” stretch to loosen up and stretch their thighs. Unfortunately, it rarely helps improve flexibility that will help with injury prevention or performance.
When talking about quad or thigh tightness, we’re really talking about the rectus femoris muscle, one of four quad muscles. Without getting overly technical, tightness in this muscle can not only cause issues with the knee cap (ie, Runner’s Knee) but can also prevent you from running faster.
How? The tightness can alter the tracking of your knee cap and also restrict you from opening your stride. That means you’ll be more likely to shuffle, scuff, and have trouble controlling your pace — especially when you’re tired.
Instead of the old “heel-to-butt” stretch, I prefer a more runner-specific way.
Watch this video to learn the stretch: