If your quad muscles are tight, read this.
Having tight quads is a common problem with runners. You need flexibility in your thighs and quads to protect your knees and run with proper form.
Most runners use the “heel-to-butt” stretch to loosen up and stretch the quad muscle. Unfortunately, this bending of the knee can cause knee problems and set you up for injury.
Luckily, there’s a much better quad stretch. I love to use this one with runners in my physical therapy practice.
This stretch works best after running as a cool-down, and it’s much safer for your knees.
Watch this video to learn the stretch!
Here’s How to Do It
Find a piece of furniture to put your back left foot on. It could be a bed, a massage table, or anything about that height.
Balancing on the right leg, bend your left knee and put your back foot on the furniture. Hop away from your back foot a little to avoid compressing the knee.
Then, drive the heel of your left hand up in the air. That’s going to tie into the abdominal muscles and stabilize the entire leg.
If you don’t feel a stretch, bend your right leg until you do. You should feel a nice stretch through your quad, but nothing should hurt. Do three to five reps on both sides, holding for 10-30 seconds each time.
Where Do Runners Go Wrong?
Avoid sitting backwards. This compresses the knee, increasing your risk of joint problems or a meniscus injury.
Don’t compensate by arching the back. Squeezing your glute muscle will prevent arching and stabilize your pelvis.
Make sure your knee is tucked directly under your hip. Runners with tight quads often let the knee push out to the side. We want to remove any compensations.
The Takeaway Message
Flexibility in your thigh can help prevent knee pain but also allow you to open your stride & run faster.
Add the quad stretch above to your warm-up or cool-down to keep yourself running injury-free!
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