Whether you are walking a ton, incorporating leg days into your fitness routine or are stuck at a desk and haven’t worked out in ages, the lower body is a smart area to stretch because the hips, glutes and hamstrings can get tight very easily. If you suffer from low back pain or achy hips, stretching the glutes and hip flexors can be very helpful in relieving your symptoms.
This lower-body stretch routine targets the front of the body (the hip flexors and quads) and the back of the body (the glutes, hamstrings and calves). It will also hit the side of the hips, including the gluteus medius and the inner thighs.
Standing with your feet as wide as your hips, step your right foot forward and keep your back leg straight. Come up onto your back toes, and bend your right knee over the ankle. Pull your naval in toward your spine. Feel a stretch in the front of the right hip and hold, and then switch sides.
From your hands and knees, step one foot forward and bend the front knee. Walk the foot forward far enough so that when you bend the front knee it’s over your ankle and you feel a stretch on the bent knee’s hip flexor. Hold with your hands on the ground or walk your hands up onto the opposite thigh. Pull the abs in. Hold and then switch sides
Standing Quad Stretch
Standing with your feet as wide as your hips, balance on your left leg as you bend your right knee up toward your butt. Then, grab onto your right ankle as you pull the foot close to your glute. If need be, hold onto your pant leg! Hold for 2-4 breaths and then switch sides.
Lying Quad Stretch
Lying down on your stomach, bend your right knee toward your butt and reach back with your right hand to grab your ankle or foot. Hold onto the foot and feel a stretch in the front of the leg (in the quad). Then switch sides.
Standing Figure Four
Standing with your feet as wide as your hips, balance on your left leg and bring the right leg up. Cross the right ankle over the left thigh and bend the right knee out to the side. Slightly bend the left leg and lean your torso forward, coming down as if you’re about to sit down. Balance here. Flex the right foot. Gently press your hands into your right thigh to open it up a little bit more for a deeper stretch. Hold for 2-4 breaths, and then switch sides.
Seated Figure Four
Sitting upright, bend your left knee, placing the left leg on the floor with the left shin parallel to the front of your body. Then cross your right leg over your left and try to line up the shins. The right knee may be reaching up toward the ceiling and that’s OK. Feel a stretch in the outer right hip and in the right glute. Then switch sides.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Start standing tall. Step your right foot 1-2 feet forward and bend your left knee as you lean forward over the straight right leg. Flex the right foot. Feel a stretch down the back of your leg and into your calf. Hold for 2-4 breaths and then switch sides.
Kneeling Hamstring Stretch
From your hands and knees, step one foot forward and straighten the leg. Flex the foot and slowly hinge forward at your hips just enough to feel a stretch behind the back of the front leg. Hold and then switch sides.
Wide Leg Seated Stretch
Seated on the ground, open your legs out wide and straight into a straddle position. It’s OK if your knees are bent due to flexibility issues. Flex the feet. Slowly lean forward just enough to feel a stretch in the inner thighs. Hold, move forward when possible, and then release.
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