The amount of time you spend in the seated position can greatly impact the tightness felt in your hips and thighs. The longer you sit, the tighter these muscles can get. The thighs, or quadriceps and hamstrings, are used in most types of aerobic exercises, including running, biking or cycling, really anything that requires your lower body to do.
When your thighs are sore, standing quickly is avoided and going up stairs out of the question. People who put mileage on their shoes with the treadmill or outdoors know the value of stretching your thighs. Anyone doing weighted squats within their weekly workout routine will realize the importance of a good warm up and quad-stretch prior to lifting for maximum performance and minimal soreness over the following days. The two main muscle groups in the thigh are the quadriceps, or front thigh, and hamstrings, the rear thigh.
Quadriceps aka “Quads”
- Stand near a wall or sturdy equipment for balancing support
- Grab your ankle (not your foot) and gently pull your heel towards your buttocks until you feel a stretch in your front thigh.
- Keep your knees close together, your back straight and your chest out
- You can change the angle of your heel to target different parts of your quadriceps
- Hold for at least 15 seconds but no longer than 30 seconds.
- Repeat, alternating sides
Hamstrings aka “Hammys”
- Stand with your right foot a few inches in front of your left with the right toes lifted.
- Slightly bend your left knee and pull your torso forward and down
- From your hips, lean forward.
- For balancing, rest of your palms on top of your left thigh
- Repeat with your left foot in front
- Don’t lean forward so far that you feel strain in your lower back or lose your balance