If you spend much of your day at a desk, in a car, or on a couch, you probably have tight legs/decreased flexibility. Especially at the hips. If you follow a pretty sedentary day with squatting at the gym without proper stretching, don’t be surprised if your hips or back start to hurt. Your body needs consistent movement, exercise, and flexibility, and 1 hour a day of lifting is not going to cut it. In order to reduce risk of injury, do the stretches below to keep your legs limber before and after you hit the gym.
1. Piriformis Stretch:
1. Cross one leg fully over the opposite leg, so your knee is crossed over your thigh.
2. Pull the crossed knee toward your opposite shoulder, feeling a stretch in your buttocks.
2. Butterfly Stretch
1. Sit up with feet together, moving the knees down toward the ground.
2. Use your hand to press knee into the ground and move your groin closer to your heels for deeper stretch.
3. Kneeling Lunge: Hip Flexor Stretch
1. Get into a lunge position, with knee and foot about hip width apart from the
2. Keep the chest tall and the hips square as you lean your hips forward.
3. To make the stretch harder, you can pull the back ankle up off the ground.
4. Frog Stretch
1. Start on hands and knees, bringing your knees as far apart as is comfortable.
2. Rock back and forth slowly in that position.
3. Keep the balls of your feet on the ground, with toes pointed outward.
5. Pigeon Stretch:
1. Start on your hands and knees and bring 1 knee in front of you bent to a 90-degree angle. The back knee can be bent or extended behind you as is comfortable.
2. Lower your hips down toward the floor.
3. Keep the chest up tall, and only bear as much weight as you can comfortably tolerate.
6. Calf Stretch: A stretch that a lot of people ignore, but will help you squat deeper to prevent hurting your back.
1. Stand with legs in a long stride, with hands on the wall for balance
2. Keep back heel on the ground and knee straight
3. Bend into front knee, feeling the stretch in the back leg
7. Quad Stretch:
1. Standing, grab one foot behind you pulling the ankle and knee back as far as you can tolerate.
If pain persists despite frequent stretching contact your physician or a trusted physical therapist to guide you in the best plan to address your pain.