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How to Stretch Legs for Squatting

author image Ryan Mess
Ryan Mess earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Cal Poly SLO, where he played rugby. His fitness expertise bloomed during his college and semi-pro rugby career. And since then, he has been training everyone from youth to professional athletes to grandparents in all things fitness and health while still competing.
How to Stretch Legs for Squatting
Woman doing lunges on the beach Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Squatting involves starting from a standing position and while bending at the hip and knees, you bring your hip crease well below the horizontal plane of your knees, while keeping your torso as vertical as possible and your feet flat on the ground. From that bottom position, you stand back to vertical. The squat is the king of athletic training movements because it involves the entire body and demands a strong core, strong legs, good hip extension, and good balance to be performed well. Warming up efficiently for this multi-joint, demanding movement is imperative. Know that your whole body should be warm. Spend extra time on your weak areas, and use dynamic movements before the workout with static stretching done at the end.

Lunge Variations

Lunges are an example of a dynamic, squat-specific movement. To perform walking lunges, you take a long step forward. Once you put your foot down, lower your back knee to the ground while keeping your torso straight up and your front foot flat on the ground with your heel planted. From there, drive off your front leg up and into the next stride, squeezing the butt muscle of the driving leg into the next step. The key is to lower yourself straight down each stride, and not drift forward. Jump lunges would be the next progression. Instead of walking, start at the bottom of a lunge and jump up in the air, switching your stance, and landing in the opposite stance of where you started. Then repeat. These movements open up your hip and groin region, and warm up your hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves.

Walking Good Mornings

Take a step forward, and while keeping your back totally flat and chest up, bow over your front leg, keeping it straight, and hinging at the waist. Then pull yourself back to the upright position and right into the next step, using the front leg as the mover. The key is to keep the back totally flat and feel an aggressive stretch in the back of the front leg -- hamstring, glute and calf. Then step forward into the next one and repeat.


Because squatting well depends on your ability to produce force into the ground, explosive movements like jumping wake up your central nervous system, and prepare for the demanding workout. Box jumps, jumping rope, skipping, bounding, and other forms of jumping are examples of productive warmup movements. Usually you want your jumps in the 40 rep range. You can hold weight, increase or decrease box heights, or alter the tempo of your work for constant results.

Hip Mobility

On a surface about the same height as your waist, lay your calf on the surface with your shin bone perpendicular to your line of site. If you put your right leg up, your knee will be off to the right and the bottom of your foot will be facing toward the left. Keeping your chest tall and back flat, you can hinge at your waist over your leg or to any side direction to work that hip joint and mobilize it. If this is too uncomfortable, you can mimic this on the floor by putting one leg back and the other in front of you with your calf lying in that same position. Then you can stretch over and around the hip.

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