Tight quadriceps muscles strike both the most active and the most sedentary of people. If you're a regular runner or strength-trainer, you'll find that your quads might tighten up after a rough workout or injury. For those who don't move quite as much, weak hip flexors and glutes can wreak havoc on both your quads and hamstrings.
After your muscles are properly warmed up, do some stretches for those tight quads—you'll feel them loosen up in no time.
Static Quadriceps Stretch
This standing stretch is probably your immediate go-to when you want to stretch your quads, but did you know it can be done lying down or on your side as well?
How to: Get into your preferred position — either standing, lying on your side or lying on your stomach — and use your right hand to reach back and pull your right foot toward your glutes. You should feel a good stretch in the front of the thigh, but don't go far enough that it hurts. For a deeper stretch, slightly pull your hip backward. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, release and repeat on the other leg.
To make this a dynamic stretch, take a step forward after releasing your leg from the stretch. Repeat on the other side, so you're stretching and moving forward.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Although this stretch focuses on your hip flexors, it also targets the tops of your quadriceps muscles and will help loosen the whole area.
How to: Kneel down with one knee on the floor and one foot in front of you, knee bent. Push your hips forward, keeping your back straight. Hold for around 30 seconds, and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Kneeling TA Stretch
It looks like an easy stretch, but you'll feel it through your entire quadriceps.
How to: Knee on a mat with your knees hip-width apart and your arms resting at your side. Lean backward, shifting your weight to move your hips closer to your heels. Place your arms behind your feet, gently supporting yourself with your fingertips. Hold for 30 seconds and release.
Standing Lunge Stretch
You can make this stretch dynamically too, by taking large steps forward after each lunge stretch.
How-to: Stand with your feet together and your arms at your side. Step forward with your right foot, keeping the left foot in place. Shift your weight to the front foot, feeling a stretch in the quads of the back leg. Keep your front knee behind the toebox of the front foot, and keep your torso upright. Hold for 30 seconds, release and repeat on the other side.