Best exercises for stretching your legs
Looking for the best stretching exercises for your legs? If so, you aren’t alone. As a blogger, I find myself sitting for long periods of time behind a desk, which has a terrible way of causing leg cramps.
And it’s not just bloggers who struggle with this problem. Truck drivers, office workers, and folks who travel on planes a lot deal with this dilemma. Shoot, even runners and bodybuilders can have this problem.
After doing some research and talking to a few experts, I decided to create a list of five best exercises for stretching the legs.
As part of this post, I’ve included a video that is designed to provide you a visual on how to conduct the exercise. That said, if have chronic leg pain, including tightness and cramping, you should talk to your medical doctor to rule out possible medical causes.
Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, here’s my top five leg stretching exercises. I’ve tried them all and can tell you first hand they do wonders to help loosen tightness and get blood circulation going.
1. Hamstring Stretch
This exercise is easy and straightforward. Stand with one leg just in front of the other and bend your back knee, resting your weight on the bent knee. Then, tilt your hips forward. You can also do this exercise on the floor. It's up to you.
“This is a terrific exercise for elongating the muscles and preventing cramping from happening in the first place,” says Michael Elder, a personal trainer in Chicago who helps men to develop stronger leg muscles.
2. Standing Wall Calf Stretch
If your calves tend to lock up or cramp, you might want to try this simple exercise.
Stand several feet away from a wall. Stagger your stance and place one your feet forward. Then, lean forward and place your palms on the wall while making sure your heel, hip, and head are all in a straight line.
Try your best to keep your heel on the ground and hold that position for 10-30 seconds. Alternate sides. It's OK to build up to longer times as a goal.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch
This exercise feels amazing and isn’t hard to do.
Kneel with one of your knees on a padded surface or carpet. The other leg should be bent in front of you. Use your hips to push forward while keeping your back upright.
Try to hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Alternate side. Allow yourself to feel the stretch as you conduct the exercise.
4. Long Abductor Stretch
Out of all the leg stretching exercises listed, this one is probably the most intense (but worth doing!).
Go ahead and take a seat on a padded surface, mat or hard floor. Spread your legs as far apart as you can without causing discomfort. Keep your knees straight. Lean forward from the hips, keeping your shoulders and back as straight as possible. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Then, gently lean back to the starting position.
“This is a good exercise for the legs and back and helps with core, too,” says Elder.
5. Standing Outer Hip Stretch
If you want a good stretching exercise for your hips and legs, you might want to try this one.
Stand with one leg resting behind the other. Gently lean over to the non-resting side. With the hip you want to stretch, push your hip outwards to the other side.