You can be a casual sportsman and still enjoy the benefits of leg stretching. In this article, you’ll learn the different leg stretches and the different leg muscles to exercise.
Types of Stretching
There are different stretching techniques that can give you improved fitness and increased flexibility, including;
This is the most common type, and you can do it by extending the leg muscles as much as you can and holding the position for at least 30 seconds. Static stretches can be done in two ways:
- Active: You pull or push on the leg muscles to increase the intensity of the stretch.
- Passive: You get someone else to apply pressure on the muscle, or a towel or elastic band is used to increase the intensity.
This type of stretching involves constantly moving to imitate a portion of the exercise or sport you perform. For instance, if you’re a runner, you could take slow strides while raising your knees to your chest and pumping your arms slowly.
Ballistic stretching uses repeated bouncing movements. You could drop down into a crouch and then spring straight upwards into the air by pushing off the balls of your feet.
Performing this act repeatedly helps stretch your calf muscles. However, doctors recommend starting with static stretches before moving to ballistic stretches.
Active Isolated Stretching
You do this exercise repeatedly for only two seconds at a time. During each interval, try increasing the degree of stretching by a small amount.
This exercise is usually done with a hard foam roller. For instance, you can sit on one, so the underside of your thigh or hamstring rests on the foam roller. Next, you slowly roll back and forth over the roller to relieve tension and improve flexibility in the muscle.
While rolling, you need to cover 2 – 6 inches of your leg while rolling for 30 – 60 seconds.
Leg Muscles to Stretch and How to Stretch Them
There are several leg muscles that you can stretch, including;
Also known as “the calf muscle,” it’s made up of two separate muscles on the backs of your lower legs. During exercise, shift your weight forward and put one leg in front of you while keeping your back heel on the floor.
These are made up of four separate muscles at the front part of your thigh. To start the exercise, stand up straight and do something stable like a chair with your right hand. Next, bend your right leg and reach behind your back with your left hand, grasping your right ankle.
Three hamstring muscles run along the back of your thigh, and they begin at the bottom of your pelvis, go across the knee, and end at the lower section of your leg.
To exercise these muscles, put your legs in front of you while resting on the floor. Next, lean forward slowly and gently while keeping your back straight.
As an adult, it’s best to do stretches 2 or 3 times a week. However, you shouldn’t stretch when your muscles are cold, so you shouldn’t start stretching immediately when you get to the gym or step on the tennis court.