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5 Stretches for the Lower Body

Regardless of an individual’s activity level, sport, or occupation, maintaining good mobility can help alleviate general aches and pains.  Here are 5 lower extremity stretches that can be easily worked into any routine.  The optimal time to incorporate static stretches are after working out.  Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times.

1.      Figure-4 stretch: While laying on your back, bend your left knee and cross your right ankle over your knee.  Pull your left thigh slowly towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your hip.

2.      Hip flexor stretch: Start by kneeling on one knee with the other bent at 90/90 in front of you. Squeeze your glutes so that your hips are in neutral position and slowly bring your torso and hips forward as one unit until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip.

3.      Hamstring stretch: Sit with your legs extended straight out in front of you.  Without bending through your low back, lower your torso towards your thighs until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.

4.      Butterfly stretch: From a sitting position, bring the bottoms of your feet together so that your knees flare out to the sides.  For added stretch, you can use your elbows to press your knees down and lean forward slightly without bending through your low back.

5.      Calf stretch: Start by standing and facing a wall.  Bring your toes up and press them into the wall and lean forward slightly until you feel a stretch in your calf.  Repeat this with a bent knee.

Jenna Janadi is a certified Athletic Trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, CA.