We’ve all seen it. “Dancer” pose to yogis. Generic “quad stretch” to most of the world. Even most beginner runners instinctively know they need to stretch their quad. But most of us don’t do it. Or we do it improperly for five seconds. Because we don’t know quite how.
Here’s a quick tutorial.
You’ve just finished your activity, maybe a long run…maybe just a spring around the block!
Start by coming to standing mountain pose. Plant your feet on the ground, hip width apart and parallel. Toes point forward. Soften the shoulder blades onto the back. Extend through the top of the head. Fix your gaze ahead. Find a spot to focus on in the room, preferably something not moving! (So not your running buddy or your dog!)
Pick the leg you start with. Let’s look at our right leg here. Bring your hands to your hips. Lift the kneecap up on the standing left leg, taking care not to lock out the knee and jam it back. Spread the weight evenly on the left foot. Breaststroke your right arm out to grab the outside of the right foot. From there, you could keep your left hand on your hip for balance or you extend and reach your left arm up like you could give someone a high five.
You may stay here, as pictured below, working to bring the knee in line with the hip. (For many of us with tighter bodies the knee loves to splay out to the side and fall forward towards our toes.)
If you feel you want to go more deeply into the pose, begin to lift more vigorously through the extended left arm. Reach towards the ceiling and as you lift and reach up, begin to kick the right knee back behind you. Only kick back as much as you are lifting up. Kick and lift. Kick and lift.
Stay in the pose for at least 5-15 solid breaths!
Return to mountain pose and repeat on second side.
Do you love quad stretches? Do you do them after your runs? Will you now?
Lora is a yoga teacher, motivational speaker, and author who provides yoga for runners, athletes and everyBODY. Founder of #PassLove, Lora also lectures on improving your wellness business, finding and living your passion, and self-love. Lora wants to challenge your body, connect you to the present, and promote self-esteem and compassion. Whether an Ironman, yoga teacher, or just starting the journey, Lora helps take the practice to the next level–on and off the mat. Lora’s yoga classes and workshops nationwide include Lora Love Flows, Yoga to Unstuck Yourself, Yoga for Creativity and Yoga for Athletes.