10 LEG STRETCHES FOR IMPROVED LEG FLEXIBILITY
Attaining leg flexibility, and even all-round body flexibility is a goal for the majority of us, but then the problem comes when we don’t know where or how to start and seem stuck, but these stretches for flexibility are here to guide you
I know, I’ve been there before.
And the good news? There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and from being self-taught, I will be sharing with you, 10 beginner leg flexibility stretches, that I used when starting out,
And that also helped me get closer to the grown, to achieve my splits and a full straddle.
Sure, when you are first starting out, its going to be painful, especially if you are stiff, and your hamstrings are just not cooperating with you.
But doing these stretches at least 4 times a day, and for at least 20 minutes, will make the difference.
Set your mindset to be attaining a good amount of flexibility in your legs, and not just trying to do the splits, because,
Trust me, the splits will come when you least expect it.
And now let me introduce you to the ten stretches that helped me attain flexible legs.
- Wide-legged forward fold/Straight-legged forward fold
- High Lunge
- Low lunge with hands and elbows
- One legged forward stretch
- Forward pike
- Pancake stretch/Straddle
- Half Split
- Standing and Kneeling Quad Stretch
- Pigeon pose
- Pyramid Hold
I will breakdown this stretches properly, including instructions and directions to help you perfect your form to avoid injury.
ALERT!!! DON’T OVERSTRETCH
You don’t want to do more than your body could handle.
P.S. True story, I sprained my left hamstring when I overstretched, and it cost me months of stretches not my left leg because my hamstring had to heal.
So, that this precaution seriously.
Anyway, allow me breakdown these stretches for you.
BEGINNER STRETCHES FOR A MORE FLEXIBLE LEG
WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD/STRAIGHT-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD
I put these two together for a reason, because you can go from a wide-legged fold to a straight-legged fold.
This is one of my favorite stretches to unlock tight hamstrings and it can also be a starting pose for your routine.
- Stand straight, with you legs fairly wide apart or straight together
- Lift your hands straight up to the sky, and lower your upper body down, keeping your back straight and legs straight.
- Try to first touch your fingers or palms to the floor.
- If you cannot reach that low, stay in the position that you feel most stretched out.
- Hold this position for 30-60seconds
With time, you will notice your hamstrings opening up, and you will see yourself getting lower to the ground.
TIP: Use a prop, like a yoga block to support yourself when you lean forward, so that you wont just hang on the air.
2. HIGH LUNGE
A lunge is another good leg stretch. Plus, it doesn’t just work the legs, but also helps to unlock tight hips, and add a little workout to your glutes. It works on both your hamstring and your front thighs.
- From a wide legged fold, turn to your side, still in that position and with a flat back
- Move your back leg backward, and placing your hands on your front knee, lower your hips into a lunge.
- To make this an active stretch, don’t lower your back leg down to the ground, but leave it hanging, supporting yourself with your front leg.
- You can also raise your hands, to deepen the stretch
- Activate your hips in this pose, and don’t lean into it
- Hold for 15-30 seconds.
3. LOW LUNGE WITH HANDS AND ELBOWS
This is very similar to the high lunge, but this time, you get to support yourself with your palms on the ground, and to deepen the stretch, lower yourself down to your elbows.
Don’t lower your back leg, but keep it the same way as in the high lunge to feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings.
4. ONE LEGGED FORWARD STRETCH
Another of my favorite stretch, because this works both your hamstrings, and stretches out your lower back.
- Start in a kneeling position.
- Bring one leg forward, and stretch it outward
- With a flat back, try to touch your nose to your knee
- If you can’t, that ok. Reach as far as you can to feel the stretch on your outer leg.
- Remember your back leg is still in a kneeling position, and your front leg is outstretched.
- Hold on each leg for 30 seconds
5. FORWARD PIKE
This stretch takes some time to learn and perfect, but it is a great stretch for your hamstrings and lower back.
It is great for those who suffer from mild back pain, because doing this stretch often will help release the tension in your back.
- Start in a sitting position with both your legs outstretched in front of you
- Raise your hands up, and with a deep breath, lower your hands down to your legs
- Try to touch your nose to your knees
- If you can’t reach that far, start with trying to get your hands to touch your toes.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds
6. PANCAKE STRETCH/STRADDLE
This, no doubt, tends to be one of the hardest stretches people tend to achieve, even more than the middle split.
Because it involves, your hamstrings, your hips, inner thighs, in fact your whole body.
And when I post a picture of my straddle on Reddit, I got a lot of comment asking me how I was able to go so deep in my straddle.
I’m not naturally flexible at all, but I know what I did to get there, and I tried to give them tips as much as I could, and I would do the same right here.
- Start in a sitting position like you would do in a forward pike but this time, open your legs as wide as you can
- Make sure you are comfortable in the position, and your knees are not hanging upwards.
- Front there lean your body forward
- First of all, try getting your elbows to touch the ground (that’s how I started out)
- Once you are there, you can begin to move your hands forward.
- Make sure you are breathing through it and don’t tense up your body.
- Do this stretch for 30-60 seconds
- This stretch will increase your overall leg flexibility
TIP: To track your progress, go from touching your elbows to the floor, to touching your forehead to the floor, to touching your nose, cheeks, chest and officially your abdomen.
7. HALF SPLIT
Just like the name implies, the position is similar to a split, but not a full split. This pose will really help in prepping for a split.
- Start in a sitting position, like you would do in a forward pike
- Bend your knee, and turn one of your legs, hooking it behind you.
- To your forward outstretched leg, lower your body down to your leg as much as you can
- Switch, and repeat the same stretch to your other leg
- Hold this position for 30-60seconds
8. STANDING AND KNEELING QUAD STRETCH
I put the two together, because you can do which ever variation you like, although I have noticed that people prefer the standing quad stretch,
But that is entirely up to you.
For the kneeling quad stretch,
- Start by going on your knees
- Bring one leg in front of you in a kneeling position
- Move your hips forward a bit, to activate your hips
- Using one hand behind you, grab your feet behind you, bring in up and try to touch your feet with your bottom
- This is a great stretch for your quadriceps (quads)
For the standing quad stretch, it is similar, but this time, you are standing and not kneeling.
This is also good for those that have weak knees and intend to strengthen their knees.
9. PIGEON POSE
This is a very common yoga pose, and it is great for the hamstrings and the hips
- Start by going into a lunge
- From there, bend your front leg into 90-degree angle, and lower it to the floor
- You may not get a full 90 degrees, especially when you are just starting your journey, and that’s ok.
- As you lower it to the floor, stretch out your back leg, until you are comfortably sitting on the floor.
- Make sure you are not leaning to either the right or the left
- Endeavour your belly button is facing forward
- You should feel the stretch on your back leg and on your hip
- Hold on each side for 30 seconds.
10. PYRAMID HOLD
I like this pose also, because it works on both hamstrings, and at the same time. It is super easy and super effective.
- Start in a standing position
- Bring one leg behind, and make sure that both your feet are facing forward
- Lower your body slowly to your outstretched leg
- Try to get your hands to touch the floor, and if you can, get your nose to touch your knee.
- You might shake a bit in this position but that is fine.
- With time, you will be more stable and more relaxed in this stretch
And there you have it!
My top 10 leg flexibility stretches to help you attain flexible legs, so that you can achieve poses like the split, straddle leg raises etc.
I don’t just want you to read this post and shove it somewhere. Look into it, and practice these poses as much as you can.
Besides you don’t just get a split by wishing for it.
You have to put in the work and be consistent even when you don’t want to.
I hope this helps you start your journey.
Did you find it educative and informative? Drop a comment below or send me a message.
I want to see your progress, and if you want, I will write a post about it and publish on the blog.
Until next time guys!
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