This excellent stretch should be a regular part of your cool down. Strength training exercises such as squats, step-ups, and knee extensions focus on strengthening the quadriceps muscles. This stretch will help these muscles relax and make them more flexible.
- Stand next to a counter or sturdy chair with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees straight, but not locked.
- With your left hand, hold a chair or counter for balance. Bend your right leg back and grasp your right ankle in your right hand until your thigh is perpendicular to the ground. Make sure you stand up straight—don't lean forward. (If you can't grasp your ankle in your hand, just keep your leg as close to perpendicular as possible and hold the bend, or place your foot on the seat of a chair.) You should feel a stretch in the front of the thigh.
- Hold the stretch for a slow count of 30 to 30, breathing throughout.
- Release your right ankle and repeat with the other leg.
Make sure you:
- Breathe throughout the stretch, concentrating on relaxing.
- Stand up straight and look straight ahead.
- Don't lock your supporting knee.