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A lack in leg flexibility can lead to numerous problems, including poor posture, joint pain, and back pain. Leg flexibility problems can affect office workers who spend hours at a time sitting at a desk, thereby shortening the hamstrings. Many athletes struggle with leg flexibility as well, primarily due to unbalanced development in the leg muscles that can lead to problems if left unchecked. There are a few easy leg stretches that you can do to increase leg flexibility, including quadricep, hamstring, gluteal, and calf stretches.
To stretch out the quadriceps, stand up straight on one foot and pull the other foot behind you with one hand. Your toes on the stretched food should be pointing directly behind you. If you need help staying balanced, do this stretch next to a wall and use your other hand for balance. Hold your foot for 30 seconds and then alternate to the other foot. A common mistake that people make when doing this stretch is that they bend at the waist — if you are not feeling a stretch in the front of your thigh, drive your knee forward and make sure that you are standing straight up and not leaning forward.
Hamstring stretches begin with you sitting on the ground with your legs flat and straight in front of your chest. Tuck one of your legs in and place your foot against your inner thigh, directly above the knee joint. On the foot that is still outstretched, point your toe upward and reach down that leg with both of your arms as far as you can go without any pain. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg. Performing this stretch can increase knee and hip flexibility.
Common mistakes that occur when performing the hamstring stretch include lifting the knees off the floor. Also, some people bounce to reach further down the legs. If you can't comfortably hold your legs flat on the ground, then reach for a spot higher up your leg to help avoid injury.
To stretch out your gluteals, lie on the ground with your back against the floor and place a leg at an approximate 90-degree angle. Take your other foot and place your ankle on the knee of your non-stretching bent leg. To get a good gluteal stretch, drive your non-stretching leg closer to your body just until the stretch in your gluteal becomes uncomfortable. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then alternate legs.
The calf stretch begins on the ground with your hands flat on the ground out in front of your head, your butt straight in the air, and your feet on the ground close together. Bend one of your knees and then try to drive the heel of your other foot as close to the floor as you can before the stretch in your calf becomes uncomfortable. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then alternate legs.
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