Transcript below of: How to stretch the quadriceps
Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. If you have a question that you’d like to submit, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion. This month’s question comes from Niamh OSullivan and thank you for the video that you created just on how to pronounce your name! Her question is about how to stretch the quadriceps.
I practice Ashtanga primary series (sometimes modified) and, although I do incorporate backbends, my quads do have a tendency to get tight which eventually requires help of a therapist. Rather than relying on therapy to loosen them, do you have any tips on quick short daily movements to keep them from tightening up?
Okay, good question Niamh. So, the first thing that comes to my mind is getting to the bottom of what it is that’s causing your quadriceps to tighten up so much that you might need a therapist to undo that and stretch the quadriceps. That seems like a more important thing than even what stretches or techniques or whatever that you can do to undo it. Why don’t you try to get to the root of why it’s happening in the first place? And, maybe you’re doing that already or you know what that is and it’s something that’s unavoidable. That’s totally possible. But, just in case I want to make sure you are looking there as well.
So, this is my particular favorite way to stretch the quadriceps. I have written about it in articles. I’m pretty sure it’s in my book, Functional Anatomy of Yoga, as well. It’s kind of like virasana, hero’s pose, but then you put your elbows on the floor. Or, if you can’t get that low, depending on how tight your quadriceps are, you may have to sit up on a block, or you may need to have two blocks behind you to support your hands higher than the level of the floor. That’s also okay. Then, after you lean back, you push your hips up into the air. I usually use this as a backbending prep. It’s more complex than that, but this is the basic jist of it.
By doing that, you’re going to get at both ends of the muscles to fully stretch the quadriceps. If you were just sitting in virasana, or hero’s pose, you would stretch the distal end of the quadriceps. By sitting back you’re stretching that end. And by lifting up, if you were sitting on a block, that would then stretch the hip flexor side of the quadriceps. So, that’s the quick thing that I would do.
The other thing I would do, because a therapist can be expensive, is get one of these massage rollers that they sell now. It’s kind of like a stick with these bits that roll around that stick and you can probably do some self-massage.
So, personally, I’d be more curious about what is causing that tension to happen in the first place, but that’s me. I hope that gave you something you can use and it’s useful for you. Anybody else, if you’ve got a question that you’d like to submit, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and we’ll get it answered.