Leg Stretches: Improve Flexibility
It’s a good idea to warm up your muscles as part of your exercise routine. Muscles that are not properly warmed up are at higher risk of injury. This can easily be accomplished with a light, active warmup such as dynamic stretching or jogging.
While professionals disagree over whether it’s better to stretch before or after a workout, most doctors recommend stretching as part of an exercise routine, particularly if you’re doing activities such as running or biking.
Flexibility doesn’t happen overnight, however. Some people are naturally less flexible than others, so it may take weeks of regular stretching to improve joint mobility. Carol Michaels, founder of Recovery Fitness, is certified by the Cancer Exercise Training Institute, the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, and is a member of ACSM and IDEA.
Here are four leg stretches she recommends to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Try to hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.
The quadriceps, or quads for short, is the muscle group in the front of your thigh. You use these muscles when you walk, run, or do lunges.
To stretch your quads:
- Stand with your side to the wall, placing a hand on the wall for balance.
- Hold your outside foot with your outside hand and lift the foot up toward your rear end, keeping your thighs and knees together.
- You should feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the front of the thigh.
- Hold for a cycle of relaxation breathing, then do the same for the other foot.
The hamstrings are the muscles along the back of your upper leg, running from the thigh to the knee. They help you to bend your knee and move your hip. These muscles are used when you’re playing sports or running.
Your calf muscles are along the back of your lower leg. They help move your heel during activities such as walking, running, or jumping.
To stretch both muscle groups together:
- Place your right foot in front of you.
- Hinge at the waist to lean your torso forward toward the extended right leg, and bend your supporting knee.
- Slowly flex your right ankle so that your toes are pulling up toward your body.
- Hold for a cycle of relaxation breathing and then repeat with the left foot.
The inner thigh muscles help to stabilize your hip and knee joints. Exercises that focus on working inner thighs are often recommended to tone and strengthen the legs.
To stretch your inner thighs:
- Stand with a very wide stance.
- Bend your right knee as you shift your entire body right until you feel a stretch in your left inner thigh.
- Hold for a cycle of relaxation breathing, then shift your weight to the other side and repeat with the left leg.
This stretch works your lower back, hamstring, calf, and ankle. All of these areas are used in your daily activities, and while running or biking.
To perform this stretch:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Bend one knee and hug it into your body.
- Slowly kick that leg up toward the ceiling, straightening it and pulling it toward the torso until tension is felt behind the leg.
- Point and flex the foot 3 times and perform 3 ankle circles in each direction.
- Lower the leg and repeat with the opposite leg.
All four of these stretches can help you avoid injuries if you’re a runner or if you play any sport that works your legs. Do them either before or after a workout, or any time your leg muscles are feeling tight.
12 Best Leg Stretches For Seniors And The Elderly
I created Eldergym® to help YOU! If you are looking for one of the best FREE online resources for senior and elderly leg stretching exercises, you found it!Leg stretches for seniors and the elderly will help improve the mobility of the soft tissues around your joints including muscles, connective tissue and skin.
Watch these lower body flexibility exercise videos
Make sure to download my FREE ebook to begin your 4 week senior exercise program using all these great exercises!
1. Seated Lifts
- Improve the range of motion in your hips and legs.
- Help stabilize your low back and pelvis.
- Learn what is flexibility.
2. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
- Will improve your hip and knee range of motion with these exercises to increase flexibility.
- Can improve your standing posture by allowing you to stand up straighter.
3. Back Stretch
- Improves the range of motion in your spine and trunk with lower back stretching.
- Increases your ability to bend and reach low or high.
4. Inner Thigh Stretch
- Improve your hip and thigh range of motion with stretching legs exercises.
- Increase your functional ability in standing, walking and stepping.
5. Calf Stretch
- Targets the flexibility of your calf muscle and heel cord. with calf muscle stretches.
- Increases your ability to straighten your knee
6. Hip Side Stretch
- This is a good stretch for the side hip area.
- Improve the range of motion of our hips.
- These stretching techniques also can help with balance.
7. Hip Rotation Stretch
- Increase the range of motion of your hips with these flexibility stretches.
- Improve the functional use of your legs as in getting out of a car or stepping over the side of your bath tub.
8. Soleus Stretch
- Increases the flexibility of the deep calf muscle with flexibility stretching exercises.
- Generally improves your lower body flexibility and functional use of your legs.
9. Ankle Circles
- Improve the range of motion of the ankle and foot with warming up stretching.
- Can help with ankle swelling.
10. Hamstring Stretch
- Increases your ability to lean forward and reach your feet with hamstring stretching.
- Improves the flexibility of your low back and legs.
11. Knee To Chest
- Stretches your knee and hip joints with flexibility importance exercises.
- Improves low back flexibility.
12. Ankle Stretch
- Helps maintain good ankle flexibility which will assist with walking and standing with ankle stretching exercises.
- Also helps with knee and hip stiffness.
Make sure to download my FREE ebook to begin your 4 week senior exercise program using all these great exercises!
Performing many of your daily activities requires an unrestricted and pain-free range of motion.
Having adequate motion in your low back, hips, knees and ankles is an important factor in preventing injury or re injury around these joints.
As we age our mobility may become restricted due to decreased activity levels, prolonged bed rest and extended wheelchair use. This can lead to long term poor positioning of your joints with resulting stiffness and pain.
Through time your muscle strength is altered as the tissue shortens and loses its normal elasticity. As the muscle shortens it is no longer able to produce adequate strength to perform daily activities.
This cycle continues and may lead to increased stiffness and pain in your joints.
Types, Precautions & Health Benefits
As shocking as it may seem, our legs were meant to give us mobility, but most of us today spend little time on our feet, let alone running or walking. This lack of physical activity can greatly reduce the quality of your life and health however. This leads to the leg muscles getting tight and shortened due to lack of use.
The tighter the leg muscles, the higher the chances of injury. Not stretching your legs can also lead to back pain and joint problems.
It is therefore important to include leg stretches into your daily exercise routine. The best leg stretches work all the major muscle groups in the lower extremities helping reduce stress and improving flexibility. Stretches such as static stretches, dynamic stretches and yoga leg stretches target all the major leg muscles such as the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and shins. Yoga poses such as Down Dog pose, Mountain pose, Tree pose, Triangle pose, the Warrior poses, the Half Moon pose, and the Wheel pose all require strong legs. Practicing these postures will redefine your leg muscles over time and improve their strength. This will make it easier for you to hold these poses for longer as well. These stretches also lessen the risk of soreness and muscle fatigue. This is especially necessary if you work out or play any type of sport. From aerobics to weight training, soccer to running, strong legs are always an asset and leg stretches can help improve your performance both in the field and off.
Leg Stretches For Runners
Leg stretches for runners are an important part of the warm up routine. Even a ten-minute stretching routine before and after your run can save you a lot of trouble in terms of preventing injuries. However to gain maximum benefits from your stretching routine always move slowly in and out of your stretch and hold for at least 30 seconds. Never bounce while stretching and do not stretch past the point of mild discomfort. Warm up your muscles by walking briskly or jogging before you start stretching. This makes them more pliable and easier to stretch. An ideal program of leg stretches for runners should include at least one stretching exercise each for the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and hip flexors. You can also add a groin stretch and shin stretches to really increase your range of motion while running.
Types Of Leg Stretches
Following are a number of lower leg stretches that you can incorporate into your warm up:
Lower Leg Stretches :
Kneel down with your shins flat on the ground. Slowly sit back on your heels and feel the pressure increase on your shins. Hold for 30 seconds and release.
Standing shin stretch
Using your hand on a wall for balance, stand straight and place your right foot firmly on the ground. Place your left foot behind the right with only the toe touching the ground. Keeping this toe firmly in place, pull the leg forward and feel the stretch right through to your shins. If you find this difficult you can bend both knees slightly. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Advanced shin stretch
Kneel on the floor with your shins flat. Place your elbows near your knees and slowly sit back keeping your knees and feet together throughout. Hold for 30 seconds.
Stand up straight. Take a large stride and place one foot in front of the other. The back leg heel should be flat on the floor with the leg straight. Bend the front leg and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Advanced gastrocnemius stretch
Stand on a step or elevated platform with only your toes supported. Hang the rest of your foot off the step and drop the heels down. Make sure your knees are straight in this stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and release.
Stand close to a wall and place your hands on the wall. Place one of your legs in front of the other and lean your whole body forwards into the wall. Bend both knees and try to touch the wall but keep your heel down through the stretch.
Advanced soleus stretch
Place your foot on a step and bend your knees. Lean forwards and drop the heel off the step putting your weight on the front leg. Hold and release.
Repeat on the other side.
To the above lower leg stretches, you can add the following thigh stretches for a complete leg routine:
Thigh Stretches :
Balance on one leg and pull the other leg back and up towards your bottom. Increase the stretch by keeping your knees together and tilting your hips forward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Laying quad stretch
Lie down on your stomach and pull one foot back and upwards to meet your bottom. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. You can wrap a band or folded towel around the bent leg to give more leverage to your stretch.
Hip flexor stretch
Kneel on the floor and place one foot in front of the other with the knee bent. Keeping your spine straight, push your hips forwards and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Release and repeat with the other leg.
Sitting hamstrings stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Bend from your waist and lean forwards towards your toes. Keep your back straight and breathe slowly into the stretch.
Standing hamstring stretch
Stand straight with one leg just ahead of the other. Bend the back leg at the knee and rest your weight on this leg. Tilt your hips forward as if bending down to reach for something. Hold the stretch and repeat with the other leg.
Partnered hamstring stretch
Lie on your back and lift one leg off the floor with your knee straight. Your partner can then hold this raised leg and gently push it further to feel more of a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. You can also use a towel around your feet and pull the leg towards you for another variation.
Kneeling quad stretch
Kneel on the floor with your toes bent. Place one leg in front of you bent at right angles at the knee. Place your hands on your hips, keep your spine straight and push forward at the hips. Hold and repeat with the other leg.
Leg Stretches Precaution
Just remember that stretching technique is everything. There are certain leg stretching precautions that you should take to avoid causing any damage to your joints and muscles.
- Leg stretches should be a part of a warm up routine and not considered the warm up. To get the best benefits from a stretch your muscles have to be warmed up first.
- Run, walk, or skip before beginning your stretching routine.
- Do each stretch slowly, without bouncing or overstretching.
- Breathe in and out deeply through your nose. Proper breathing during stretches can increase the blood circulation and reduce the build up of lactic acid in the muscles. In this way, you can prevent muscle fatigue and soreness post your workout.
- Leg stretches should also be done as part of your cool down routine. This allows the muscles to regroup and repair and lowers the chance of further injury.
- Leg stretches can be the best way to improve your flexibility and stamina as long as they are performed correctly.
- If you are unsure about the exercises, it would be better to consult with a trainer who can demonstrate the correct way to stretch.
- He can also customize a stretching exercise routine keeping your needs and fitness levels in mind.
Benefits Of Leg Stretching
- Leg stretches when done properly can reduce the risk of injury, strengthen the muscles and improve stamina and flexibility.
- Leg stretches can also increase your range of motion — an important advantage for runners and sportsmen who can improve their performance on field as a result.
- Prolonged yoga leg stretches can even reduce cholesterol and prevent the hardening of arteries.
12 Leg & Thigh Stretches for Running, Flexibility, & Sitting A Lot.
Welcome to some of my favorite leg stretches!
Do you want to do the splits again (or even for the very first time!)? Do you want an effective sequence of stretches to cool down after a run? Or, do you experience posture issues out of sitting too much? Regardless of your stretching goals, I got you covered with these 12 amazing leg and thigh stretches!
First, I’ll go over the leg stretches and then I’ll show you how to combine them in 3 different leg stretching routines depending on whether you’re a runner, want to work on your flexibility, or sit a lot each day.
How can I stretch my legs?
First, you’ll warm up and follow my safe stretching guidelines below. Then, it’s time to do the work! I’ll go through the complete and proper form for each one of the leg stretches when I describe each one.
Then, I’ve grouped the leg and thigh stretches into 3 separate routines for you to serve your specific goals. You can try a few of them – or all of them! Stretching is supposed to be fun.
Safe stretching guidelines for legs and thighs.
Stretching is awesome as long as you don’t injure yourself while doing it. I speak from personal experience here. In the past I used to re-injure myself because of inappropriate stretching so I am sensitive to the proper form and stretching technique issue.
- Warm-up first. Do your workout first, or this home cardio routine. At the very least, go for a walk or do some squats.
- Never feel pain.
- Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
- The first 10 seconds of a stretch is the “easy stretch”. You can push a little further afterwards.
- Do two sets of each stretch (or more!). You will find you can go further with each set.
- If you’re specifically aiming for flexibility, then perform the flexibility stretching routine at least 4 times a week.
Let’s get started!
The 12 best leg stretches & thigh stretches for running, flexibility, and range of motion for people who sit a lot daily.
1. Groin Stretch
Sit down with back straight and your feet a comfortable distance apart. Open your legs a little more so that you feel a slight stretch in your groin area. Once you feel more comfortable in this position lean a little forward from your hips. Feel the stretch and hold this position.
2. Straddle Hamstring Stretch
With a bent torso, bring your chest toward your knee while reaching for the outside of your foot without bending your knee. Once you feel comfortable, lean forward a little bit more. If you can’t reach your foot the first time, focus on reaching toward your knee. Repeat for the other leg.
3. Straight Bent Leg Stretch
Sit down with one leg straight and the other knee bent with the sole of the bent leg touching the inner thigh of the straight leg. Slowly bend forward from the the hips until you feel a slight stretch. Hold this position. Once the tension eases up lean a little bit more forward. Hold this position a little longer and repeat for other leg.
4. Classic Calf Stretch
Step one foot forward and the opposite foot back, while keeping your feet parallel. Bend your front knee and press through the heel of the other foot. Hold for 20-30 sec. Repeat for the other side.
5. Floor Quad Stretch
Lie on your side resting your head on your hand. Your lower leg is slightly bent. Bend your upper leg and hold the your upper foot with your hand. Gently pull the heel toward you to feel the stretch on the front of your upper leg. Hold this position. Then move the front of you’re your upper hip forward. Hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat for other side.
6. Hamstrings Stretch
Sit down with your legs straight and feet upright. Bend from the hips to get a slight stretch. Use a towel or band to help you bend if you need to. You will feel the stretch in the back of your knees and upper legs. As you feel more and more comfortable lean to the front a little bit more. Hold this position for 20 sec.
7. Hip Flexor II
Move one leg forward until the knee of the forward leg is above your ankle but in no way in in the front of your toes. Your other knee should be on the floor. Lean forward and have your palms on the floor. Lift your back knee of the ground. Keep your body low and feel the stretch in your groin, hamstrings, and hip.
To make it harder move your hands on the inside of your front leg, while opening your front leg to the side. Get down on your elbows if you can.
8. Twisted Stretch
Sit with your right leg straight. Bend your left leg cross your left foot over to the outside of your right knee. Then bend your right elbow and rest it on the outside of your left thigh. Use your elbow to twist yourself and turn your head to look over your left shoulder.
Your lower back and side hip should feel the stretch. Repeat for other side.
9. Rotating Ankles
Sit down. Hold one foot with your arms and start rotating your ankle 10 times. Repeat for other direction and then repeat for other side.
10. Ankle Squats
With legs hip-width apart squat down. Your whole feet should be on the floor. Keep your hands on the floor for balance. If you want to stretch further remove your hands from the floor and keep your balance just like in the video.
You’ll want to check out the proper squat form article to take this even further!
Sit on the floor with your feet against each other. Lean forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in your groin. Hold for a few seconds and then lean a little further if you can putting your elbows on the floor. Hold for 15 sec.
12. Hip Stretch
Sit on the floor and cross one leg over the other, with the outside of your foot resting on the opposite knee. Hold for 20 sec. Repeat on the other side.
3 leg & thigh stretching routines for running, flexibility, and range of motion.
Now that we’ve gone through the proper form of each of these leg and thigh stretches, it’s time to combine them properly into stretching routines. Let’s start with running.
Stretching routine #1. 5 leg and thigh stretches for running.
If you’re a runner, you most likely already have a stretching routine routine. Here are my favorite leg stretches for runners.
- Classic Calf Stretch.
- Floor Quad Stretch.
- Hamstrings Stretch.
- Hip Flexor II.
- Twisted Stretch.
However, sit tight because it appears that stretching is not as healing as we used to think. While stretching after running and exercise has been long-believed to decrease post-workout soreness and injury, science says otherwise.
According to a study conducted by Herbert et al.,”Post-exercise stretching reduced soreness at one day after exercise by, on average, one point on a 100-point scale. Similar effects were evident between half a day and three days after exercise. One large study showed that stretching before and after exercise reduced peak soreness over a one week period by, on average, four points on a 100-point scale. This effect, though statistically significant, is very small.”
In other words, while stretching has benefits, don’t expect any miracles in terms of avoiding soreness. However, it is a great way to cool down and give time to your heart rate to come down to normal levels so that’s why it’s still worth your time as a runner.
Stretching routine #2. 3 leg and thigh stretches for flexibility (splits, yo!)
This is where it all started for me. By following this sequence consistently, I got to splits in just 4 months. I know it can work for you too if you do it consistently. In my leg stretching routine video, you can press play once and follow along with me – step by step!
- Groin Stretch.
- Saddle Hamstring Stretch.
- Straight Bent Leg Stretch.
Stick to this sequence 4 times a week for 4 months, and see how much progress you’ll make. You’ll be amazed what 10 minutes of stretching 4 times a week can do for you.
Stretching routine #3. 4 leg and thigh stretches for improved exercise form and range of motion (perfect if you’re sitting a lot!)
What, leg stretches for people who sit too much? Most people think that it’s their stiff back that needs stretching not their legs. Only that is not true. In most cases, their back does need to be taken care of but so do their legs.
Here’s why. People who sit a lot of hours every day often get decreased range of motion and muscle imbalances. That might mean you can’t actually do a proper squat, because for example you lack ankle flexibility. Or maybe you develop muscle imbalances that create posture issues like lordosis.
Going through this sequence will help increase your range of motion and address the issues that prolonged daily sitting causes.
- Rotating Ankles.
- Ankle Squats.
- Hip Stretch.
And we’re done. Are you going to try any of these leg stretches or leg stretching routines? If yes, which one? Leave a comment and let me know.
Click here to view the sources referenced in this article.
Upper Leg Stretches Utilizing A Resistance Band.
I recommend performing all stretching & flexibility work utilizing a HPL Resistance Band. The very first experience I had stretching with these bands I was hooked! I had never felt such a stretch. It is quick, easy, and more effective than other types of stretching.
I used to spend 45 minutes a day performing static stretches and my flexibility was still sub par. After incorporating HPL stretches and exercises, my «new found flexibility» was noticed by the judges in my fitness routines — I placed 1st at the 2004 NPC Fitness Nationals, earning my Pro Card.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Summer Montabone, CSCS.
Finding New Flexibility
If you don’t want to be in pain, STRETCH!
For all the stretches I am using a #3 (light/small) HPL Resistance Band. Loop the HPL band around your foot for each of the stretches. Over time as I have become more flexible, I will also use a #4 HPL band.
Hamstring & Calve Stretch:
While holding on to both pieces of the band, lie flat on your back keeping your hips on the floor. Bring the leg the band is looped around, straight up until you feel a slight stretch in the back of the leg. Press your hips into the floor, keep the leg straight and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times.
You will feel this stretch the entire back of the leg. Over time you will be able to bring your leg/foot closer to your body as flexibility improves. Flexible hamstrings are important for all athletes & exercisers, as well as low back pain relief.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Hamstring & Calve Stretch.
With band looped around the left foot, place your left hand in the center of the band (holding both pieces) and your right hand in the loop at the bottom of the band. Keeping both hips flat on the floor and your right shoulder and elbow on the floor, allow your left leg to gently open up to the left side.
Hold this position and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times. Over time you will be able to add more resistance to the stretch by pulling tighter on the band.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Inner Thigh/Adductor/Groin Stretch.
With the band looped around the left foot, place your left ankle on top of your right knee. While holding on to the band in each hand, lift your right foot slowly off the floor bringing the knee towards your chest.
Hold this position and then you may gently move your hips from right to left. This stretch will open up the piriformis and glute area. The sciatic nerve runs through this area. The stretch will provide relief for both low back & sciatic nerve discomfort.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Iliotibial Band (I.T. Band):
From the piriformis stretch, straighten the leg back up to the hamstring stretch & place the right hand in the center of the band and left hand in the loop at the bottom. Slowly bring the left leg across the body to the right side keeping the left leg parallel to the floor.
Keeping your left elbow on the floor, hold this position and then point and flex at the ankle. You will feel this stretch on the outside of the leg from the hip to knee to ankle. This is the stretch that convinced me HPL Resistance Bands are the only way to the stretch!
Click Image To Enlarge.
Iliotibial Band Stretch.
Quadriceps & Hip Flexors:
With the band still looped around the left foot, hold the band in the left hand only and lie on your right side. Point both the left knee and elbow down and bring the band and your left foot behind your body. Lying on your right side, keep the foot towards tour rear end, knee in line with the hip, and grasp the band overhead with both hands.
Do not point the knee up or pull band over one shoulder. Hold this position and then press the hip forward and back 10 times. To get a stretch higher up in the hip flexors, push your foot away from your rear end and the lightly choke up on the band. This stretch will help knee discomfort which is often attributed to tight quadriceps.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Quadriceps & Hip Flexors Stretch.
Stretching should be the foundation of every exercise and daily living regimen. Stretching opens up the joints providing more mobility, blood flow, and pain relief.
View Workout Resistance Bands Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
I can honestly tell you since I incorporated these bands in 2004, I feel great! I never need to take any type of pain reliever and only need occasional adjustments.
I recommend stretching before and after workouts or at least twice daily. It only takes 5-7 minutes to stretch head to toe with the HPL Flexibility series.
Summer Montabone’s Website: www.summersfitness.com
Also Pictured: Sean Wade, his credentials include:
Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts- Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Concentrations: Human Movement Studies / Exercise Physiology
Concentration: Sports Psychology
Professional / Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Consultant
Senior Rehabilitation Therapist, Ohio Based Chiropractic Clinic
Certified HPL Performance Band Instructor / Trainer
IFPA Certified Personal Trainer
Photos Credited To: Airborne Video Services, HPL Flexibility and Range of Motion DVD
Four Leg Stretch
Four Leg Stretch offers midday dog walk and in-home pet sitting services. We are committed to providing reliable, professional, and loving pet care. Whether you’re at work all day or out of town, you can count on Four Leg Stretch to maintain an active and healthy routine.
Midday Visits | Walks: Fido will get a midday potty break, walk, and one-on-one attentive care between 11am-2pm, Monday-Friday. Learn more about midday visits and walks here.
Pet Sitting: For pet care when you’re away from home for an extended period of time, we can design a schedule that mirrors your existing routine. Learn more about pet sitting services here.
Four Leg Stretch services are available in the following areas:
* Missouri: Brookside, Waldo, South Plaza
* Kansas: Mission Hills, Prairie Village
Please fill out the form on the “contact” page for more information or to schedule a meet and greet visit.
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The 5 Best Leg Stretching Machines Reviewed
Users that we surveyed says that it is a solidly built machine that they are confident will provide decades of strenuous use. The TMAS (The Martial Arts Store) Pro Leg Stretcher is one of the better received leg stretching machines that we examined. Users like that it comes fully assembled and many opted to purchase it online as opposed to trying to find it in local retail stores.
This 35 pound leg stretching machine can provide stretches beyond 180° with its adjustable padded seat, and gear system as well as self-locking turning wheel. In terms of assembly, all you need to do is take the steering wheel and place it on the bolt, and then turn it to the front sitting position and you are ready to begin stretching.
Many users were initially concerned that the machine wouldn’t support users over 200 pounds- but a variety of buyers that we interviewed say that the machine is solidly constructed and easily supports their weight. Many martial artists purchase these leg stretching machines because stability is so crucial in the lower extremities for things like karate, aikido and mixed martial arts.
How to use a leg stretcher
Another reviewer that we interviewed said that the leg holders are made out of solid-feeling plywood, and while the staples are visible, you can do a little home DIY and hide them with some fabric and spray glue if necessary. The seatback can be adjusted to five positions including a completely prone one. This allows for different stretching postures, so no matter your size you can adapt this leg stretching machine to provide you the stretch you require.
Indeed, many users look for hamstring stretching machines as well as stretch machine for splints, and come across this particular model because of its stellar reputation amongst its reviewers. Indeed, users say that the actual action of the leg split stretching is very smooth- opening and closing your thighs is smooth and there are no herky-jerky stops during the action to make your legs feel uncomfortable.
Valor Fitness Leg Stretcher Video Review
The Valor Fitness Leg stretching machine was another option that we surveyed buyers about- it is a 49 pound product that can accommodate users weighing up to 250 pounds, and arrives fully assembled. Users say that the increment works by ratchet function, so essentially you go by degree if you prefer, turning the wheel a little bit at a time. You can do 1/4 turns, or perhaps 1/16 turns to go a little bit farther.
Other buyers say and recommend that you try holding the stretches for around 30 seconds. If you are interested in increasing your range you can try holding for the 30 seconds, relaxing a few degrees, and then increasing your range a little bit farther than your prior max hold. One reviewer that we interviewed said that while he was disappointed that the leg stretching machine was cheaply made, over time he got over that, and found that it still performed adequately for his purposes. As well, the included instructions didn’t specify the bolts that needed to be tightened, and he had to figure it out on his own, which took some trial and error before he got it configured the correct way.
Some other problems that he encountered- that while the leg pads eventually fit into the allotted holes, he still had some trouble after receiving a replacement unit with a bolt that he just couldn’t tighten, and which made the whole unit feel wobbly and unstable while in use. All of that said, once he began using this hamstring stretching machine, which he refers to as a groin stretching machine, he found that it was very comfortable and the wheel stretching mechanism was exceedingly smooth allowing for continuous motions as opposed to uncomfortable stops and starts.
Another positive aspect of this groin stretching machine is that it is dynamic enough that you can maneuver to like pad down against your shin so that it isn’t pressing on your knee. Relieving this pressure point and distributing it elsewhere prevents a painful buildup in the stretcher’s knee.
Overall this reviewer that we surveyed says that while it feels like a cheaply made machine, and still is a little bit wobbly after extended use, it does provide a comfortably smooth stretch without excessive knee pressure and is generally cheaper price than comparable models on the market. Another reviewer recommends the functionality of this Valor Fitness leg stretching machine, saying that initially his legs were unable to go past 90°, but after several weeks of stretching he is now passed 130°.
Century Fitness VersaFlex Leg Stretcher Video Review
Another option that we examined was the Century VersaFlex stretching machine- it includes a stretching arm that can turn to four different positions, provide stretches up to 190°, and includes a helpful degree indicator so you can keep track of your stretching progress. Users say that it is a solid device that is pretty easy to adjust and use, with the progress indicator providing an accurate way to track results over time. They also say that the back support, legs and seat are all comfortably padded. On the downside, some users thought that the 5° increments are too large when you are at the top end of your range.
As well, other buyers that we interviewed say that the ratchet release can be a little tight, and difficult to activate when the legs are in a highly tensed and stretched position. Another downside is that the VersaFlex stretching machine does not come preassembled.
That is inconvenient enough, but many reviewers that we interviewed said that the instructions are very poor- the pictures are unhelpful and not clear enough. As well, many buyers had difficulty with the included bolts, requiring them to identify which bolt goes where using a ruler because the instruction manual was blown up too large.
One reviewer that we spoke to said that he thought the legs of the machine were too short for people who are over 6 feet tall. All of that said, it still does provide a powerful stretch- especially if you are a particularly inflexible individual with tight hip abductors for a novice or aging martial artist that needs to put in the work to keep nimble.
As we have already noted our top pick is the TMAS Pro leg stretcher. If you are in the market for one of these hamstring stretching machines, do a little research beforehand, take some measurements of your home gym space, and read some reviews on individual product pages to get confident that the machine you’re buying is the best selection for you.