How to: The Rocking Quad Stretch
Stretch your quads with the rocking quad stretch
Stretching your quadriceps can be done in many ways. The technique show in this video is active, with rocking of the torso helping to take the quads on and off tension.
It takes a particular technique to stretch the quads and not just the hip flexors or hip joint. Our article on the anatomy of stretching the quads can help clarify you have any questions about the anatomy.
When doing a quad stretch like this, we recommend placing a pillow or mat under your knee cap. Otherwise you directly compress the knee cap with a fair amount of weight while putting the quad tissues under tension. Over time this can lead to knee cap sensitivity.
Need more hip and low back mobility? Start with Day 1 of our Hip/Low Back Mobility Program for free:
How to Perform the Rocking Quad Stretch
To begin this movement, start in a kneeling position, next to something you can hold on to for balance.
If you are stretching your right quads, you will be grabbing your foot with your left hand.
Place a pad or mat under your knee to cushion your knee cap. It's not a good idea to do this stretch on a hard rubber mat as you can irritate your kneecap over time.
From here, you can begin the stretch:
- Keep your core engaged
- Slowly rock your entire body forward
- Feel the stretch in your back leg's quads
- Repeat for however many reps you're doing
- Repeat on the other side
- Keep your head and neck in line with your torso the entire time
- Grab onto something for balance
- Place a mat under your knee cap
Reps and sets:
- Start with 2-3 sets of 10 per leg
- You should be able to walk normally after performing this stretch; if you can’t you did too much and need to do less next time
The Most Common Error: Back not Quads
In this photo, we have a less-than-ideal finishing position.
When you are in a good finishing position, you probably didn't have to rock very far and your spine position should be identical to the starting position.
In this photo, you can see how the head and neck are bent backward. When this happens, the lower back is likely bent into extension as well.
This will actually decrease the amount of tension on the quads because of how they attach to your pelvis (see the quad anatomy article for details).
Keep your core tight with small movements to best execute this stretch.
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