Stretching Those Quads

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Print
By MIKE CHIN, DPT, CSCS

I would like to address the topic of stretching, and in particular the quadriceps muscles. There is great content on ways to stretch every part of the body, especially on MobilityWOD.com, but I hope to give you the background and an understanding of why it is important to stretch, and a prescription for how to do it to get actual tissue changes.

Muscle length and flexibility can be changed and will adapt from your daily mobility work.
It may be obvious, but flexibility is essential to performing functional movements. You may have noticed this when trying to pick up grocery bags off the floor or reaching under the kitchen sink for cleaning supplies, and definitely at your local box when your coach was yelling at you to get your butt down lower. This is what is great about CrossFit: it reveals our range of motion deficits when performing functional movements. Although I can’t say what is limiting your movement without seeing you, muscle tightness is often one of the culprits. Fortunately for us, muscle length and flexibility can be changed and will adapt from your daily mobility work.

The Benefits of Stretching

Further stretch results in tissue deformation, which doesn’t revert back to normal length when the stretch is removed. The result of this stage is greater flexibility.
Stretching that increases flexibility has a huge benefit for us CrossFitters. It can improve posture/biomechanics, which leads to improved sport performance, which translates to faster WOD times and more PRs! Besides helping you to become a better mover, stretching also increases prevention from injury. When our muscles get tight, they begin to have abnormal forces of pull or stress on the joints they cross. Specifically in the case of the quadriceps, if they are tight, it can increase patella-femoral pressure and lead to anterior knee pain and chondromalacia patella. There is also some correlation with a tight rectus femoris muscle, one of the quadriceps muscles that also acts as a hip flexor, and low back pain. As if those weren’t enough good reasons to stretch, another great potential benefit is a reduction in post-exercise muscle soreness.

So what’s going on when we stretch? We have many different elastic fibers intertwined in the muscle that contribute to flexibility. These elastic fibers are wavelike, and when they are stretched, they straighten out.  When we initially stretch, muscle fibers straighten out and looseness occurs, but there is little deformation of the muscle tissue.

Relax:

Remember to keep breathing when you are stretching & mobilizing.

As muscle is stretched further, muscle deforms but quickly reverts to its normal length when the stretch is removed.  Further stretch results in tissue deformation, which doesn’t revert back to normal length when the stretch is removed.  The result of this stage is greater flexibility.

My Stretching Guidelines

  • Stretch after workouts when the muscle is warm.
  • Perform static (holding position) stretches for 30 seconds x 3-5sets. Alternate to the opposite extremity so there is a 30 second break.
  • The “alternate to the opposite extremity” implicitly says it, but always stretch both sides.
  • You should feel a mild stretch rather than pain.
  • Emphasize relaxation. Breathe!
  • Utilize hold-relax PNF technique to increase muscle relaxation and flexibility. This will be explained with the Sampson stretch for better understanding.

A Few Quad Stretch Ideas…

Sampson stretch against the wall:

  • Initially make sure the knee is in the corner up against the wall so that the leg is parallel to the wall. Adjust your stretch by leaning back and flexing the knee. Key points are to keep an abdominal contraction so you do not arch your back into extension, and keep your trunk in line with your thigh to isolate the rectus femoris.

Hold-relax PNF technique:

  • Contract quads isometrically in stretched position by pushing foot or kicking leg into wall for 5 seconds.  Relax the quads and stretch further.

Prone quad stretch:

  • If you have difficulty getting into the Sampson position, you can use a resistance band to pull your leg towards your butt while lying on your stomach.  Key points are to keep your thighs close together and not let the hip rotate inwards or outwards.  You can make this stretch more intense by adding a foam roll under the quads

Side-lying quad stretch:

  • Use your top leg to stabilize your bottom thigh.  Use your hand or resistance band pull your heel to your butt.
References

GA Brooks, TD Fahey, KM Baldwin. Exercise Physiology, Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications 4th ed. New York, NY. McGraw –Hill. 2005

WR Thompson. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th ed. Balitimore, MD. Lippincott Williams &Wilkins. 2010

Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

astewart30 published the post Size Doesn't Matter on Tabata Times
From the time I was 10 years old I have been aware of my size. I have always known how much I weigh...
CrossFit KSX posted on Facebook

Tuesday's Workout Strength: 10 min EMOM 3 Deadlift @ 70% of 3RM Conditioning: 12min EMOM 3 Power cleans 155/115 5 strict pull-ups Rest 2 min: 3 rounds of: 1 min elbow plank 45 sec max supermans 30 sec Russian twist with weight 20/15 * 30 sec rest between rounds*

CrossFit Center City shared a link on Facebook

#DIDYOUKNOW that CFCC offers Custom Fit Meals? These fresh, healthy meals are a great option for weeks when you're especially busy. They offer a huge menu that rotates week to week, and there's no commitment required. Use code CENTERCITY to take 10% off your first order. If you're thinking about participating in the #cfccrecharge or are struggling to find healthy options on-the-go, give CFM a try! #nutrition #paleo #paleoish http://crossfitcc.com/a-new-option-for-healthy-convenient-eats-at-cfcc/

CrossFit Center City shared an image on Facebook

Don't forget we are holding a 2 hour introductory Strongman clinic on Sunday September 28th. Link to sign up is in the comments. Email Record at record@crossfitcc.com if you have any questions about it and remember it is open to both CFCC member and non-members!

Kristy Parrish published the post How Julie Foucher Became Julie Foucher on
Editor's Note: "How Julie Foucher Became Julie Foucher" was originally posted to the Beyond the...
WhatWouldJohnMackEat published the post Portuguese Style Littleneck Clams on Nutrition WOD
Littleneck clams are hands down my favorite seafood. I eat them raw, steamed or cooked Portuguese...
Breaking Point Fitness CrossFit Ridge Ave posted on Facebook

Tuesday 9/9/14 15 mins to work to heavy Snatch deadlift + snatch pull + snatch For time: 10 power cleans 185/125 20 burpee over bar 30 toe 2 bar 200ft farmers carry 55/35 30 toe 2 bar 20 burpee over bar 10 power cleans

CrossFit Center City shared a link on Facebook

Learn all about the newest cycle leading up to the CrossFit Total on Halloween! Deadlift and Strict Press Tuesday tomorrow! http://crossfitcc.com/workout-of-the-day-tuesday-9-9-14/

CrossFit RDU shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Invoke shared an image on Facebook

Body Comp Challenge is in full swing. Be sure to make these next 12 weeks worth it! #cfinvoke #cfiathlete #cfibootycamp #crossfit #bodycomp #fat #relentlesslife #weighin #eatright #nutrition #goals #progress

CrossFit King of Prussia posted an article
CrossFit RDU posted an article
CrossFit Gastonia shared a link on Facebook

Tuesday's WOD http://www.crossfitgastonia.com/w-o-d

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

6pm cleanin' and dubbin'!

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

N'Sync! (See what I did there? Lol)

Breaking Point Fitness CrossFit Ridge Ave shared a link on Facebook

There is still space left to register for the Carl Paoli seminar at CrossFit Ridge Ave on September 20th from 9am-5pm. The seminar is $295 with discounts offered for CF Level 1 Certified Trainers, Educators, Military/Fire/Police/Rescue and USA Gymnastics members! https://freestyleconnection.pushpress.com/open/event/freestyle-connection-seminar---philadelphia-pa

CrossFit 77 shared an image on Facebook

What an awesome start to our Let's Move class on Saturday September 6! Remember this class is free every Saturday from 10:30-11:30 bring your kids and their friends! We can't wait to see the turn out for this Saturday!

CrossFit 77 posted on Facebook

George just PR'd his back squat by 50lbs! 365# like a champ!

CrossFit Wake Forest posted on Facebook

9/9/2014 WOD: Push Press 3-3-3-3-3 Use the heaviest weight you can for each set. Rest as needed between sets. Then: 4 rounds for time of: Run, 200 m 10 Kettlebell Swings

CrossFit Wilmington posted an article
CrossFit Harrisburg posted on Facebook

Tues Back Squat (3x4 @ 80%, then 1 set for max reps) 15 mins to complete Metcon (Time) 4 Rounds 200m Run 40 double unders 300m Row Rest 1 min 2 for 1 du subs

CrossFit Invoke posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
Raleigh CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Wilmington shared an image on Facebook

Everyone loves HSPUs @cfwilmington #wantmoredomore #strongereveryday

CrossFit LKN shared an image on Facebook

Big 9 am class this morning!

CrossFit Love shared a link on Facebook

9.9.14 http://bit.ly/1tFrlIx

CrossFit Love shared an image on Facebook

The Olympic Weightlifting seminar with Diane Fu is almost here! Have you registered?! Learn more about the Olympic lifts and what mistakes you may be making that are holding your PRs back! Check out the details and register TODAY! http://bit.ly/NtByob

CrossFit Wilmington shared an image on Facebook

Great job to Alison and all of our new members this summer!

judyjudyjudy published the post Why The Box Is Not Like Any Old Gym- Facing Fear and Finding Beauty At Crossfit on
"He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear. " ~Ralph Waldo...
Raleigh CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Main Line shared an image on Facebook

Beginning this week, YOGA will be offered at 10:30am on Tuesdays at CFML and Thursdays at CFR5. Come join us!

CrossFit Durham posted on Facebook

Welcome back to CFD athlete, and recent new MOM, Rachel Mason!

CrossFit RDU shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit RDU shared an image on Facebook

We will have WODbody Sports Massage in house here at CrossFit RDU this coming Wednesday. Appointment slots will be available from 3pm-8pm in 30min sessions or more. There will be a sign up sheet on the whiteboard. Check them out and we may make it a permanent fixture! $35 - 30 minutes $45 - 40 minutes $55 - 50 minutes $65 - 60 minutes

CrossFit RDU posted an article
CrossFit Exchange shared an image on Facebook

Achieving Excellence through competition helps us break through our own boundaries. From the coaches desk we are all proud of the athletes that came out, and more importantly for all of your help and support.

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

Ladies - check this out!

CrossFit Durham shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit 910 shared an image on Facebook

liftlaugheatrepeat published the post Secret Ingredient Paleo Meatloaf on
So my husband absolutely loves meatloaf, which is great because it's a relatively simple meal...
CrossFit Main Line shared a link on Facebook

Hey Main Liners and R5ers! Good news...beginning this Thursday, 9.11 at 6:30pm we are bringing in a Chiropractor a couple days a week for your aches, pains and general fitness recovery needs to CFML. The wonderful, Dr. Katzen will be scheduling free consultations and following up with necessary treatments. We could all use a little adjustment. Call today to schedule your appointment at CFML- 610-664-8330 http://www.drkatzen.com/

CrossFit Coastal shared an image on Facebook

Congratulations to Brandon M for passing his CrossFit Level 1 Certification and also Head Coaches Phil & Kelly for completing / passing their CrossFit Kettlebell Certification this weekend! Continuing education is very important to us here at CrossFit Coastal. Your instructors are always in a constant state of learning new ways to serve you better. Proud of you!

CrossFit Harrisburg shared an image on Facebook

No heel strike.

CrossFit 919 posted on Facebook

Endurance WOD tonight at 6:30 PM. We'll be inside on the rowers.

CrossFit Durham posted on Facebook

Wishing Greg Wehn a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

CrossFit Durham posted an article
CrossFit Durham shared an image on Facebook

Check out CFD athlete, Sarah Tallent, in our latest Athlete Spotlight! "My body has much more muscle than before. I like that part. I also really like feeling strong. I never feel more strong than when my hands are around a barbell preparing for a 1 rep max of something." www.crossfitdurham.com/sarah-tallent

CrossFit LKN posted on Facebook

This Wednesday, September 10th from 6:30-8:00pm Kyle will be holding a Nutrition Seminar. It is free and open to anyone who would like to attend (members or non-members). If you haven't attended one of Kyle's nutrition seminars definitely get in for this one!

CrossFit 77 shared a link on Facebook

11 Reasons Dehydration Is Making You Sick & Fat http://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/11-reasons-dehydration-making-sick-fat.html

CrossFit Durham posted on Facebook

Congratulations to our newest Foundations Course graduates, Ali Giusto and Sam Matias! Welcome to CFD!

CrossFit Exchange shared an image on Facebook

What a day!

CrossFit Main Line shared an image on Facebook

R5s Monday morning 6am crew 1RM Front Squat with 3sec pause Then, 1000m Row 50 Wall Balls 30 Pull Ups

Oak City CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Silver Spring posted an article
CrossFit WhiteMarsh shared a link on Facebook

Monday WOD

CrossFit Dilworth posted on Facebook

CFE Week of 9.8.14: 9/8: 4 Rds: 2min each of row, burpees, DU. 1 min rest btw each. Then, core work. 9/10: 25 Min AMRAP of 400M Run w/ max plank hold. Once runner can no longer hold plank they must run again. Then, 5 Min hill sprints every 30 sec.

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV