How to Stretch Your Legs

Two Methods:Floor Exercises to Stretch Your LegsPilates and Yoga to Stretch Your Legs

Your legs are propelled by your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. Stretching your legs will help you to prevent injury and also to prevent muscle soreness after walking, running or cycling.

Method 1
Floor Exercises to Stretch Your Legs

  1. Image titled Do a Wall Hamstring Stretch Step 2
    Do a wall hamstring stretch. This stretch puts you in a different position to stretch not only your hamstrings but also the muscles of the calf. Try doing some ankle rotations in this position to stretch and strengthen your ankles. You can also push the soles of your feet against the wall for a stretch in your shins if you’re suffering from shin splints.
  2. Image titled Do a Heel Drop Using Stairs Step 4
    Do a heel drop using stairs. The heel drop provides an excellent stretch for the calves. To stretch your legs 1 at a time, bend your left leg and place your left foot flat on the upper step. Lower your right foot down one step lower. Then, switch sides. You can also perform this exercise on a bench provided that you give yourself something to hold onto.
  3. Image titled Do a Quadriceps Stretch With an Exercise Ball Step 2
    Do a quadriceps stretch with an exercise ball. This exercise shows you how to stretch your quads in a lunge position while sitting on the ball. However, you can also rest your hips on the ball, bend one heel toward your butt and grasp your ankle, pulling your heel close to your butt, to stretch your quads. Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.
  4. Image titled Do a Standing Quadriceps Stretch Step 3
    Do a standing quadriceps stretch. This stretch requires you to stand between 2 chairs of the same height. You can also use a wall to support your back foot if you don’t have 2 chairs that are appropriate for the exercise. As you perform this exercise, engage your abdominal muscles to keep your pelvis squared and to relieve tension on your back muscles.

Method 2
Pilates and Yoga to Stretch Your Legs

  1. Image titled Do the Pilates Roll Down Exercise Step 2
    Do the Pilates roll down exercise. The Pilates roll down will stretch your hamstrings and calves while relieving tension in your back. If you need more support, then stand with your back and hips against a wall and with your feet about 6” from the wall. Keep your hips over your feet so that you don’t hyper extend your knees, and concentrate on keeping your abdominal muscles scooped and lifted throughout the exercise.
  2. Image titled Assume the Seated Forward Bend Pose in Yoga Step 5
    Assume the seated forward bend pose in yoga. The seated forward bend is one of the 12 basic positions in hatha yoga. In addition to stretching the hamstrings and calves, this pose will help to relieve the symptoms of sciatica while stretching and lengthening the spine. The pose will also stimulate the solar plexus chakra and improve concentration.
  3. Image titled Do the Revolved Head to Knee Pose in Yoga Step 9
    Do the revolved head to knee pose in yoga. This stretch will open up the hips, stretch the hamstrings and calves, and deeply stretch the entire side of the body. If you are struggling to get a deep enough stretch, wrap a yoga strap around the arch of your foot and use it until you can comfortably reach your foot. If you are extremely flexible, then grasp your foot with your top hand instead of just extending it over the top of your body.
  4. Image titled Do the Standard Forward Bend in Yoga Step 5
    Do the standard forward bend in yoga. This stretch for your hamstrings and calves can be easily modified to match your flexibility level. If you cannot bend all of the way over, then place your hands on a wall in front of you so that your arms are parallel to the floor. If you need more of a challenge, then unfold your arms and grasp your ankles, bringing your head down to meet your knees.
  5. Image titled Do the Cross Beam Yoga Pose Step 5
    Do the cross beam yoga pose. This pose, also commonly called the “gate pose,” gets its name because your upper body crosses over to resemble the cross beam of a gate. In addition to stretching the hamstrings and inner thighs, the cross beam opens up the side of the body, enhancing yogic breathing. If you have no yoga mat, then you can pad your knees with pillows or blankets. This pose is recommended for yoga beginners.
  6. Image titled Do a Reclining Hero Pose Step 5
    Do a reclining hero pose. To perform this pose, you will start in the hero pose. If you cannot sit on the floor between your heels, then sit on a yoga block or a pillow so that your knees are comfortably tucked in beside you. As you recline, you can ask a partner to push against your thighs to increase the stretch in your quadriceps. You can also place a yoga block or pillow beneath your head and shoulders as you recline.
  7. Image titled Do the King Dancer Yoga Pose Step 5
    Do the king dancer yoga pose. The king dancer will stretch your quadriceps while opening up your hips and the front of your body. You can wrap a strap around your back foot if grasping your foot behind as it is positioned behind your body is too challenging. If balance is an issue, rest your extended hand against a wall for support.
  8. Image titled Do the Warrior II Pose in Yoga Step 5
    Do the warrior II pose in yoga. The warrior II pose will stretch your inner thighs. With your front leg in “lunge” position, you will also strengthen your quadriceps and glutes. If balance is a challenge, place your hands on your hips instead of extending them. This pose is a depiction of Shiva, a Hindu warrior god.
  9. Image titled Stretch Step 11
    Do the butterfly pose. The butterfly pose will stretch out your inner thighs. Put your feet together with your knees out, then bend forward.


  • Perform stretches when your muscles are already warmed up and pliable. For instance, if you are stretching before a run, then walk for about 2 minutes before performing your warm-up stretches to increase circulation to your muscles and to prevent injury.
  • Stretching your legs will increase your range of motion, promote fluid movement, promote healing, and prevent muscle soreness and injury.
  • These exercises are also good for before you go to a ballet class as they fully stretch out your legs.
  • Stretch before and after athletic/sport activities.


  • Never bounce your body in an attempt to stretch further. This is especially tempting because many leg stretches require you to reach toward your toes. Not only does this jerking motion offer little benefit; it also places you at risk for injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Exercise ball
  • Chair
  • Yoga mat
  • Yoga strap (optional)
  • Yoga block (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Warm Ups Stretching and Flexibility