Inactivity, muscle imbalances, pelvic tilt, overtraining, injuries and lack of variety in your exercise routine may lead to certain muscles in the legs becoming stiff or weaker over time. Stiff muscles may also indicate an improper recovery and post nutrition intake after training. That’s why it’s very important to make stretching a part of your workout routine. This will minimize the risk of injury.
You need to incorporate your flexibility and mobility exercises on a daily basis to improve your muscles range and length. When a muscle becomes fatigued it easily becomes shorter which leads to stiffness in the muscle itself. Stretching alone can improve your muscles length by up to 50% which helps the muscle to last longer and become less fatigued or stiff.
To start we need to look at each muscle to see the connection to other muscles which may cause the problem. Training the same routine may lead to repetitive stress syndrome. The lack of variety will lead some muscles to be neglected or overused by repetitive movements.
Stretching at least 10-15 minutes a day is vital to get the most benefits from stretching. Also, you have to set aside more time for stretching your tighter leg muscles in comparison to your stronger ones. This will improve your stiffer or weaker muscles in comparison with your stronger muscles, thus restoring balance and symmetry.
It’s best to stretch your leg muscles 3 to 5 times for 20 seconds at a time. Let’s have a look at different stretches for each of the main muscles of the leg. You must always start stretching the larger muscles first. Do not stretch muscles when they are cold, as they are less effective to stretch. A good warmup is ideal before stretching, as it helps get the blood and circulation going through the different parts of the muscles. Stretching should never be painful and is always an individual thing. So don’t compare how far others can stretch, stick within your flexibility and muscle range when you begin.
You may discover some muscles are tighter than others while performing all the stretches. The stiffer muscles are the ones you need to stretch more. They are more prone to cause fatigue and injury. Have in mind that these stretches for stiff leg muscles just scratch the surface in correcting muscle imbalances.
- Hip Flexors stretch – As shown, you stretch until you feel a slight stretch in your hip flexors.
- Thigh/Quad stretch – Place your freehand against a chair, sofa or wall and stretch out the thigh.
- IT Band Stretch
- Hamstring Stretch
- Groin Stretch
- Calf Stretch