Week 3 of our quad stretches is low or high lunge, depending on your comfort level. I know, you’re going to say, “But Rachel this is almost the same stretch as last week, King Arthur!” I assure it is not 😉 The benefits of this stretch are; it stretches all the hip flexors, (psoas, quadriceps, etc), stretches into the abdominal muscles and up into the chest. It’s a deeper, whole front body stretch as opposed to King Arthur targeting more the quad. I don’t advise this stretch for people with knee injuries.
What you will need for this stretch: a folded blanket or towel to cushion the knee.
How to Low or High Lunge:
- Start in a table top position.
- Bring the right foot between the hands and then come up into a low lunge. The blanket can be under the left knee for support.
- Position the right foot further forward for a deeper stretch in the left front thigh/abdomen area. Make sure the front knee stays stacked over the front ankle so there is no strain in the knee as shown in the top left photo. If you’re not sure of where your knee is relative to your ankle, position yourself in front of a mirror to take a look. You don’t want what’s happening in the top right photo to happen.
- For more stretch through the front body raise the arms over head and pull the belly in and up to protect the low back. The more you lunge forward, the more stretch you will feel.
- If you feel unstable, take the front foot to the right a little, creating more space between the legs to balance better. If you are comfortable here and would like to go deeper, go on to the next step.
- From this low lunge position you can place your hands on your front right thigh (not the knee!) and gently start to shift the weight more to your front leg and slowly pick up the back knee as shown in the bottom right photo, coming into high lunge.
- The heel stays up on the back foot.
- If you are having stability problems here, again take the legs a little wider apart for better balance as before.
- Once you are stable you can begin to lift the arms towards the sky.
- Straighten the back leg as much as you can, pushing through the back heel for more stretch.
- You can also sink into the front leg a little bit more for an even more intense stretch from the fingers all the way to the shin on the left side.
- Again make sure the front knee stays stacked in line with that front ankle, and pull the belly button to the spine and up, like you are zipping up the front of the body, to protect the low back.
- The gaze is forward, at the horizon in both the low and high lunge. This deeper version does also build strength in the legs. You might notice you start to breath heavier and maybe even work up a little sweat the longer you stay here!
Try to stay here for 10 breaths in both these versions.
See all other stretches here and follow Rachel Lackowski on Instagram for more stretches.
Jaclyn K Henika
I am curious on your take on the low lunge that tilting of the pelvis? If a person has more of an anterior pelvic tilt will this create issues in the low back as they may not get as deep of a stretch in the hip flexors or the psoas? Thank you for your input.
Thanks for reading Jaclyn. You are correct that an anterior pelvic tilt will not give you as deep of stretch to the hip flexors but will not necessarily create issues in the lower back. If you follow step 4 and engage your abdominal muscles enough, you can help prevent an excessive anterior tilt of the pelvis from occurring. Maintaining the contraction of the abdomen during the stretch will give you a deeper stretch.