Posted on July 29th, 2011
Q: What type of yoga pose would you recommend to stretch the quadriceps muscles without putting strain on the knees?
A: The quadriceps is a large muscle group crossing on of the most heavily loaded joints of the body (the knee). Due to frequent heavy loading, the quadriceps tend to have plenty of tightness that requires modifications and slow easing into stretching poses. To avoid strain to the knees when stretching the quadriceps muscles, I recommend that you try a standing quadriceps stretch (balance on one leg while holding the other ankle) following a light thigh and knee warm up. This simple pose will give you control in applying the stretch while avoiding excessive gravity and force on the knee joint. Once you align the knees and feel the quadriceps relax into the stretch, you can contract the abdomen and facilitate a pelvic tilt. The pelvic tilt will engage a deeper stretch into the middle band of quadriceps muscle (rectus femorus).
If you are unable to comfortably reach your ankle with this standing stretch, you can instead move a light stretch into the quadriceps with Child’s Pose. You can keep your arms forward and apply gentle pressure with the hands to lightly deepen the stretch into your knees. Note, that in Child’s Pose, the stretch will occur only at the knee region and not higher into the belly of the thigh or top portion of the thigh.
If you still have concerns with the knees in Child’s Pose, consider protecting the knees from the depth of stretch by placing a rolled up towel under hips. This will prevent the knees from going into the full flexion / range of motion in the knees.
If you have any other concerns about applying a stretch into the knee joint, be mindful and possibly avoid postures where you are sitting directly on the heels or inside the heels (ie Thunderbolt Pose, Hero Pose, Heron Pose).
Expert Q & A provided by My Yoga Online teacher and Co-Founder, Kreg Weiss.
Tags: Yoga Tips, Yoga, Kreg Weiss, stretch, knee, flexibility, beginner yoga, yoga for knees
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