How to Stretch Out the Knee

How to Stretch Out the Knee

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Stretching the quads can improve your knee's range of motion.

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To stretch your knees properly, you must understand which muscles are involved in knee movements. The hamstrings are involved in rotation and knee flexion, which involves bending your heel back toward your butt, while the quadriceps are responsible for knee extension movements, such as kicking. The long sartorius muscle and the smaller gracilis and popliteus assist during flexion and internal rotation. Additionally, a tight iliotibial, or IT, band, which extends down the outsides of your upper legs, can cause knee pain. Make sure your knee stretching program works all these.

Stretch the IT Band


Stand straight, within one arm's length of a chair or similar sturdy object. Hold the object for balance if necessary.


Cross your left ankle in front of your right ankle.


Raise your left hand above your head and then angle your forearm to the right until you feel a stretch along your left hip.


Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat it on the opposite side.

Target Your Hamstrings and Popliteus


Stand erect in front of a table or other raised surface that is at about hip height.


Place the back of your right heel on the raised surface with your leg straight.


Bend forward from the waist, lower your head toward your raised leg and extend both arms toward your foot.


Grasp the toes of your raised foot and bend them gently back toward your body. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat it with your opposite leg.

Stretch Your Quads and Sartorius


Stand straight and have a chair or similar object within reach. Hold the object to maintain your balance, if necessary.


Bend your right knee and lift your right heel toward your butt. Simultaneously reach down with your right hand and grasp your foot behind you.


Pull your heel toward your butt until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch on your opposite leg.


Perform a deeper quad stretch by standing in front of a raised surface that's a bit below hip height. Turn so your back is closest to the surface. Instead of grasping your raised foot, position the top of your foot on the raised surface. Lean back until your heel touches your butt.


  • Don't bounce when you stretch. Keep your body as still as possible.
  • Don't stretch your muscles when they're cold. Warm them up with five to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise.


  • Stop stretching if you feel pain.


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