1. Health

Video:How to Stretch Your Lower Body

with Jacob Bronstein

Don't start your workout before you take some time to stretch properly! Learn a thorough lower body and leg routine, including stretches for the calves, hamstrings, quads, groin, and lower back muscles.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Stretch Your Lower Body

Hi I'm James Haron with about.com health, were here at Bally Total Fitness, and today we are going over lower body stretching.

When to Stretch your Lower Body

Stretching is an important aspect of your workout and should be done before and after you work out. However, if you only have time to do it once during your workout, I recommend that you do it at the beginning to help prevent injury. The main muscle groups in your lower body consist of the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, lower back and abs. These muscles are very important for any sport that involves running or jumping, such as basketball or tennis.

Leg Stretch, Calf Muscle

Now we are going to stretch the calf muscles. Find something stable to push on to. With one foot forward stretching your back leg, apply pressure to the ball of your foot. You're going to really want to push on the front of your foot so that you can feel the stretch on your calf, which is highlighted on the chart. If you did the stretch successfully, the calf muscle should feel less tight then before.

Leg Stretch 1: Hamstrings

To stretch the hamstrings, bring the feet together - keeping the legs straight without locking the knees - and reach for the toes. If you're unable to touch your toes, reach as far forward as you can so that you can feel the pulling sensation in the back of your thighs.

Leg Stretch 2: Quadriceps

Now we are going to stretch the quads while balancing on one leg. Grab the ankle of the opposite leg or if you need to find something stationary to hold on to. Pull the ankle in towards the buttock. If done correctly, the front of your legs will feel looser.

Groin Stretch

To stretch the groin, simply place the feet together. Pull in toward yourself. Grab onto your ankles and apply force with your elbows down on your legs. If you're doing this stretch correctly, you'll feel a pulling on your upper inner thigh.

Lower Back Stretch

To stretch the lower back, extend one leg cross the other leg - over it. Turn away and place the elbow into the other leg. Its' not uncommon to feel a popping of the vertebrae when doing this stretch.

Essential Stretching Tips

When stretching, be careful not to over stretch any of your muscle groups, and as always, if you feel pain during your stretch, discontinue it immediately and consider seeking professional attention. Remember, stretching is a key aspect to maintaining a healthy body and should become a part of your regular workout routine.

I'm James Haron for About.com Health. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at health.about.com.
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