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3 leg stretches for warming up before exercise

Warming up your body before exercise is vital. You can find the reasons why here. Below you’ll find three leg stretches you can do before exercising. They focus on the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

Remember to raise your body temperature before you stretch and if you’re in the water, keep your body temperature up between stretches.

Don’t overstretch – your muscle or limb shouldn’t be shaking – and hold each pre-workout stretch for 10 – 15 seconds.

Leg stretches 1 – hamstrings

Hamstrings are three muscles that help your knee move. You’ve probably seen footballers limping off the pitch holding the back of their legs after stretching too far for the ball. This is probably a hamstring injury.

You want to ensure your hamstrings are well warmed up before exercising so here’s what you can do.

  1. Stand straight. Take a small step forwards with your left leg then bend your right leg while keeping your front leg straight (but not locked).
  2. You should feel your left hamstring stretching.
  3. Lean your chest slightly forwards while ensuring both feet are facing forwards.
  4. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Hold the side of the pool for support if needed.

Leg stretches 2 – quadriceps

These are the large fleshy muscles covering the front and sides of the thigh. You want to ensure your these are well warmed up before exercising so here’s what you can do.

  1. Using your left hand for balance, place your flexed right foot into your right hand.
  2. Keep your knees close together with your left knee soft and your abdominals tight.
  3. Gently push your right foot into your right hand.
  4. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Hold the side of the pool for support if needed.

Leg stretches 3 – calves

These are the muscles at the back of the lower half of the leg. They taper into the achilles tendon by your ankle. You want to ensure your calves are well warmed up before exercising so here’s what you can do.

  1. Move your right foot back as far as comfortable keeping your toes pointing forwards and heels in contact with the pool floor.
  2. Remember to maintain your posture, keeping your head up, your abdominals tight and ensuring your front knee does not go over your front toe.
  3. You should feel your right calf stretching.
  4. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Place your hands on the side of the pool for support if needed.
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