Effective Lower Body Stretches

Stretching is an important part of any workout routine, but it's one many of us skip on a regular basis. You may think it doesn't do much for you and feel like you're wasting precious time you could be spending on the "real" workout—the cardio and strength training.

However, your recovery is just as important as the actual workout and stretching not only helps bring your body back to where it was before your workout and increases flexibility, it's relaxing. Below are my absolute favorite lower body stretches perfect after any workout.

  • Precautions: See your doctor if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other medical conditions.
  • Equipment needed: An exercise mat or just the floor
  • How to do these exercises: Perform each exercise as shown, holding each one for 15–30 seconds, repeating 1–3 times. Avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort.

Watch Now: 6 Simple Stretches For Tight Hamstrings


Figure 4 Hip Stretch

Eye of the Needle Pose - Sucirandhrasana

Ann Pizer

Lying on the floor, cross your left foot over your right knee. Clasp hands behind right thigh and gently pull the leg in towards you, keeping upper body relaxed. Hold for 15–30 seconds and repeat on the other side. If your hips are tight, you might feel enough of a stretch without even lifting the leg off the floor.


Hamstring Stretch

woman stretching hamstring lying on a mat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie on the floor with the knees bent and lift the right leg up, grabbing it at the calf, ankle or wherever you can reach. Flex the foot and gently pull the leg towards you to feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.

If you feel shaky or your hamstrings are tight, try using a resistance band to give you more leverage.


Inner Thigh Stretch

Cobblers pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Sit on the floor with your torso straight and tall. Bring the feet together in front of your knees, bent and out to the sides, and grab onto both feet. Keeping the back straight, gently pull forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs. Hold for 15–30 seconds.


Hip Flexor Lunge Stretch

Mature man doing low lunge stretch yoga pose
Anchiy / Getty Images

Get into a lunge position on the floor, right foot forward and left knee back, both knees at about 90 degrees. Keeping the torso straight and abs engaged, lunge forward, gently pressing until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip.

You can also squeeze the glutes for a deeper stretch. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.


Kneeling Hamstring Stretch

Move into this stretch from the lunge stretch above. From that lunge position, simply move back, putting your weight on the left knee while straightening your right leg.

Bend forward at the hip, keeping back flat until you feel a gentle pull in the back of the leg. You may need to keep a slight bend in the knee if your hamstrings are tights. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.


Pigeon Stretch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To do pigeon pose, begin on the hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands (you should be on the outside of the knee). Straighten the right leg out behind you.

And, if you can, bend forward and rest the forearms on the floor. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.


Crossover Knee to Chest

This stretch is great for targeting the hips, iliotibial band, and the lower back. The key to this move is to bring the knee across the body, just a few inches while keeping both hips down.

Begin by lying down and bringing the right knee in towards the chest. Keeping hips on the floor, gently pull the right knee a few inches across the body, toward the left shoulder. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.​


Kneeling Calf Stretch

Kneel on the floor and bring the left foot forward between the hands. Gently press your body forward while pressing the heel towards the floor, feeling a stretch in the calf.

Don't worry about getting the heel on the floor, just press forward until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.


IT Band Stretch

woman stretching her IT band

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This is a great stretch for the iliotibial band. This band of dense connective tissue runs down the outside of the thigh, connecting to the knee.

Start by crossing the left foot behind the right. Take the left arm up and gently lean to the right, pressing the hip out to feel a stretch down your outer thigh. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.


Lying Quad Stretch

Sidelying Quadricep Stretch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie down on your side using your elbow for balance. Using your other arm, slowly pull your foot towards your glutes, keeping both knees together and bent knee pointing down. Squeeze the glutes to get a deeper stretch in the quads. Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch sides.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Behm DG, Chaouachi A. A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(11):2633-2651. doi:10.1007/s00421-011-1879-2.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."