Stretching exercises, including posterior thigh stretches, calf stretches, anterior thigh stretches, inner thigh stretches and iliotibial band and lateral thigh stretches are all functional in helping to improve flexibility, according to Shape Fit. By performing stretching exercises regularly, it is possible to decrease the risk of injury, increase the range of motion and decrease healing time after workouts.
Stretch the posterior thigh by sitting on a bench and placing one leg out on the bench and the other on the floor, as Shape Fit instructs. Lean forward over the outstretched leg until resistance is felt. Stretch the calves while doing this stretch by pointing the toes backward towards the body. Stretch the anterior thigh by holding onto a chair, bending one leg at the knee and pulling it back toward the buttocks with the opposite hand. Stretch the inner thighs by sitting on the floor and placing the soles of the feet together, gently pressing the knees downward. While seated, with the legs straight, place the left foot over the right leg, turning the body to look over the left shoulder to stretch the iliotibial band and lateral thigh.
Stretching exercises should be done after a warm-up to minimize the risk of injury and get the most out of the exercises, according to Shape Fit. Do not stretch until the point of pain, but instead just until the pulling of the muscles can be felt. Hold each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and use three to five stretching exercises per workout to increase flexibility. Stretching after exercise is also a valuable aid in workout recovery.