This article from 2012 was lightly edited and resources updated in 2020. For more articles on gait, check out Our Favorite Feet, Footwear and Walking Resources. For more articles on the pelvis, check out Our Best "Healthy Pelvis" Resources.
Our family ditched the holiday tradition and decided to leave our tiny town for the big city lights of Seattle for Thanksgiving. Our daily nature walks were replaced by treks through the urban jungle at night.
And after sleeping in strange beds, using pillows at night and sitting on a couch for four days, riding in a car and on multiple ferries, my quads were pretty stiff. So, this morning I decided to film a quick quad-stretch how-to video.
How many quadricep muscles are there on each leg? There are four. And one of them runs between the pelvis and the shin (the rectus femoris) so that means that if your pelvis tilts forward when you "stretch your quads", you're not going to be stretching all the quads. You'll be missing the one that's attached to your pelvis, which is also the one that keeps your pelvis tipping forward a lot, and compressing your lower back. Here's how to stretch all your quads more completely by eliminating any of the common "cheats" and minding your pelvis.
If you don't have time to watch the video, here's the nutshell: Hyperextension of the lumbar spine is a common culprit in those that feel low back compression during various exercises or poses like this one, and one reason you might be feeling it in your back is because you're not stabilizing all the necessary parts. You're hyperextending your back to do the move and not actually moving the parts you think you are.