Just 10 minutes and four stretches to build stronger legs

Improve your posture, work your core, and build lower body muscle with this short routine

Woman performing plank variations outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stretching is a vital, but often overlooked, part of any workout routine. Getting your body ready for exercise helps loosen your muscles and promotes circulation to get oxygenated blood to your muscles. 

Whether you like to use a quick warm up or spend some time on a yoga mat, it can make all the difference to how you feel during your session. That's why stretching your lower body is crucial before your next leg day routine. 

This four-move leg stretching routine comes from personal trainer Massiel Arias, and is designed to improve your range of motion, get blood flowing, and help ease you into your dumbbell leg workout

"When your muscles are warmed up, they can contract more forcefully and relax quicker reducing the risk of injury by overstretching a muscle," explains Arias. Your heart is also under less stress, as your blood vessels widen to increase blood flow. 

There are four moves; three plank variations and shin boxes, where you position legs in front of you on the floor and move your legs from side to side. Arias demonstrates all of the exercises, so you can perfect your form before starting. 

Watch Massiel Arias’s four-move leg warm-up

Learning how to do a plank may not seem like a great way to stretch your lower body, but these variations on the workout staple engage your legs and increase the range of motion around your hips. 

Plus, the plank is one of the top core strengthening exercises you can do without weights. Your core — a section of mid-body muscle — is responsible for your balance, stability, and connecting your upper and lower body. 

So it plays an essential role in your leg workouts, making it a vital part of any warm up. And a stronger core also promotes circulation, helping bring oxygenated blood to your muscles during your training. 

Stretching can complement your training, but it's also a worthwhile practice in its own right. These yoga stretches for beginners help strengthen your mind-muscle connection, developing an awareness of your body. 

This is useful during everyday life, as its a bit like learning how to meditate to bring your attention to the present moment. But it also helps you make small adjustments to your form in other exercises to get the most from your workouts. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.