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Step stretches for walkers

If walking and running have been your main forms of exercise over lockdown, those calves and hamstrings could be feeling pretty tight. We don't always think about stretching out after a walk but any muscle involved in repeated movement is going to need a good lengthen out afterwards. The stretches below are designed to release tension in the lower limbs and the addition of the step helps you to increase the intensity.

I appreciate that you are all sensible enough to know this but please make sure you use the bottom steps! Hold all the stretches for 30 seconds and keep your breath pattern regular and even.

Calf stretch

  • Stand on the bottom step placing both feet completely on the step and take hold of the bannister. Keeping a neutral position and standing tall through your spine., move your right foot so that the heel is free and hanging off the edge of the step. The ball of the foot remains on the step.

  • Making sure you keep the hips level, gently push the right heel down whilst slightly bending the left knee.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Hip flexor stretch

  • Standing on the floor, place your right foot on the second or third step.

  • Keeping your hips level and your left heel on the floor, tuck your tailbone under and squeeze the left glute and then lean into towards the stairs.

  • Steady yourself if needed by taking the hands to the stairs.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Glute stretch

  • Sit on the stairs with your feet on the floor. Your knees should be at 90 degrees with your ankles, knees and sit bones in alignment.

  • Sitting tall with a neutral spine, lift your right leg up and place it on your left knee.

  • You can add a little more intensity to this stretch by gently using your right hand to gently push down on the knee and open up the hip a little more.

  • Repeat on the other side.

Hamstring stretch

  • Stay sitting on the step and extend your right leg out drawing the knee cap up towards the hip to fully lengthen the leg.

  • Keeping the hips square to the front, reach tall out the hips and bend forward taking the breastbone towards the lengthened leg.

  • Flex the foot and push through the heel.

  • If your flexibility allows, reach forward with right hand and take hold of the ball of the foot drawing it gently towards you to increase the stretch.

Adductor (inner thigh) stretch

  • Stand sidewise to the stairs and hold on to the bannister, placing your right leg on the second or third step with the leg extended out from the hip. The higher the step the higher the intensity of the stretch.

  • Turn the left leg laterally so your foot is at the 11 o'clock position.

  • Making sure that your left knee tracks over the left foot, slowly shift your body over to the left, keeping your right leg as straight as possible.

  • Aim to drop the glutes towards the floor and increase the bend in the left knee to increase the intensity of the stretch.

  • Staying on the same leg, follow this stretch with the quad stretch below and then repeat both on the other side.

Quad stretch

  • From the inner thigh stretch position above., rotate round so that you are facing away from the stairs bringing yourself into a neutral position through the left side with the right leg resting on the step behind you.

  • Hold on to the bannister for balance if you need to.

  • Tuck your tailbone under and squeeze the right bottom cheek.

  • Ensure that the left ankle, knee and hip are in alignment with the knee tracking over the second toe, and bend the left knee until your feel a stretch down the front of the right leg.

  • Keep shoulders over hips and watch that your left knee stays over the left ankle.


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