);

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Leg Stretching Machines For Increased Flexibility

The best leg stretching machines increase flexibility. We have reviewed products for the legs, targeting hamstrings, calves, adductors, hip flexors and more.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Leg Stretching Machines For Increased Flexibility

The best leg stretching machines increase flexibility. We have reviewed products for the legs, targeting hamstrings, calves, adductors, hip flexors and more.

by PITeam

by PITeam

We all know how vital stretching is, especially for gymnasts, martial artists, and other kinds of athletes. It helps to keep your muscles limber, guards against injury, and extends your reach - but the benefits don't end there.

Everyone should be practicing stretching routines often, but without a partner, it can be challenging to push yourself and make progress. That's where leg stretching machines come in.

These machines will do your partner's job for you by helping you to get a deeper, fuller stretch when you need a little push. There are lots of different types of leg stretching machines, and each of them works a little differently.

To help you to find the right product for your needs, goals, and budget, we've put together this in-depth guide to the best leg machines on the market. We've reviewed and compared the leading products and listed our favorites. Plus, we've prepared a buying guide to help you to know what to look for.

Types of Leg Stretchers

We can broadly sub-categorize leg stretchers into three different types, as follows:

Traditional Stretching Machine (whole-body)

Traditional stretching machines are sophisticated machines that can target many different muscle groups. You can use these machines in various ways to stretch your back, core, quads, hamstrings, or other muscle groups.

The advantage of these types of machines is that they can be used to stretch the whole body - you're not limited to just your legs. The downside is that they also tend to be a little more expensive and a lot bulkier than other types of leg stretchers.

Three-Pronged (Stationary and portable)

Three-pronged leg stretchers are sometimes referred to as ‘splits stretchers' or ‘splits machines' because that's pretty much what they do - help you to do the splits.

They have three prongs, two large ones for your legs and one in the middle for you to lean against. You stretch out your legs and rest them against the outer prongs, then use the mechanism in the middle to widen the outer prongs in small increments, thus stretching your legs further and further apart.

This mechanism is usually either a crank wheel that you turn or a ratcheting arm that you pull or push on. Most of these machines can be widened to a maximum of 180 degrees (i.e., the full split), but for serious athletes, it's possible to stretch past this limit by leaning forward.

Over the Door (leg stretcher straps or bands)

Over the door leg stretchers, also known as leg stretcher straps, are a lot more basic. They're just a flexible band that wraps around your leg and hooks through a loop over your door to create a kind of pulley system.

As you pull on the strap at one end, the end which is attached to your leg is pulled upwards, lifting your leg higher. There are no mechanical parts involved, so you have absolute control over the stretch, which a lot of people prefer. Over the door straps are usually cheaper than the other two types of leg stretchers and take up less space.


Benefits of Stretching your Legs Regularly

Here are 10 benefits of stretching your legs regularly:

  1. 1
    Improves blood circulation
  2. 2
    Helps you to maintain good posture
  3. 3
    Lowers blood glucose levels which helps to manage diabetes
  4. 4
    Helps with post-workout recovery and reduces lactic acid buildup
  5. 5
    Reduces the risk of injury during workouts
  6. 6
    Can help to treat chronic lower back and leg pain
  7. 7
    Increases flexibility
  8. 8
    Boosts reach and athletic performance
  9. 9
    Can help martial artists to improve performance
  10. 10
    Helps you to achieve correct form on difficult yoga poses

Choosing a Quality Leg Stretching Machine

To help you to find the best leg stretching machine, we've put together a short buying guide. Here are the main factors to consider when shopping for a leg stretching machine.

Purpose & Type

Start by thinking about what you plan on using the leg stretcher for. Naturally, you want to increase flexibility, but are there any particular areas you want to target? Some machines are built to target very specific muscle groups, like the hamstrings, quads, or calves.

Also, consider your current ability level. If you're a professional athlete, for example, you may need a split machine that can go past 180 degrees to allow you to make progress. If you're a beginner, this won't be necessary.

Size

The size of the leg stretching machine is also important. Look at the dimensions of any product you're interested in to make sure they'll fit in your home. If you don't have a lot of space to work with, an over the door leg stretcher might be best. If you plan on taking your leg stretching machine with you from place to place, you'll want something small and portable.

Durability

When you fork out on a leg stretching machine, the last thing you want is to need a new one within a couple of months. To make sure a leg machine is durable, look at the materials, build quality, and warranty. Machines with longer warranties and made with stainless steel will likely have better durability.

User Weight Limitations

Look at the recommended weight or maximum load capacity listed on any leg stretching machine you're interested in to make sure it's suitable. For example, many machines have a weight limit of 250 lbs, which could be problematic if you're a heavier user. Choose a machine that accommodates users of all sizes.

Comfort

Comfort is also really important. Try to choose a machine with an ergonomic design as this will help you to maintain proper form throughout the stretch and be more comfortable. Adjustability is vital as you'll need to be able to position the back support in a way that is natural for your body.

Some leg stretchers also feature plush cushioning on the seat and leg pads to make things a little more comfortable.

Easy Assembly

On a practical note, consider how easy the leg stretcher is to install. Some machines come pre-assembled while others require you to put it together at home. Are you happy to take the time to assemble it, or is that something you want to avoid? If a machine does come pre-assembled, take a look at the dimensions and make sure it will fit through your door

Usability

Think about how you plan on using the machine and make sure the product you choose makes sense.

For example, do you plan on leaning forward during your stretch? If so, you need to make sure your machine allows for this. Some leg stretching machines have a removable crank wheel, which allows you to lean forward, while others are fixed in place.

Different machines also come with different stretch angles. Think about your current maximum stretch angle and how far you're hoping to improve it.

Warranty

Lastly, think about the warranty period. Some leg stretching machines might offer no warranty at all whereas others might offer a lifetime warranty or limited warranty for anything between 90 days and 5 years. The longer the warranty, the more peace of mind you'll have knowing you can get replacement parts if yours breaks down.


8 Best Leg Stretchers Reviewed

1. TMAS Pro

Best leg stretching machine for middle splits

Target

Entire leg (adductors, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves)

Weight of Machine

35 lbs

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

56 x 14 inches

(when folded)

Max User Weight

235 lbs

Warranty

N/A

First up, let's talk about the TMAS Pro. This is my number one pick for the best leg stretching machine for middle splits. It's a three-pronged machine, which means it's designed specifically to stretch your legs in the way that you'd stretch them to do the middle splits, making it perfect for martial artists.

The reason I like this machine so much more than a lot of others is that it utilizes a self-locking crank wheel (rather than a lever) and a gear system (rather than a cable system).

This ultimately means that the mechanism is a lot stronger, which is beneficial if you're a heavier user as you'll create more resistance against the machine when stretching. Cable systems can snap under high tension, but this isn't a problem with the TMAS Pro.

All you have to do is turn the wheel using the handle with your legs resting against the outer bars, and it'll stretch them in small increments. Another great thing is that this machine actually goes far beyond 180 degrees, so if you're already super-flexible, it can still challenge you. This makes it an excellent choice for serious athletes, gymnasts, and martial artists.

"If you are serious about stretching, flexibility in your groin area, doing the splits, all without hurting yourself, this is THE MACHINE! Mine just arrived and I tried it for the first time and I'm absolutely in love. It's comfortable, you can sit up straight, you can recline, you can lean forward by removing the steering wheel by just lifting it off. The best thing is that you get a very very good, serious stretch without risk of damaging your knees or ligaments." Amazon Reviewer

Oh, and one more thing - it's comfortable too! The machine has a lot more padding than you usually see on these types of machines. There is padding on the seats, backrest, and footrests.

It comes pre-assembled, which will save you a lot of time when it first arrives, and it folds up pretty small, so it's easy to tuck away under your bed and out of sight when you're not using it.

Pros

  • Huge stretch angle (more than 180 degrees)
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Gear system
  • Removable crank wheel
  • Pre-assembled

Cons

  • Max weight limit of 235 lbs

2. Nitrofit Limber Pro

Great for all leg muscles

Target

Full body

Weight of Machine

56 lbs

Dimensions

 (L x W x H)

50.5 x 22.4 x 38.5 inches

Max User Weight

300 lbs (with support bracket)

Warranty

Home Warranty: 5 Year frame, 2 year parts, 90 days upholstery
Light Commercial Warranty: 2 Years frame, 1 year parts, 90 Days upholstery

Next up, we have the Nitrofit Limber Pro. Unlike the TMAS Pro, this isn't a three-pronged leg stretcher. It's a traditional full-body stretching machine that is great for all leg muscles.

It's a stationary, bulky piece of equipment with a lot of different adjustable parts. It can be used in many different ways to stretch different muscle groups. For example, you can hold onto the handlebars and roll the seat back while leaning forward to stretch out your back or pull out the calf board to stretch out your calves.

"This machine is awesome. My husband and I use it every morning after our morning exercises. I get the deep stretch needed to keep the pain out of my hip. My husband says his back has never felt better. The other stretches on the machine are also great. I will use it in the morning and again before going to bed. It has helped tremendously with my pain." Review on Nitrofit website

The machine itself also comes with a few goodies added on, like safety wrist straps, a removable calf board, and an exercise manual that shows you how to perform different stretches.

It's pretty bulky and will take up a lot of space, but it's perfect for commercial use and would be a great addition to any home gym. Just make sure you have the room for it!

Pros

  • Adjustable for different heights
  • Versatile and can target many muscle groups
  • Durable, heavy-duty
  • Comes with calf board & safety wrist straps

Cons

  • Very bulky
  • Manual assembly required

3. IdealStretch-Original

Best hamstring stretcher

Target

hamstrings, calves, back, hips

Weight of Machine

2 lbs (approx.)

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

15 x 7.2 x 8 inches

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

N/A

If you're looking for something to help you to stretch out your hamstrings or calves, go for the IdealStretch Original. This is the best hamstring stretcher on the market. It doesn't look like much, but a lot of thought has gone into that simple design.

Unlike the two products we've talked about so far, this isn't a ‘machine' as such. It's a simple tool that makes a big difference. You hook one side of it around your feet and hold the other side in your hand to assist yourself when stretching without a partner.

"Portable, sturdy and works great! I thought it was a little expensive for a couple of bent pieces of tube metal. But it works! It's stronger than I thought it would be and since we're always traveling (by car) it's extremely portable. We just set it by the bed and stretch each evening and morning for 5 minutes." Jon, Amazon Reviewer

The beautiful thing about this product is that it's extra-safe. It's designed to be used while laying down with your back flat against the floor. This allows you to stretch out your lower legs without bending over and putting pressure on your spine.

I'd definitely recommend it if you suffer from back problems or pain while stretching, or if you're just looking for something portable and affordable to help you to stretch your hamstrings.

Pros

  • Safe
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Great for hamstrings and calves

Cons

  • Basic
  • Limited usefulness
  • Not great value for money

4. Century

Best martial arts leg stretching machine

Target

Entire leg (adductors, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves)

Weight (of Machine)

N/A

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

52 x 18 (when folded)

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

90-day warranty

This Century leg stretcher is probably the best martial arts leg stretching machine when it comes to value for money. Like the TMAS Pro that we talked about earlier, it's a three-pronged leg stretcher. Unlike the TMAS Pro, though, this one features a pully system rather than a crank wheel.

This means that to widen the outer prongs, you have to pull on the pulley system. It locks in place in small increments so you can extend the stretch slowly and gradually. When you release it, it returns back to the original position very slowly, which is great as it helps you to avoid injury.

"Awesome! I immediately love it! Ready to use in minutes. I've had a few leg stretchers and I really love this design, simplicity and very sturdy. Not small but not outrageously big either, easy to put out of the way when not in use, depending on how big or strong you are. I don't think it is very heavy at all I can pick it up and move with one arm no problem. I am short and stocky, need a lot of force normally to push my legs back." Carl, Amazon Verified Purchaser

The cushioning isn't quite as plush as the TMAS Pro, nor is the construction quite as heavy-duty. However, on the flip side, it's more affordable and more portable. It can be folded up really small, and it can be mounted on a wall when you're not using it to save even more space. It comes with a 90-day warranty.

Pros

  • Incremental locking system
  • Great for martial artists
  • Safe
  • Affordable
  • Space-saving design

Cons

  • Not a lot of cushioning

5. FIGROL

Best adductor stretching device

Target

Entire leg (adductors, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves)

Weight of Machine

N/A

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

N/A

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

N/A

This is yet another three-pronged leg stretcher from FIGROL. It's one of the best adductor stretching devices I've been able to find. It's perfect for dancers, gymnasts, or anyone trying to train to do the middle splits.

Unlike the other three-pronged leg stretching machines on this list, the FIGROL leg stretcher doesn't have an incremental locking system. You control the stretch angle manually by pulling on the middle bar. As you pull the bar closer to yourself, your legs will pull to the side; as you release, they'll return to their original position.

This has both pros and cons. On the plus side, it's a little safer as you're always fully in control of the stretch. On the downside, as there's no locking system, it's more difficult to hold the position for 30 seconds or more.

In terms of construction, it's pretty durable and comfortable. It's made of tubular steel, and the handholds feature EVA foam grips that help to make sure it's easy to keep hold of during the stretch. It also has an adjustable length, so it's suitable for both children above 1 meter and adults.

"Took a minute to actually figure out how to use the leg splitter (no instructions included with mine). Once we mastered it, my 11 yo daughter has used it every day to stretch so that she can eventually be able to do a split. Great product and works really well." Amber on Amazon

Pros

  • Complete control
  • Great for middle splits training
  • Adjustable length for different user heights
  • Comfortable
  • Good for middle splits

Cons

  • No locking system

6. EverStretch

Best over the door leg stretcher

Target

Entire leg (adductors, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves)

Weight of Machine

1.05 lbs

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

8.6 x 2 x 5.8 inches

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

Lifetime warranty if you register

This next product from EverStretch is the best over the door leg stretcher on the market. It's also my go-to recommendation for dancers who want to increase their leg flexibility.

The reason it's great for dancers is that it helps you to stretch in a more natural, upright position, which is something that you often have to do in contemporary dance and ballet.

Over the door leg stretchers are different from all of the other products we've mentioned so far. There are no mechanical or metal parts. It's just a simple piece of fabric that you attach to your leg and hook above your door to create a pulley system. As such, they take up more or less no space and won't scratch your floor.

"This thing is awesome. It is very easy to use and I just love the way this stretches my legs. The quality just isn't comparable, this product feels strong, more comfortable to use and I'm not afraid that it'll break. I highly recommend this product." Review on Everstretch

The EverStretch product includes both the dance stretch band and the door anchor. You can set it up in less than a minute and start stretching right away. You also get access to the EverStretch online portal, where you can find instructional videos that teach you how to perform different exercises using the stretch band.

Pros

  • Stretch in an upright position
  • More natural way to stretch
  • Easy setup
  • Portable, lightweight

Cons

  • No locking system

7. The Original Stretch Out Strap

Best hip flexor stretching device

Target

Full body (especially legs)

Weight of Machine

0.25 lbs

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

5.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 inches

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

N/A

The Original Stretch Out Strap is another stretch band that's a little more versatile. It isn't just meant to be hooked over your door to stretch your legs; it can also be used in many other ways to stretch out your full body.

I like to use it to stretch out my hip flexors by lying on my back and using it to pull my toes towards my forehead. In my opinion, it's the best hip flexor stretching device on the market.

"This thing is amazing for stretching, especially if you are not naturally stretchy. Sometimes I just lie on the floor of my living room and stretch while watching TV. The book that comes with it is also really helpful and with vaguely late-80s photographs that sometimes take my mind off of the muscle spasms." - Amazon Reviewer

The package comes with a 6'4" woven nylon strap with 10 loops and a stretch manual to go with it. The manual contains over 30 stretches that work different muscle groups. As it's so versatile, I'd recommend it for any athlete that wants a good stretching aid. It's also handy for yoga, pilates, and physiotherapy exercises.

Pros

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Very versatile
  • Includes exercise book

Cons

  • Doesn't come with over-the-door hooks

8. Vive Foot Rocker

Best calf stretcher

Target

Calf

Weight of Machine

1.61 lbs

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

11.6 x 5.8 x 4.6 inches

Max User Weight

N/A

Warranty

N/A

Last but not least, we have the Vive Foot Rocket - the overall best calf stretcher you'll find anywhere. This product isn't meant to be versatile. It's designed to do one thing and one thing only, stretch your calves - and it does that extremely well.

One of the most common calf stretches is to roll from the ball of your feet onto your tiptoes. When your weight transfers onto your tiptoes, your calves are stretched out. The problem is that our toes aren't long enough to get a good enough range of motion to really stretch it out.

As such, most athletes use the stairs or stand on a block to increase their range of motion, but this isn't ideal.

The Vive Foot Rocket provides a much neater, more elegant solution. It's an ergonomically-designed foot place that attaches to the bottom of your shoe. You can then use it to roll gradually back and forth from your heel to your toe in a way that increases the range of motion and more naturally stretches the muscle.

"How did I not know about foot rockers before? This thing is amazing -- quicker than rolling a towel, easier than sitting on the floor, and really fun to use. Just be sure to wear shoes (the box has a picture of someone using it barefoot, which is almost as silly as wearing 99-cent flip-flops.)" - Amazon Verified Purchaser

It isolates the lower leg muscles and ligaments and stretches it out. It can help to improve your circulation, reduce pain, and can even help alleviate pain from foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Pros

  • Great for deep calf stretches
  • Safe and effective
  • Can help to alleviate pain

Cons

  • Only useful for calf stretches (not versatile)

Which Leg Muscles Should You Stretch & Why?

Here are the main muscle groups to stretch out using your leg stretching machine:

Calf

Your calf muscle is the muscle at the back of your lower leg; the one you activate when you stand on your tiptoes. They're a major muscle group that needs to be stretched regularly to stop them from becoming tight. Tight calf muscles put you at risk of tearing your Achilles tendon or muscles and increase the risk of injury.

Hamstrings

Hamstrings are a group of four muscles that run down the back of your leg; two on the inside and two on the outside. Pulled hamstrings are one of the most common injuries amongst athletes. If you pull your hamstring, you can be out of action for weeks. Prevention is better than cure, so take the time to stretch these regularly.

Quadriceps

Quadriceps - or ‘quads' - are one of the largest muscle groups in your body. They're the big muscles on your upper thighs. They play a core role in all kinds of activities and workouts: running, cycling, jumping, you name it! Stretching them is super important for joggers, cyclists, or anyone who works out regularly.

Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors are a really important muscle group that helps you to lift your knee and bring it to your abdomen. Stretching them regularly can reduce the risk of injury and allow you to get a greater range of motion when you're squatting, doing lunges, or doing any other kind of leg raises to strengthen your core.

Adductors

Don't overlook your adductors. These muscles are primarily there to allow you to pull your thighs together. Certain stretches - like ‘the pancake' - and yoga poses rely on your adductor muscles, so it's important to stretch them regularly to achieve proper form.


Dos & Don'ts When Leg Stretching

DO’s

DON’T’s

Warm-up your muscles first
(through light aerobic activity)

Stretch when your muscles are cold

Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds

Hold the stretch for longer than 45 seconds

Increase the stretch gradually in very small intervals

Overstretch beyond your capabilities

Repeat each stretch 2-4 times

Continue if you experience stabbing or shooting pain

Move through the stretch slowly and smoothly

‘Bounce’ at the end of the stretch or jerk your muscles

Maintain proper positioning and posture

Stretch in the wrong position

Take care when stretching for injury rehabilitation

Stretch an injured muscle without first consulting a doctor or physician


Homemade Leg Stretching Machines

If you're short on cash and don't want to buy a leg stretcher, you can always make one yourself using some PVC pipe and a rubber band.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but here's a YouTube video that shows you how to make your own DIY leg stretcher if you want to give it a try:


Assembling a Leg Stretching Machine

Most of the bigger leg stretching machines that require self-assembly will come with instructions that guide you through the process. They'll also typically includes all the required materials and tools, and can be assembled within an hour.

If you lose your product assembly instructions, you might be able to find a copy on the manufacturer's website. Either way, assembly is pretty simple and intuitive. Here's a visual walkthrough of the assembly of a ProFlex model that you can use as a point of reference:


Care & Maintenance

To keep your leg stretching machine in tip-top shape, you should carry out some regular maintenance. Different models will require different levels of maintenance, and you should always follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

However, here are some general tips on how to care for your leg stretcher:

  • Wipe down the equipment after use with a sanitizing spray
  • Clean the upholstery regularly
  • Clean and inspect the frames regularly
  • If the machine starts to creak, lubricate the joints using suitable lubrication.
  • Check that all fasteners are correctly secured before use

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I stretch?

Generally, it's okay to do some light stretches every day, but around three times a week is recommended. Stretching too often can have negative effects. It ultimately depends on you, so listen to your body and don't overexert yourself.

Will stretching improve my exercise performance?

Some studies have found that regular stretching can improve performance in certain exercises and sports, such as running.

Are there any health restrictions for using a stretching machine?

Some stretching machines aren't suitable for use with specific injuries or conditions. Check the health and safety advice from the manufacturer.

Is it safe for pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone with health issues, etc.?

Usually, yes, but again, it depends on the machine, the type of stretch, and many other factors. Certain kinds of stretches can be beneficial during pregnancy, whereas others should be avoided. If you're concerned, consult your doctor before using a leg stretching machine.

If I have had surgery, can I use a stretching machine?

Some stretches can help with post-surgery recovery. It depends on the type of surgery and other factors. Consult your physiotherapist or doctor.

How long before I notice improvement?

If you stretch your leg muscles for 30 seconds once a day, you should see a noticeable increase in flexibility within 4-6 weeks.


Conclusion

That's about all there is to know about the best leg stretching machines. If you're an athlete, martial artist, gymnast, or just someone who wants to become more flexible, you should definitely get one.

Grab yourself the TMAS Pro and start with a couple of 30-second stretches a week, and you'll be as flexible as a rubber band before you know it! Good luck!


Last Updated on

Top