After spending days researching, assessing, and evaluating a number of leg stretching machines that we can get our hands on, we have come to find that the IdealStretch The Most Effective Hamstring Stretching Aid is the one that stood out. This device is friendly to almost all kind of users who wants to improve their flexibility. It is very easy to use and safe. It is also durable and portable. On top of that, it can stretch multiple parts aside from the leg in the lower body area. And it helps alleviate body pains!
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How Does a Leg Stretching Machine Work?
Leg stretching machines are commonly used by martial artists, gymnasts, and other athletes who need flexibility. These machines help improve the flexibility in the lower bodies as it gradually stretch the key muscles in that area.
Leg stretching machines are also known as hamstring or groin stretching machines. This makes it ideal also for other people, athlete or not, to use, most especially if they have tight abductors and sciatic problems. People may also find this machine helpful as part of their pre- or post-workout routine.
There are actually different kinds of leg stretching machines. Some kinds employ crank wheels while others use a ratcheting arm with a turning handle. It is available in many shapes and sizes.
Generally, this machine has a large metallic frame with some bars, ropes, and a built-in bench or seat. Positioning yourself upon this machine and working on its parts, you will be able to stretch your muscles out into a more flexible body.
What Should I Consider Before Buying a Leg Stretching Machine?
Buying a leg stretching machine should not be taken lightly. There are actually many types and kinds that should be chosen based on a lot of factors like the kind of pain you have (if there is any) or basically why you need it for (solely for stretching?).
There is also the talk of knowing your own physical ability in order to identify what machine is best to begin with. That and more!
Suffice to say, you need to consider a number of factors to find the best leg stretching machine for you. And we are here to help you with just that. So without further ado, here is a simple buyer’s guide:
Going into a leg stretching routine should be something that one enters with caution. So when you choose a leg stretching machine, then it helps for you to be familiar with it or at least know how it is used. You should know how to manipulate the machine properly for it to do the job.
And if you have no idea, we have you covered below (This only applies to those leg stretching machines with seat):
- Warm-up – Before starting on the machine, you should begin with a warm-up activity of your choice. You should then employ some light stretches to prepare your body for a more intense stretching.
- Going into the Stretcher – Sitting straight and tall on the floor, lean forward at the hips. Avoid rounding your back. Then slowly adjust the leg stretcher in a way where your legs are pushed comfortably apart.
- Going Deeper – From there, gradually increase the stretch as far as you comfortably can. Hold on to the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Then slowly move on in incremental stages.
Things to remember:
- Don’t forget to breathe. Avoid holding your breath.
- Stretch at least three times a week.
2. Know Your Needs
As we have mentioned, it is important to identify why you need this machine. There are a number of types of leg stretching machines to choose from. So ask yourself what needs to be improved on in terms of flexibility.
Another thing to consider is if it fits in your exercise space. Since you are buying one of these machines, it is safe to assume that you will use it at home. So it is a must to choose one that can fit in the exercise space that you have in mind.
A leg stretching machine could take up substantial space in your home. That is why you should consider the size and whether you can properly use the machine within the space.
In order to properly do this, start by taking measurements of the space where you want it. Once you have determined that, you can then carry it as a point of reference for the machine.
How We Assessed and Evaluated These Products
Our search for the most recommendable leg stretching machines around began with rigorous research both online and physical. We canvassed the leg-stretching machines that are readily available and are often shown as choices to potential customers.
As you would expect, we got a lot of them on our list. This made the search particularly challenging. So we then set off to the task of narrowing it down.
We went to the reviewers and forums in order to know the predominant users’ experience and comments—forums to find out people’s opinions about this machine like Gymnastic Bodies and MuscleTalk. From this, we removed those associated with mostly negative reviews. Thus arriving at a shorter list.
Soon after, we further reduced our list to arrive with the top five by creating a set of criteria. Here, we considered the size, weight, functions, and features among others and scored them accordingly. Those that didn’t make it were then removed.
And so we have our top 5. We further confirmed by doing product testing. Our team each gave the machines a try and put in their thoughts regarding the usability and effectiveness. We then rearranged and arrived at our final list and order.
Note: We did not receive any inducements from brands, vendors, and manufacturers throughout our research, assessment, and evaluation processes. All of our results are independent from any form of bias.
1. IdealStretch The Most Effective Hamstring Stretching Aid – Editor’s Top Choice
The IdealStretch Hamstring Stretching Aid is the top on our list. Most would find delight in this leg machine athlete or not. It is especially great also for those undergoing physical therapy or rehab on their calf, lower back, groin, IT Band, and hip.
Aside from being a leg stretcher, it works effectively to relieve tight and short muscles/tissues. This helps to alleviate backpressure and other pain.
When it comes to usage, this device is very easy to manipulate. On top of that, it is also very safe. No need to bend. All you have to do is lie on your back with your knee straight.
We also find its quality as very durable. The device is of light steel frame that is made of heavy-duty construction. And it only weighs 2.2 lbs!
With that lightness, you can trust that this device is totally portable. This portable stretching machine can be divided into two so it fits easily inside your bag. You can bring it to work, gym, and more!
However, people might find this leg stretcher not enough since it is only for one leg. It can be time consuming not to be able to use stretch your lower limbs altogether.
Also, the hand loop may be hard to hold since it is steel. It would have been nicer if it were padded. Nevertheless, it is very efficient and practical.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
2. TMAS Pro Leg Stretcher – Comfortable Second
Following suit is the TMAS Pro Leg Stretcher. If you want a machine that can stretch both your legs at the same time, then this is a great choice! It is perfect for those who want to improve their flexibility.
You can practice and improve your flexibility up to 180 degrees with this stretcher. While being comfortable at that! It has padded foot rests, seat, and an adjustable back support.
And when it comes to using the device, then you can easily handle it. It simply requires the user to turn the wheel located in front.
Moreover, the construction is very sturdy. We find it very reliable since it uses a gear system. There is also a stop latch that allows you to hold your stretch for as long as you want.
One last thing we like with this machine is that it came fully assembled. So there was no need to worry about having to fix the whole thing yourself; which is just very time-consuming.
On the downside, this machine must be used with caution. It must not be used on carpet or rugs. And it can’t accommodate someone who weighs heavier than 235 lbs.
In relation to the assembly, there is one thing that you have to do and that is to connect the wheel. People might find it a little complicated.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
3. Leg Stretcher: Door Flexibility Trainer PRO by EverStretch – Athletic Choice
EverStretch’s Leg Stretcher: Door Flexibility PRO is great for those who are more on the athletic side and prefers to do their stretches standing up! It is designed for those in ballet, gymnastics, taekwondo, dance, MMA, and alike.
This leg stretching equipment is basically a flexibility strap that smoothly sides through a 6mm solid metal welded D-ring. The door anchor is of heavy duty construction that secures the strap with a metal bolt through a metal plate. So you can trust that it is safe.
Any sturdy doorpost will do. It is easy to use since all you have to do is put the door anchor over the doorpost. Close the door. And pull the strap through the D-ring.
It is also comfortable to use since the strap has a softer webbing and a padded foot loop. And it is safe too for your door. It won’t damage it because the metal plate is padded with foam and covered with soft felt.
Together with the equipment is a mesh carrying bad, a doors sign, and a manual for the exercises.
While the device is great, it would have been nicer if it could be friendlier to all types of users. We find that this device needs enough focus to properly stretch the legs and get good results. It also needs arm strength since it has to be pulled.
There is also the question of having a good door to place this device. You need one that is sturdy as well as one that is not on a flat wall.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
4. Tiger Claw Steel Leg Stretcher – Newbie’s Pick
The fourth pick is a slightly downgraded version of the second one. It is made entirely of steel minus the seat and wheels. But even with that, it still works well to provide flexibility and balance to users, especially first-timers.
The Tiger Claw Steel Leg Stretcher works the same as the one previously referred to. You just have to simply sit with your legs apart and on top of the padded foot rest, then adjust or stretch accordingly using the pull-bar in the middle. You can adjust this product in four levels that go about 12” in total.
Furthermore, since this product is mainly bars of steel together, you can trust that it can be portable. It is also easy to store. Plus, it only weighs 3 lbs. The construction is also sturdy and reliable.
For its disadvantages, however, we think this product is good enough for those just starting to improve their flexibility. But for those who want to go deeper into their stretch, then you might not feel it strong enough. It can also be challenging to use on carpeted floor.
And like the one above, this requires arm strength. Since this device still needs to be pulled and held on to a position in order to achieve your desired stretch, then you must be capable enough to handle that upper body tension.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
5. Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine – Reliable Choice
Last on our list is the Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine. This one can be used for both newbies and those who like to go deeper like athletes.
This device is like the two above that stretches both legs at the same time. It comes with an adjustable and padded seat and backrest, foot rest, and a wheel or gear. So it is comfortable.
To use it, you also just have to turn the crank wheel as the extension arms begin to separate. You can go by degree in incremental stages however you want.
But unlike the first one of its kind, this device doesn’t come assembled. You still have to figure out how to form the device. This can take some time and patience.
Moreover, there is a gap on the thigh part of the device. This might make your legs sink especially if you are a little taller.
It is also a bit wobbly when we tested it. So it led us to rank it lower than the rest on top of the other drawbacks mentioned. But it is still a reliable device, nonetheless.