If you’re like many people, you’ve always stretched your legs yourself. But if you have chronically tight hamstrings or otherwise need some help when it comes to stretching, a leg stretching machine might be a worthwhile investment.
But finding one of these machines is a little difficult. This is largely because there’s no single type of leg stretching machine. Some of the items on this list are minimalist–they use straps or a small metal device. These leg stretchers are much more portable than many, any they’re ideal for people who travel a lot or who don’t have much storage space.
The other class of leg stretching machines involve devices that look much more like traditional workout machines. However, they don’t involve using your legs to move weight–through various different mechanisms, they’re designed to stretch out your legs.
Generally, leg stretching machines that look more like traditional workout machines are more expensive. Much of this has to do with material costs, as these machines are larger than smaller devices. These machines take up more space, and they may be more suitable for people with home gyms or those with additional storage space.
These machines come in many different forms, and it can be hard to know what kind of machine you want. To make things easier, we have compiled a list of the top five machines for leg stretching.
1. ASOSMOS Ballet Leg Stretcher Machine
This is one of the most straightforward machines on the list. It’s made of two connected bars, each with a rubberized end that helps hold feet in place. The center of these two bars has a third bar, which is used to adjust the angle. This machine can open up to 180 degrees.
While it’s effective at what it does, this machine only stretches legs in one direction. It opens legs up in a split position. This type of motion is useful for ballet dancers or for people who need more flexibility in this direction. For instance, if you want to get better at doing splits, practicing with this machine can help you.
That said, this machine is very inexpensive. It’s effective, but it isn’t often durable–many buyers have mentioned issues with durability.
2. Ideal Stretch Hamstring Device
This device, unlike the ASOSMOS ballet stretching device, doesn’t have moving parts. And it may look confusing at first, but it comes with an instructional DVD that shows you how to use it to stretch hamstrings, IT bands, and glutes. The device can take the place of a stretching partner, and it lets you achieve deeper stretches than you could otherwise.
This device has another great benefit–it allows you to achieve these stretches without back strain. And since muscle stiffness can increase back pain, stretching is a necessary thing to do in order to reduce pain. If you’re someone who suffers with back pain and stiffness and who wants a reliable way to stretch effectively, this device is worth looking into.
3. EverStretch Leg Stretcher
This device is affordable and portable, making it great for frequent travelers who need to stretch both at home and in hotel rooms. It’s a simple system of cables that can be hung over a doorframe. And while it can be used for a variety of stretching purposes, the manufacturers note that it can help you be able to do a full split very quickly.
If you get this stretcher and aren’t sure where to begin, the manufacturer includes an instructional booklet to help you get started. From there, you can develop your own regimen to help you achieve your personal goals.
This set has many advantages, namely its portability and affordability. However, if you’re someone with poor balance, this set may prove difficult to use, especially in the beginning.
4. ProFlex Stretch Machine
If you’re looking for a machine that gives you options for stretching your entire body as well as your legs, this is a great option. While it’s easily the most expensive machine on this list, it’s also an all-in-one stretching solution. At first glance, this machine looks a lot like the small at-home gym stations you often see available for purchase.
However, instead of using your body weight to move weight, this machine helps you use your whole body to stretch. And while it might look unwieldy, it has a few advantages. One is that it helps you keep the right spinal angle. And if you’re serious about preventing injuries, this is a feature worth paying for.
If your goal when stretching is to expand your abilities, this machine also offers ways to do so. A purchase includes video links for different exercises (as well as a machine setup guide). The machine comes with a special workout log to let you track progress, too.
5. ProForce Stretchmaster II
This machine is essentially a higher-tech version of the ASOSMOS ballet stretcher. It’s ruggedly built like high-end gym equipment, with a padded backrest and padded leg rests. The leg rests, controlled by a wheel that looks a bit like a steering wheel, are used to spread your legs into a split position.
However, this machine also has the ability of stretching past 180 degrees. While we don’t recommend trying this mode right away, it can be used to help you achieve even greater flexibility with practice.
If you have the spare cash for a rugged leg stretching machine, this may be a good investment. However, it’s helpful to know that it often comes with an additional shipping fee due to its large size.
These machines are all very different, making it difficult to choose the best one. However, if you’re looking for a smaller machine, we recommend the EverStretch set. This set is very inexpensive, it allows you develop flexibility and balance, and it’s highly portable.
If you would prefer a machine, our pick is the ProFlex. It’s expensive, but it offers you an opportunity to develop flexibility through your entire body. And with instructional guides and progress charts, it has the potential to really help you develop.
The bottom line is to make sure that you thoroughly understand the different products before you buy–a machine that’s perfect for one person will be useless to another. You also need to consider your goals. Think about the type of flexibility you need to develop, and whether or not you also need to develop balance. With some research and forethought, you’ll be able to find the right leg stretching machine for you.