10 Stretches for Runners
If you are a runner, then you know how important it is to stretch before and after your run.
06:52 15 November 2021
If you are a runner, then you know how important it is to stretch before and after your run. Doing so will help prevent injuries and decrease post-run soreness. Here are 10 stretches for runners. These stretches will strengthen the muscles of your feet, hips, back, hamstrings, quads, calves, and shoulders while also improving flexibility in your body. Remember to use these stretches carefully and consult with a flexibility coach if you think injuries are possible.
Lie on your back, bend both knees and bring your feet up towards the ceiling.
Grasp one of your ankles with each hand, then pull them down until a stretch is felt in your buttocks or glute muscles. You can also lift one leg at a time to increase intensity.
Lie on your side and bend your top leg, with the bottom one extended straight out.
Grab behind your thigh and pull it in towards you until a stretch is felt in your upper thigh or quadricep muscles. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before switching sides to ensure both legs are stretched equally.
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level.
Bend both knees while keeping them aligned, then lean forward until you feel a stretch in either calf muscle. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before switching sides to ensure both legs are stretched equally. If necessary place one leg behind the other to increase the intensity of the stretch or use an exercise ball placed against a wall if no partner is available. You can alternate between standing and sitting during this stretch by simply pulling up onto your toes instead of bending down towards it when more intense pressure is applied to the calves/Achilles tendon area.
Start in a seated position with one leg extended outwards and the other bent towards your torso.
Grasp around your thighs, then pull yourself forward until you feel an intense stretch on the inside of either thigh or groin area. You can also increase intensity by placing weight on top of your hips/pelvis through hands placed underneath them. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before switching legs to ensure both sides are stretched equally; alternate between having feet pointing forwards (stretched) and backwards (relaxed).
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Start by standing with your feet together, then take one step forward and bend down while keeping your back straight.
Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. To increase the intensity, you can extend your arms in front of you while keeping them straight and bending forward to a greater degree.
Make sure the stretch is felt in your hamstring and not in the lower back.
Repeat this stretch on both sides to ensure equal flexibility for each leg.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit with one leg extended and the other bent, then lean forward towards your bent knee until you feel a stretch in the hamstring of that leg.
You can also increase intensity by placing weight on top of the bent knee through hands placed underneath them. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before switching legs to ensure both sides are stretched equally; alternate between having feet pointing forwards (stretched) and backwards (relaxed).
Downward Dog Stretch
Start by getting on all fours, with your knees under your hips and hands underneath your shoulders.
Spread fingers wide apart to create a stable base for yourself.
Now push back as if you were trying to make an inverted V shape with your body; keep pushing until you feel the stretch in either hamstrings or calves, depending on how deep into this pose you go. For more intensity, push up onto toes instead of heels when needed, but be careful not to round the spine forward too much, which may cause strain/injury at the lumbar vertebrae area (low back). Hold this position for 15-20 seconds before returning slowly to starting position; resume regular breathing pattern during the transition out of the pose.
Child's Pose Stretch
Begin by kneeling on all fours with knees under hips and hands underneath shoulders like in downward dog above (modified). Keep the spine straight while allowing the head to relax downwards. Gently allow the forehead to touch the mat if possible without straining neck muscles; hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before returning slowly to starting position; resume regular breathing during the transition.
Ankle Heel Lifts
Stand with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
Slowly lift your heels off the ground until you are standing on tiptoes. Hold this pose for a few seconds before returning to starting position. Repeat this stretch five times in order to get the most out of it; do not bounce or jolt while lifting your feet off the ground. Instead, use slow and controlled motions. You can also make this exercise more intense by increasing the number/duration of repetitions.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Start by standing with one hand on a wall and the other holding one foot behind you.
Lean into your bent forward leg until you feel an intense stretch in front of either hip; hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before switching sides to ensure both hips are stretched equally, alternating between having feet pointing forwards (stretched) and backward (relaxed).
These stretches will help you stay physically fit and healthy. They are not only great for runners but can be done by anyone that has tight muscles.
Remember to take it slow and try not to overdo your stretching because that may cause injury, especially if the area is already injured. If unsure about the form or technique for any of these exercises, consult with a professional before attempting them on your own.