10 Stretches For Runners


Beginner Running

There are two main types of stretches that runners need to know about:  

Dynamic stretching, preferred by athletes as part of their warm up routine. These stretches involve movement and warm up major muscle groups, as well as sending a signal to your body that intense activity is on the way.  

Static stretching is traditionally used as part of your cool down at the end of a session. These stretches do not involve any movement and are gradual elongations of major muscles, aimed at increasing flexibility and preventing soreness/injury.  

Here we focus on static stretches to work into the cool down portion of your training sessions.  

Stretching technique

Before we get started here are 5 key tips for great stretching technique:

  1. Never stretch ‘cold’ muscles – if you want to stretch (as some runners do) before the main portion of your training run, only do so after you’ve warmed up for approximately 10 minutes.  

Technique  

1. Lean into wall and lift one leg off the ground

2. Lean into stretch

3. Keep leg straight

4. Repeat with other leg  

Technique

1. Grasp leg behind knee

2. Pull leg in to chest

3. Slowly straighten leg

4. Repeat with other leg  

Technique

1. Stand on one leg with other leg pulled up to backside

2. Grasp ankle and ease into stretch

3. Keep knees together

4. Keep upright posture

5. Repeat with other leg  

Technique

1. Lie on back on the floor

2. Position one leg across the opposite thigh

3. Grasp leg behind thigh and pull into body

4. Repeat with other leg

  

Technique

1. Kneel on floor with cushion under knee

2. Grasp foot and pull up towards buttock

3. Thrust hips forward and upwards

4. Stretch will be felt in thigh and across front of pelvis

5. Repeat with other leg  

Technique

1. Sit with back against a wall

2. Ensure backside is positioned as close to the wall as possible

3. Keeping an upright posture, gently press down on knees until stretch is felt  

Technique

1. Sit up tall, on the floor, with your legs out in front of you.

2. Raise your left leg and cross it over the right leg.

3. Keeping the right leg bent bring the left leg into your chest.

4. Turn your torso from the hip so that you can look over your left shoulder.

5. Repeat on the right.  

Technique

1. Kneel on floor

2. Fully drop chin to chest

3. Arch back upwards, pushing from shoulders

4. Relaxed breathing throughout  

5. Finish position technique

6. From start position, slowly extend neck and look at ceiling

7. Hollow out back

8. Relaxed breathing throughout  

Technique

1. Rotate your shoulders individually and together, forwards and backwards for 20-30 second each.

2. Pull your arm back over your head and gently pull the elbow down towards the back and hold

3. Repeat on the other side  

Technique

1. Place the hands on the small of your back

2. Try to move your elbows towards each other behind your back

Ideally you should stretch the major muscles after every run but if that proves too time-consuming, stretching twice a week is a suitable target. Finally – make sure you mix up your stretching routines as research shows just using one form of stretching is not as beneficial as using a variety of stretching routines. Try different types of stretches for each of the key areas highlighted here, this will give your flexibility workout diversity. Also consider working in a yoga class as a part of your training week.

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