Best stretches for runners. We just talked about the 6 best exercises for runners, so now let’s take a look at some of the stretches you should be doing consistently. When I worked with running clients, I often noticed that many of them would go for long runs and then bounce around for a few minutes doing something they called stretching or worse yet, skipping it all together. While you shouldn’t be doing deep stretches cold, it is important to warm up before running so that you aren’t jarring your joints and muscles. Leave these stretches for after a long run when your muscles warm and pliable.
BEST STRETCHES FOR RUNNERS
Hamstrings. Lying on your back, place your right foot in a band or yoga strap. Gently pull your leg up toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch and hold for 20-30 seconds. If you are fairly flexible then lengthen your left leg on the floor. The other option is to keep your left knee bent while you keep your foot flat on the floor.
Calves. Don’t change your position from the above stretch. Simply bend your leg slightly while pressing your heel toward the ceiling. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Quadriceps. Lying on your side (legs stacked) bend your top knee and gently pull your heel toward your glutes. Don’t arch your back and keep your pelvis in a neutral position. You should also feel this stretch in your hip flexors (the front of your hips). This stretch can also be done while lying on your stomach. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Glutes/Piriformis (supine pigeon prep). Lying on your back, place your right foot on the floor and cross your left ankle over your right thigh. With your left hand reaching between your legs, pull them toward you. If you don’t have the flexibility to hold this pose, simply place your right foot on a wall at a 90 degree angle to the floor. You can also gently press your hand on your left thigh. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Illiotibial Band. This is great for runners and those suffering knee pain. Place your left hand on a wall and cross your left foot behind your right foot, pointing your toes. Now take your right hand and place it on your hip and gently press your hip toward the wall. The key to this stretch is to keep your body upright. This one can be finicky, so my preference is to use a foam roller. Simply lie on your side on the roller, propping yourself up on an elbow. Roll from your hip to just above your knee. Warning, this can be quite painful, so breathe. Tip. It also feels great to roll out your quads, hamstrings, calves and back.
Although there are standing variants for all of these stretches, I’m recommending that you do them on the floor while still warm from your run. Don’t fight gravity and worry about balance, take this time to really and properly give yourself a deep stretch.
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