10 Best Stretches for Runners for 2022
Updated: Jan 13
Stretches Increase Performance
Post-run stretches help muscles that work hard during running and other athletic activities to relax the muscles.
This is done by using specific stretches that target muscles that tighten during running or athletics.
The stretches also make a runner more comfortable and increase performance if done before running competitions.
Stretches also reduce recovery times for the muscles of the legs, upper, shin, needle glute, and lower body. These muscles take up all the effects and impacts of running.
Even as you stretch the muscles, safety should be the top priority. Ensure to go at your own pace because it helps to stay free from injuries. Quick and jerky movements should be discouraged when doing stretch-ups.
Do not bounce as you do the stretches. Additionally, make sure you can identify your maximum tension point as you do these stretches.
Never go beyond this point as this may lead to injuries. If the exercises are hurting, then you should lessen the range of motion.
Here are 10 stretches to consider as a Runner
This stretch is done while lying with your back on a floor. With the left leg on the floor and the left knee bent up, the right knee is stretched slowly up and towards the body.
Take the leg up until you hold the right leg being stretched, with your hands. Do this for about 30 seconds.
Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
The hamstring is loosened with stretcher exercises to prevent any strain and tearing. In that case, if there is a pain in the hamstring, consider seeing the doctor before attempting any treatments or exercises.
Otherwise, the pain and injury may worsen. Second, ensure you do some loosening of the muscles before you can fully exercise your hamstrings.
You can loosen the muscles by walking or doing other activities to warm the muscles.
The Yoga Stretch strap or rope is also used during the lying hamstring stretch to deepen the stretch. However, avoid tugging it too hard.
The seated hamstring stretch is done when sited in a butterfly position with the right leg extended straight and the left knee bent slightly.
You then bend towards the legs to touch the leg for support and without forcing the stretch. Wait on position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg extended and right knee bent slightly.
There is a second version of the hamstring stretch where you sit on one chair as the right leg is extended on a second chair, and the left leg stepping on the floor.
You then bend towards the legs to touch the leg for support and without forcing the stretch. Wait on position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg extended and right knee.
You then lean forwards to slightly stretch the hamstring. Do this for 10 seconds and repeat with the left leg extended on the second chair and the right leg stepping on the floor.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
The standing hamstring stretch is done while in a neutral spine position. The right leg is placed in front and the left knee is slightly bent.
You then hold the bent right leg with the two hands and then lean forwards slightly. Avoid leg hunching by keeping the back straight.
Yoga stretches are also included as part of the tight hamstring exercises. They can be modified to your liking. The downward dog is another exercise meant to work out the hamstring.
The hands and knees are kept on the floor and the knees are lifted. The tailbone is raised towards the ceiling.
Straight up the legs while ensuring the spine is kept in a straight position.
You can also bend the knees slightly if the hamstrings are tight and making this exercise difficult.
The triangle pose is another common type of hamstring workout done in a standing position.
The legs are then moved apart, and the arms are stretched out. Bring the right arm down to touch the ground with palms facing down as you stretch out both hands.
This is done by bending the torso over the right leg. The right and left feet are kept at right angles. The heels are kept in line with each other.
Do the exercise for 60 seconds and repeat the exercise by touching the floor with the left hand.
Other types of hamstring are the foam roll hamstrings where you use the foam rollers to help stretch and loosen your muscles.
These form rollers can be found easily at gyms. However, you can buy them for home use.
This type of exercise is done in a sited position. Put the roller under the right thigh as the left leg remains on the ground for support.
Place the arms behind the back and roll the hamstring on the roller. Ensure you work out the abdominal muscles during this exercise. Roll for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
This stretcher exercise targets the front thigh muscles. It is done in a standing position.
The legs should be straight with both knees tightly close to each other. Fold your right knee and lift the right leg from behind and grab the right foot.
Stretch the quad by moving the heel towards the butt. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
This stretcher exercise targets the calf muscles which also suffer a lot during running.
You will make the muscles relax but also the stretches help you to avoid shin splints. The exercises, which also target the lower body, are done in a standing position.
Make sure you are standing on an exercise step or flight of stairs with the foot on the step edge.
Support yourself on a rail or wall. Bend the right knee while lowering the left heel. You will feel a stretch in the left calf as you drop the heel.
Do this for up to 60 seconds and then repeat the exercise by dropping the right heel and folding the left knee.
Low Lunge Stretch
This is also a common lower body exercise done to work out the hip flexor muscles. These muscles lift your legs during running.
The exercise is done with the body in a lunge position, with the upper torso straight.
Straighten the left leg behind you. Stretch the hip front and the top left thigh as you extend the hip forward and press down with the hand. Stay in the position for 60 seconds and repeat with the right leg.
IT Band Stretch
This exercise is done to stretch the iliotibial band, which stretches from the hip to the knee. Stretching this band helps to avoid the IT band syndrome.
The exercise is done while in an upright position and with the right leg crossed behind the left. Stretch the outside of the right leg by leaning forwards to the left side.
Put up the right arm and over your head extend it to the left side. Stay on position for 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg
This type of exercise targets the inner thigh and groin area muscles. It is done in a sitting position with bended knees, joined feet bottoms, and knees pointed to the sides.
The hands are then taken around the feet and heels slid towards the body. Press down the knees to the ground while leaning in front. Stretch the inner thighs.
Lean forwards as much as you can go to almost touching the ground with your nose. Do not overdo it. Do it for only 60 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the stretcher.
Hip and Back
This stretch helps to work out the lower back and hip. It is done in the sitting position with legs placed in the front. The right leg is raised and crossed over to the left one while the latter is kept straight.
The right leg is then brought up to the chest and the body trunk is twisted such that you face the right shoulder. Wait for up to 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Arms and Abs Stretch
This stretcher activity targets the arms and obliques. It is done while in a standing position with feet kept apart.
The arms are then stretched above the head and shoulders dropped away from the ears. Lean on your back while holding the wrist.
Stretch the sides by leaning to left and right in a straightened-up position.
The seated side-straddle stretch also targets the thigh and hips muscles in addition to the abdominal muscles.
It will lengthen them. Sit on the floor and ensure the legs are apart.
The cobra pose stretch is done while lying on an exercise mat as the starting position. The upper body is lifted as the hips remain flat on the ground.
Do it for up to 20 seconds in the top position and return to the starting position. Repeat up to four times.
The cat-cow is another variant of the stretcher exercises targeting the abdominal muscles and the lower back.
The back is arched up and the head is tucked downwards into the body as you support yourself on the ground using the knees and hands.
Arch the backdown and bring up the head as you continue supporting yourself on the ground with your hands and knees. Repeat 3 to 4 times.
The chest opener stretcher is done while the back is lying on an exercise ball.
Place the feet flat on the floor and flex the knees at 90 degrees. The back should be extended. Place the blades, neck, and head on the ball.
Open the arms and bring them down to the side of the ball as you look up. Wait for 30 seconds and repeat up to 3 times.
These types of stretches are done to strengthen the core muscles including the obliques, rectus abdominis, traverse abdominis, hip flexors, low back, diaphragm, and pelvic floor.
These muscle stretches will stabilize the spine and help you to move safely.
These stretches can also prevent back pains. This is because they work out the abdominal muscles. Working out these muscles helps make the muscles more flexible and therefore less prone to injuries.
The stretches are also important in helping your abs to recover after athletics.
They can also help to prepare your body for exercises when done before the athletics activities. Hence, you increase performance and reduce the risks of injuries.
This exercise targets the upper body part, which is also used a lot when running.
The muscles are used for stabilizing the shoulder and extending the elbow.
They also support the forearm movements during running and walking.
This stretcher targets the triceps and upper arm back muscles. It is done by moving the elbows across the body to the opposite shoulder.
Start with one elbow. Hold it with one hand and move it to the opposite shoulder. Wait for up to 30 seconds and switch sides.
This type of exercise is known as the horizontal stretch and will help increase your flexibility.
These muscles are also targeted with stretches when you want to develop strength in the upper body part.
It is important to perform the stretches up to the point you are comfortable without overdoing them. Otherwise, overdoing may leave an injury to the body.
Many people also start by loosening the muscles before doing the stretches.
Stretches are healthy exercises that can be done before or after running or other athletic activities. Ensure to maintain natural breathing during this exercise.
These stretches can be done either in a sitting or standing position.
The towel stretch is also an excellent addition for those targeting triceps exercises. It engages the core muscles.
It is done by holding a towel at your back with one hand holding the towel over the left shoulder and the other one located at the side of your body and holding the other end of the towel. The hands are then pulled in opposite directions.
The other type of triceps stretch is the dynamic triceps warm-up. This is done as a warm-up to loosen the triceps before doing other types of stretches.
The exercise is done with arms spread out in a straight position and parallel to the floor. They are then rotated in backward and then forward circles.
Please consult with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition plan.