Stretching as part of a workout seems to be where the most confusion comes in. It is a common question that should you stretch before a run?
Essential Stretches For Runners
Before engaging in any form of exercise it is important that you take a few minutes to maximize your performance and minimize your chance of injury.
BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
You should include stretching in your normal exercise routine for three main reasons:
- Stretching increase the range of motion
- Improves performance
- Reduce the risk of injury
What to do when stretching?
Post-workout stretches are very important, your muscle at that time are warm and they are responsive to stretching.
- You have to hold stretches for around 30 seconds.
- Keep them gentle and slow.
- Avoid bouncing.
- Stop if there is pain.
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL STRETCHES FOR RUNNERS?
Check out these essential stretches listed below, these are the must-haves for any runner or someone starting out running to maintain their mobility and prevent the niggles and major injuries down the track.
The quadriceps stretch aims to improve the flexibility of the muscles at the front of your thigh which attaches from the hip to the knee.
Quadriceps stretches are best for tight or injured quads. It relieves pain and tightens your quadriceps
- If you have a good balance you don’t have to hold on to anything
- If you have a balance issue or unable to reach and pull your foot towards your bottom and standing, then you can do quadriceps stretch lying on the couch or bed.
- Bend your leg at the knee using your other hand to hold and pull slightly.
- Hold the stretch for a lower 30-second count and switch.
- Make sure when stretching the knee is pointing towards the floor
- Try to avoid moving the knee away from the other thigh and also stretching the leg behind the stance leg.
Hamstring stretch helps to loosen and stretch the hamstring muscle and work with the knee, hips, and back.
- Lie on your back and put your legs straight out in front of you
- Slowly raise one leg as high as comfortably you can, while keeping the other leg on the floor.
- Support the raised leg with your hands around the thighs or calf.
- Relax for a second, now use your hands to pull the leg towards you.
- Pause for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
Piriformis exercises relieve pain and fix the underlying causes of sciatic pain.
- Lie on your back and cross one point over the knee
- Grab behind the knee and pull the leg towards you while you push the other away
- You have to feel the stretch outside your hip and buttocks. And repeat on both legs.
ILIOTIBIAL BAND OR IT BAND
The IT band stretches can help relieve pain and increase flexibility in your IT band. When the IT band is tight it may cause problems in your hip and knee including hip bursitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
- Take the foot of the leg you want
- Cross it behind the other leg
- Take your arm(on the same side) and bring it up over your head
- Now, stretch the area by pushing the hip out the side
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds, feel the stretch on your leg and repeat
Gluteal muscles are a powerful group of muscles that have multiple functions. They provide motion of the hip, stabilize the pelvis and hold us upright. Strong glutes are essential for daily activity and preventing back pain.
- Lie on your back and angle your legs for 90 degrees
- Place your ankle across your knee
- To make the stretch stronger, pull your ankle towards you while pushing away the opposite knee.
- You should feel a stretch in your bottom.
HIP FLEXOR STRETCHES
As runners, athletes, or fitness-minded keeping your psoas healthy is a key component creating a body that works at its highest potential.
- Place the knee of the hip in flexor you want to stretch on the ground
- Take the opposite leg and bend in front of you at a 90- degree angle.
- You may place a pillow under your knee for support if you want to
- You will be in a lunge position with the knee on the ground
- Now drive the knee forward from your body
- Hold it for 30 seconds and switch
- Make sure you feel the stretch on the front of your hip on your back leg
Increase your flexibility and prevent injury by stretching your gastrocnemius in your calf as part of a complete exercise program.
Classic calf stretches help you more effectively reach those tight little areas that sometimes appear in your calf muscles after a tough running workout.
- Stand holding on a wall
- Place one leg behind you and lean forward
- Keep back leg straight and heels on the floor
- Keep for a count of 30 seconds and switch legs
Start slowly, don’t ignore the pain, and don’t overdo it.
Stretching before and after exercising is very important to prevent injuries. Stretching on a daily basis helps to maintain a healthy structure allowing us to do what we love.