Running 101: Stretching For Runners

Flexibility Routine For Runners

Glutes and Hip Abductors

Lie on your back with your left arm extended away from your body and resting palm-down on the floor. Bend your left leg 90 degrees and reach the knee across your body and toward the floor outside your right hip. Make sure your left shoulder blade maintains contact with the floor. Use pressure from your right hand to enhance the stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and then stretch your right side. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Hip Flexors

Kneel on your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor well in front of your body. Draw your navel toward your spine. Now put your weight forward into the lunge until you feel a good stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then repeat with your left foot forward, stretching your right-side hip flexors. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Hip Adductors

Perform this one just as you would the hip-flexor stretch described above, but start with your forward foot angled out 45 degrees, instead of straight ahead. Again, hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then stretch the opposite side. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Hamstrings

Sit with your left leg outstretched in front of you. Splay your right knee wide and tuck the foot against the inside of your left thigh. (This is often called a “figure-four stretch,” since your legs form that numeral.) Bend forward from the hips and grasp the shin of your left leg as close to the foot as you can. Don’t round your back; that’ll increase your reach but actually take emphasis off your hamstrings, making the stretch less effective. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and then stretch your right leg. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Iliotibial Band

Lie on your right side with your right leg slightly bent and your left leg bent fully. Grasp the top of your left foot with the left hand. Pull your foot back with your hand and at the same time reach toward the floor with your knee, so that your thigh simultaneously moves backward and rotates internally. You should feel a stretch along the outside of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then switch to your left side and stretch the right leg. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Quadriceps

Stand on one foot and rest the top of the other foot on a desk-height object behind you. The thigh of this leg should be perpendicular to the floor. Rest your hands on your hips. Rotate your pelvis backward. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and then stretch the opposite leg. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

Gastrocnemius and Soleus

Brace your hands against a wall and extend one leg far enough behind you that you feel a good stretch in your calf when you place the foot flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for 10 to 12 seconds and then bend the knee slightly so that the stretch migrates from your gastrocnemius to your soleus. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and then stretch the opposite leg. Now repeat the entire sequence.

Achilles Tendon

Stand in a split stance, one foot a step ahead of the other, with both feet flat on the ground and both knees slightly bent. Now bend your back leg a little more and concentrate on trying to “sink” your butt straight down toward the heel of that foot. Keep your torso upright. You should begin to feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon. You may have to fiddle with your position before you find it. When you do, hold it for 10 or 12 seconds, relax, and then stretch the opposite leg. Now repeat the stretch on both sides.

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