If you want to improve your flexibility and performance add these 4 stretches to your post-run routine.
After you’ve completed a run the first thing you’ll probably want to do is stop and take a seat, but making sure you stretch when your muscles are warmed up can make all the difference in preventing unwanted injuries and speeding up recovery.
Tight hamstrings is a common find in most runners and these can limit your flexibility and range of motion. It’s important to stretch these muscles out to aid recovery, improve your running stride, form and speed.
Try lying on your back with both legs extended. Raise one leg and try to keep it straight while making sure your lower back remains touching the floor. Grip your raised leg behind the knee and pull the leg back slightly towards you, so you feel a stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds and then swap your legs over. You can also add in a strap to help or if this stretch is too intense, you can bend the leg that is not raised.
2. Calf stretch
Calf muscles work hard when you’re running so make sure you stretch them out afterwards to help reduce possible strain to the shin and foot and to help prevent shin splints.
To stretch out your calfs find a wall or a structure you can lean against and place your hands on it. Keeping your back leg straight and front knee slightly bent try leaning forward into your bent leg. This should give you a nice stretch in your back leg. Try holding this for 30 seconds and then swap legs. If you bend your back leg this will help stretch out a different part of your calf muscle so give that a go too.
3. Glute stretch
Glute muscles tend to tighten up quite easily in runners, so adding this stretch to your post-run routine can really improve your running performance.
You can do this stretch either lying on your back or standing up. To do it lying down, keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and then grab behind your left knee and bring your leg towards your chest. You should be able to feel this stretch in your glutes. Try and hold it for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
You can also do this one standing up by crossing your right ankle just above your left knee and then bending down into a squat position. Try and hold this for 30 seconds and then swap legs.
4. Quad stretch
Stretching out your quads is really important both for increasing the strength of these muscles and improving flexibility, both of which can improve the recovery speed and your overall running performance.
While standing on your right leg, bring your left heel back, and grab your left foot or ankle with your left hand. Gently pull your foot towards your glutes while making sure to keep your knees together and try not to arch your back. Hold this for 30 seconds and then swap legs.