Feeling a little sore after incorporating a run into your workout plan? Try these stretches that are essential for runners, whether you're a pro or just enjoying the nice fall weather with a light jog.
Why stretch? Stretching is important because when you workout over time, your muscles tend to tighten up and actually shorten, which results in limited mobility over time. Stretching lengthens those muscle fibers to help you maintain mobility, increase flexibility, and reduce soreness and risk of injury.
So, let's jump in.
1. Quadriceps Stretch
Probably the most common stretch, the quadriceps stretch is important for runners because it loosens up a huge muscle group. To do this stretch, all you have to do is shift your weight to one leg, and lift your other leg, grabbing your ankle and pulling your heel into your glute. While keeping your core engaged, your back straight, and your pelvis aligned, use this easy stretch before and after running. Simply switch when you're ready, and repeat as many times as you need.
Check out the video here.
2. Calf Stretch
Another essential stretch for runners is the calf stretch. All you need is a wall or a sturdy structure to lean on. Runner's World teaches us to: "Stand facing a wall, tree, or some similar structure for support with left foot forward and both hands flat against a wall, arms fully extended. Keeping both heels on ground, lean forward with left knee tracking over left toes. Make sure both feet are facing forward. Hold for one to two counts, then repeat. After 20 reps, repeat on left leg." Read the full article here.
3. Lying Spinal Twist
Because running engages several muscle groups, it's important to incorporate several full-body stretches to your routine as well. A great one is the Lying Spinal Twist. Super simple and so relaxing, all you have to do is lie down on the ground, pulling your right leg to your chest while keeping your left leg extended, and roll to your left side so that your right knee is touching the floor. When you've reached the deepest point that you can, extend your right arm and look to the right to deepen the stretch. Switch to stretch the other side. Abi Carver demonstrates this simple and effective stretch here.
Hope you enjoy these stretches! Which one is your favorite?