The 7 Best Stretches for Runners from The 7 Best Stretches for Runners

The 7 Best Stretches for Runners

When performing the following stretches, recommended specifically for runners by Jason Karp, PhD, creator of the Run-Fit Specialist certification and author of five books, including 101 Winning Racing Strategies for Runners and Running a Marathon For Dummies be sure to move actively through the range of each movement, “contracting the muscle group opposing the one you’re stretching,” Karp said. He also suggested using a rope or yoga strap for light assistance at the end of the range of motion for each stretch in order to increase how far you can move your limb.

Glutes

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Lie on your back and bend your right knee, placing your hands behind your knee and thigh. Using your abdominals and hip flexors, lift your right leg toward your chest until you can go no farther. Gently assist your leg at the end of the stretch with your hands. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Hamstrings

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Lie on your back with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the ground. Make a loop with the rope and place your left foot into the loop, locking your knee so your left leg is extended straight out. From your hip and using your quadriceps, lift your left leg toward your chest, aiming your left foot toward the ceiling. Grasp the ends of the rope with both hands and slightly pull the rope toward you to assist at the end of the stretch. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Quadriceps

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Lie on your right side with your knees bent (in a fetal position). Slide your right arm under your right thigh.  Reach down with your left hand and grasp the shin, ankle or forefoot of your left leg. Keep your knees bent and your legs parallel to the ground. Contract your hamstrings and glutes and move your left leg back as far as you can, using your hand or a rope to give a gentle assist at the end of the stretch. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Adductors

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Lie on your back with both legs extended straight out and loop a rope around the inside of your left ankle and then under your left foot, so the ends of the rope are on the outside of your foot. Lock your left knee and slightly rotate your right leg inward. From your hip and using your abductors, extend your left leg out from the side of your body, leading with your heel. Keep slight tension on the rope and use it for gentle assistance at the end of the stretch. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Calves

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Sit with both legs straight out in front of you and loop a rope around your left foot. Flex your foot back toward your ankle, using the rope for a gentle assist at the end of the movement. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Leg Swing— Side to Side

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Stand a couple of feet in front of a wall, chair, or fence with your hands on the wall. Swing your right leg side to side from your hip through its entire range of motion, passing your right leg in front of your left leg. Repeat the side-to-side motion five to ten times before switching to the other leg.

Leg Swing— Forward and Back

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Stand with the right side of your body facing a wall, chair, or fence with your right hand on the wall. Swing your left leg forward and back from your hip through its entire range of motion. Repeat the forward-and-back motion five to ten times before switching to the other leg.