Stretches for Athletes Who Run

Don’t tell me, let me guess. You have jumped into that new fitness program and now you ache.  Don’t just keep working harder and running faster. That may be the American way, but your body won’t like it. Stretch! …AFTER you exercise. It’s basic physiology: your muscles contract so you can run. That means they shorten. After a significant exercise effort (or after a long period of inactivity), they do not return to their resting length on their own. They need to be stretched.

If you’re not very stretchy or you just need some help, get a rope. (6-8 feet, depending on your height) Nothing fancy. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and have them cut you a piece for a couple bucks. Best exercise value going!

Here are some basic stretches for runners. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. DON’T skimp. You deserve this. And so does your body.

Oblique stretch: Hand behind head helps lengthen muscles while allowing pelvis to remain fixed.

Inner thigh stretch

calf/achilles stretch

Hamstring Stretch: Pull extended leg only as high as you can with straight leg. Add tension with the rope.

Abductor (outer hip) Stretch: With knee flexed, gently pull ankle in toward opposite shoulder.

Quadriceps Stretch: Be sure to keep hips square as you gently pull foot toward buttocks.

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