Top essential stretches for runners
Most runners know they need to stretch, but they may not know which stretches are the most effective. While there are many different stretches that can help improve your running, there are a few that are essential for all runners to do.
Here are some of the important exercises for the runners.
Knee hug – Knee hugs are a great way to stretch your hips and low back. To do a knee hug, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bring your right knee up to your chest and wrap your arms around it. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release and repeat on the other side.
Toe touch – As a runner, it’s important to keep your muscles loose and limber to avoid injury. One way to do this is by stretching regularly, and incorporating a variety of stretches into your routine. Toe touches are a great stretch for runners, as they target the calf muscles which are often tight from all the running. To do a toe touch, stand with your feet hip-width apart and reach down to touch your toes. You can keep your knees slightly bent if you can’t quite reach all the way down. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.
Wall push – One of the best stretches for runners is the wall push. This stretch targets the muscles in the front of the chest and shoulders, which are often tight from running. To do this stretch, stand with your back against a wall and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and lean forward slightly. Then, push your body away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then return to the starting position.
Quadriceps Stretch – Another great stretch for runners is the quadriceps stretch. This stretch targets the muscles in the front of your thigh, which are often tight from running. To do this stretch, stand with your feet together and bend one knee so that the bottom of your foot is behind you. Using a wall or chair for support if needed, reach back with the same arm as the bent knee and grab your ankle with your hand. Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat on the other side.