Runners Stretching, why and how?

Runners Stretching, why and how?

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4 Top Benefits of stretching 

  1. Reduces muscle tension and helps relaxation, through improved circulation and oxygen exchange. 
  2. It improves ease of movement, which in turn helps improve coordination through the range.
  3. Injury prevention, begin more supple, helps your body adapt to loads.
  4. It helps produce smooth muscle contraction.

And because of the above, it helps decrease soreness post-run.

 

Recommendations

  • Stretch a joint through limits of the normal range, do not force 
  • Mild soreness should take no longer than 24 hours to resolve after stretching.  If more recovery time was necessary the stretching force was excessive. 
  • If stretching is new to your body, we’d suggest 10-15 seconds initially and gradually increases to 45-60 seconds over 4-5 weeks. 

Breathing, inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips during a stretch.  You may wish to close your eyes to increase concentration and awareness during the lying stretches. 

 

Standing Calf Stretch 

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Place the stretching leg behind
  • Place your feet, knees, and hips straight forward. 
  • Lean forward keeping both heels on grounded to feel stretch in the calf

 

 

Flexed calf walkout 

  • Walk hands onto the floor 
  • Push hips as high as you feel comfortable.
  • Walk on the spot alternating dropping the heel to the ground to stretch the calf muscles
  • Roll through your whole foot
  • Adaptation – hands on a higher surface 

 

 

Thigh/quadriceps stretch 

  • Lying on your side
  • Bend you bottom knee up to keep your back flat. 
  • Reach behind to grab hold the ankle of the top leg and pull it back behind you
  • Pull back the leg until you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.  Do not extend through the back. 

 

 

Glute and lower hamstring stretch

  • Lying on your back with one knee bent.  pull one thigh up to chest
  • Keep the foot flexed and gradually lift up the lower leg whilst keeping your thigh close to you. 
  • Stretch should be felt in upper thigh and glutes

 

 

Hamstring stretch

  • Following on from above
  • Straighten out your leg 
  • Flexing your foot towards you 
  • Gently pull the leg towards you until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg
  • Keep your other leg bent to support you. 

 

 

Piriformis/outer hips stretch

    • Cross your ankle on to the opposite thigh. 
    • Using your hand, slowly push your knee away from you 
    • You will feel the stretch on the outside of your hip. 
  • Adaptation – decrease the angle created by the resting leg

 

 

Adductor/inner thigh stretch

  • Sit tall
  • Bring soles of feet together and allow knees to drop out to side
  • Apply pressure with elbows on knees
  • Adaptation – sit on a raised surface. 
  • You will feel the stretch on the inside of your thigh. 

 

 

Psoas/hip flexor stretch

  • Place one knee back, foot flat on the floor 
  • Keep hips square 
  • Lunge forward, squeeze glutes and lean back slightly
  • Push your back foot into the floor
  • You will feel stretch in front of hip and thigh

 

 

Lower back stretch

  • Lying on back with knees bent
  • hug your knees into your chest
  • Rock gently back and forth. 

 

 

Upper back and relaxation pose

  • Kneeling, hands-on floor out in front
  • Knees out to the side
  • Reach forwards creating as much length through the spine as possible. 
  • Adaptation place a pillow between your knees and hips to sit on.