5 Static Stretches For After Your Run

Written by: Chris

Updated on:

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A cool-down post-run is just as important as a warm-up prior to your workout. Including a proper warm-up and cool-down into your running routine may decrease the risk of running injuries.

As you may know, a warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles and increases your heart rate. It is often recommended to include dynamic stretches into a warm-up. Dynamic stretches may enhance your running form by engaging major muscles of the core, hips, and legs.

A cool-down, on the other hand, slowly brings your heart rate back down and may decrease post-run muscle soreness later on. Incorporating static stretches, such as the following outlined below, into your cool-down routine may further increase your flexibility and provide varying degrees of relief.

Quad Stretch

The quads provide the power and strength to propel you forward and help you dominate those tough hills. Tight quads can, unfortunately, lead to running injuries, such as runner’s knee. As important as it is to strengthen the quadriceps muscles, it is just as vital to stretch them out following a run.

How To

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your thighs parallel, bend one knee bringing your foot toward your buttocks.
  3. Grab your ankle with one hand.
  4. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use a wall or chair for balance and support if needed.

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are responsible for flexing the knee. In running, the knee is constantly being put through the movements of extension and flexion. To reduce the risk of hamstring strains, the muscle should be properly stretched out post-run.

How To

  1. Sit down on a mat or the ground.
  2. Keep one leg straight out in front, and bend the opposite knee out. The foot should rest beside the inner thigh of the opposite leg.
  3. Bend forward at the waist toward your straight leg reaching your hands toward your foot.
  4. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch on the back of the top of the leg. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.
  • If you do not feel a stretch in sitting, try doing the stretch in a standing position with your foot propped up on a chair or on an angle on the ground with the heel planted.

Iliotibial Band Stretch

One of the most common running injuries is iliotibial band syndrome. It can be caused by tightness of the iliotibial band which runs down the side of the legs. Stretching the IT band may reduce tightness and chances of such injuries from occurring.

How To

  1. Stand tall with a straight posture to the side of a chair or wall.
  2. Step the outside foot behind the foot closest to the wall or chair.
  3. Lean the trunk of your body toward the wall or chair.
  4. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch on the outside of the leg behind. Repeat for the opposite leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.
  • Keep both feet planted flat on the ground throughout the stretch.

Calf Stretch

The calf muscles aid in propelling the body forward, as well as helping you come to a complete stop. Elongating the calf muscles post-run may prevent running injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and calf strains.

How To:

  1. Stand tall and face the wall.
  2. Place both hands on the wall.
  3. Step one foot back, planting the heel.
  4. Bend your front knee forward toward the wall.
  5. You should feel a gentle stretch on the bulk of the calf of your back leg. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
  6. Repeat for the opposite leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • Keep your back leg straight and your heel planted throughout the exercise.
  • If you want to stretch the lower part of the calf muscle, also known as the soleus, repeat the above steps but with the back leg slightly bent and the heel planted.
  • Make sure to maintain proper posture throughout the exercise.

Hip Flexor Stretch

With repeated hip flexion in running, it comes as no surprise that many runners suffer from tight or sore hip flexors. Stretching out the hip flexor muscles may alleviate post-run hip soreness and may prevent the possibility of future running injuries from occurring.

How To:

  1. Kneel on the ground in a lunge position. Your back knee and shin should be fully on the mat or ground with your knee directly under your hips. Your front leg should be bent with your knee directly over top of your foot.
  2. Keeping your back straight, lean your body forward, bending further into your front knee.
  3. You should feel a gentle stretch on the front of your back leg near the hips. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Repeat for the opposite leg.

Tips & Tricks

  • Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.
  • For added comfort, place a pillow or mat under your back knee and shin.

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