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> Stretches for runners – 15 exercises

Stretches for runners – 15 exercises

Publish date 15.11.2022

You can read it in 7 minut

Stretches for runners – 15 exercises

Stretching for a runner is extremely important. It has many benefits. Among other things, it increases the range of motion, improves running technique, enhances muscle appearance, and prevents injuries. 

However, what are stretches for runners? What kind of stretching exercises for runners will be most useful for those who are doing this physical activity? All this, and even more, you will learn in this article. Are you ready? Let’s get started! 

Stretching for runners – choose dynamic rather than static exercises before running

At the very beginning, let’s clarify the difference between static and dynamic stretches for runners. 

Static exercises are designed to calm the muscles and body after exercise (that is, in your case, running). This form of exercise is characterized by slow movements that are fluid and focus on a certain muscle group. During static exercises, hold the position even before 40 seconds. Normally 20 seconds is enough, but this doesn’t always work.

Dynamic stretching is the complete opposite. In this case, you do exercises that will be similar to the movements you will perform during training. With these, you can prepare well for your planned run.

When stretching (dynamic or static), remember that the exercise should not cause you pain. Stretch so that you feel comfortable. This is most important.

After this brief description, you can already surely conclude for yourself that dynamic exercises are more suitable for runners before training. Static exercises can make your muscles so loose and flexible that you may have trouble maintaining stability. 

Therefore, do dynamic exercises before running – this will stimulate your muscles and prepare them for the effort, as well as “wake up” your nervous system. 

What are the advantages of dynamic stretches for runners? 

  • Increases range of motion.
  • Reduces the risk of injury during running. 
  • Raises heart rate and body temperature. 
  • Makes muscles stronger. 
  • Improves dynamics and stability. 
  • Increases blood flow. 
  • Warms up the joints.
  • Better prepares the body to work at higher speeds. 
  • Motivates the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems to work better. 

Dynamic stretches for runners before training – what is it? 

Dynamic stretching can be treated as part of the warm-up. All because the exercises allow you to prepare for running. Before you start dynamic stretches for runners, warm up your muscles – for example, you can choose walking or slow jogging. 

Dynamic stretching before running is stretching a muscle quickly and then immediately contracting it again. Remember that this is the beginning of your exercises, so don’t do them rapidly. Start doing them slowly so that unwanted injury or pain does not occur. 

Spend about 10-15 minutes on such exercises. This is enough to prepare your body for further training. Perform about 15 repetitions of each exercise. Moreover, focus most on the muscles that will be most active: legs, abdomen, arms, and torso. 

Stretching for runners – before the run 

1. Head semicircles 

Stretch: the quadriceps muscle of the neck, the oblique muscle of the head.

  • Lower your head as if you want to touch your chin to your chest. 
  • Then start moving your head – from left to right and from right to left.  

This is a simple exercise that will stretch your neck and cervical region. You can also do this exercise if you spend long hours in front of a computer. It will relax tense muscles. 

2.Marching with the leg raised to the side 

Stretching: calf muscles, gluteal muscles. 

  • Taking a step forward with the right leg, lift the bent knee so that the knee goes to the side outward and the foot goes to the opposite hip. 
  • At the same time, lift yourself up on the toes of your left leg. 
  • Keep marching like this until you repeat the exercise 10 times for each leg. 

3.Lunges 

Stretching: quadriceps thigh muscles, gluteal muscles, ischiofemoral muscles. 

  • Stand straight, then take one step forward. 
  • The leg that is in front should be bent, and the leg behind should be straight /or the knee can be placed on the floor.  
  • While taking a step, start lowering your hips. 
  • Put your hands on the bent leg in front/ or on your hips. 

4.Step with a kick 

Stretching: ischiofemoral muscles, gastrocnemius muscle.

  • Stand upright. 
  • Then extend your straight arms forward. 
  • Take a step, and raise your leg high enough to touch the toes of your straightened hand with your toes. 
  • With your right foot touch your left hand / With your left foot touch your right hand. 

5.SKIP C 

Stretching: quadriceps of the thigh. 

This is a simple exercise where, while running slowly, you bend your legs so that your heels touch your buttocks. It is very possible that you have done such an exercise during your warm-up at school in P.E. class. 

6.Stretching the chest 

Stretching: pectoralis major muscle

  • Stand straight. Legs straight, shoulder-width apart. 
  • Place your hands at the back of your head. 
  • Your elbows should be pointing forward. 
  • Gradually move your elbows away from each other until they are shoulder-width apart.
  • Stay in this position for 2-3 seconds and return to the initial position. 

This exercise will also be recommended for people who work at a computer or just sit at a desk for a long time. 

7.Swing your leg to the side 

  • Stand straight with your hands placed on your hips. 
  • Then sway your left or right leg. 
  • When lowering your leg back, don’t put it on the ground, but lead it a little more to the side, so that it crosses with your left leg. From there also start another swing to the side.

8.Forward bend to the opposite leg 

Stretching: the muscles of the back of the thigh, the widest back muscle. 

  • Spread your legs – wider than the width of your shoulders. 
  • Raise your arms straight out to the sides. 
  • Make a bend so that your left-hand touches your right foot. While doing so, remember to keep both arms straight at all times during this exercise. The same goes for your legs. 
  • After touching the opposite foot with your hand, return to the initial position and repeat the exercise for the other side (right hand, left foot). 

9.Steps with raised hands 

Stretching: abdominal muscles, chest, gluteal muscle, quadriceps of the thigh, biceps of the thigh. 

  • When taking a step, lift your arms up. 
  • Then tilt your torso back slightly – this will make the exercise more effective.

Stretching exercises for runners after running

Are you already after training? You should also do some stretching exercises. In this case, however, you will be doing static stretching. Thanks to an earlier point in this article, you already know what it is. 

You are probably wondering, why is it good to do stretching after training. “After all, I’m warmed up, stretched, and relaxed.

Here are some reasons: 

  • with static exercises, you can calm down after a workout. 
  • your body is warmed up after a workout, it’s worth cooling down – that’s what static stretching exercises for runners will do. 
  • your muscles will be more flexible. 
  • you will relax contracted muscles, so they will lengthen and return to their normal position. 
  • the biggest advantage, however, is that you will prevent soreness, which often accompanies everyone who does sports. 

What do you need to keep in mind during static stretching after running?

  • Do the exercises slowly and carefully. 
  • Don’t do anything forcefully so as not to magnify any micro-injuries you may have. 
  • While doing the exercise, wait for the muscles to relax for 20 seconds, and then deepen the position. 
  • Do 2-4 repetitions of a given exercise. 
  • One repetition of the exercise can take up to 2 minutes. 

Stretching for runners – exercises after running  

1.Torso twists 

  • Stand in a slight stride. 
  • Bend your arms at the elbow and lift them in front of you. 
  • Twist your body to the left and then to the right. 

2.Stretching at an elevation 

Stretching: hip-lumbar muscle.

  • Find some elevation – a stool, stairs.
  • Put one foot on the elevation and leave the other foot on the floor in line with the hip. 
  • The weight of the body is to be held by the back leg. Move your body forward so that your torso is perpendicular to the floor.

3.Hug yourself!  

Stretch: the parallelogram muscle at the shoulder blades. 

May you laugh at the name, but really this exercise looks like you are hugging yourself. After all, you need to give yourself some love too (Love Yourself 🙂 ). This exercise is very simple to do.

  • Stand up straight. 
  • Cross your arms over your chest. 
  • Tighten your grip so that your fingers touch the middle of your shoulder blades. 

4.Drawing the legs to the chest 

Stretching: hip muscles, gluteal muscles. 

  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Bend one leg at the knee and, using your hands, draw it to your chest. 
  • Hold for a few seconds. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise for the other leg. 

5.Exercise for the Achilles tendon 

Stretching: Achilles tendon, your head muscle. 

Runners often complain of injury related to the Achilles tendon, so in order to protect against this in some way it is worth introducing this exercise into post-workout stretching.

  • Stand in front of a wall at a distance of 2 steps. 
  • Extend one leg forward. 
  • Make a slump toward the wall, so that you are leaning against it with your palms. 
  • Bend the leg in front of the knee, and leave the back leg straight.

Now you know what type of stretching for runners you should do. There are a lot more exercises that can help you during training, but in this article, I showed you easy poses that everyone can do. If after reading this article you still do not see a point in this kind of exercise check out the article “Why is it important to stretch for runners?”. 

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