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The 5 best stretching exercises for runners

Preparing your muscles for running is a very important phase which may affect the performance of your training session. Off on a run? Prepare your body with these 5 essential stretches.

If there’s one thing you need to do before hopping onto the treadmill for a run, it’s stretch. We’re not talking about a quick 10 seconds touch-your-toes stretch. We’re talking about devoting a solid 10 minutes to lengthen those muscles ready for exercise. Unsure what to do? Here are five key stretches that will prepare your muscles for the run ahead.

Child’s Pose

This is great before and after a run to stretch out the shoulders and the muscles in your back. It also helps to stretch out the hips, thighs and ankles.

  • Kneel down with your bottom on your feet, toes pointed behind you.
  • Bend forward, keeping your bum on your feet and lower your chest down to the ground.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you, keeping your head facing down.
  • Reach forward as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Hip Flexor Stretch

If your hip flexors are too tight - common in people who sit down a lot - then you might find yourself dealing with pain in the lower back. To avoid this, try the below stretch...

  • From standing, drop down into a lunge, placing your right knee on the ground behind you.
  • Lean your body forward and gently push against your left knee which is at a right angle to the ground.
  • Keep leaning forward until you feel that stretch in your hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the start and swap sides.

Seated Hamstring stretching

Your hamstrings need to be stretched, as tight hamstrings can lead to pain in the lower back, knees and even ankles. This is because the hamstrings, which run up the back of your thighs, are connected to various other muscles such as the glutes (your bottom muscles), calves and also hip flexors.

  • Firstly, sit down on the ground. Keep your right leg out in front of you and bend your left leg, keeping your knee on the ground and placing the left foot against the right thigh.
  • Bend forward, and reach down your right leg. Hold on to your ankle or foot (or shin if you can’t reach down too far), and hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch down the back of your right leg. Then, swap sides.

Downward Dog

A classic yoga pose which not only helps stretch out your back, but also gives your calf muscles a much needed helping hand too!

  • Firstly, get on all fours, with shoulders directly above your wrists and knees below hips.
  • Lift your knees off the ground and push your hips up so your body is in an upside down V position.
  • Keep arms straight with palms flat on the floor and head, back and neck in a straight line.
  • Gently lift heels up and down off the ground one by one to stretch out your calves.bDo this for about 30 seconds to one minute.

To improve your stretching exercises you can try Foam Roller, the Technogym tool that alleviates muscle tension in a gradual and personalised way, improves mobility and boosts circulation, facilitating tissue oxygenation.

Ankle Mobility

You might not think that your ankles need too much attention, but they’re pounding the treadmill too along with your legs and feet. Try this ankle stretch.

  • Stand tall and rise up onto the balls of your feet. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds then lower back down to standing. Repeat 5 to 10 times and if you can, stay up on the balls of your feet for a little longer.

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