Running is good for health, but a long run can increase pressure and injury. It is advised that runners should perform appropriate stretches before and after running to warm up (relax) all the muscle groups.
Stretching also helps promote blood circulation, bring more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, enhance recovery, and reduce pain.
Here are all the good stretches to do before running:
Lower Back Stretches
The lower back is an important muscle group that connects the upper body to the lower body plus it supports the spine.
Double Knee To Chest
To stretch your lower back before running, lie on your back, pull both of your knees as close as possible to your chest, hands placed on the back of your thighs or on your knees, and hold for 20 seconds until you feel a stretch. Repeat three times.
Single Knee To Chest
Lie on your back. Pull one of your knees as close as possible to your chest, hands placed on the back of your thigh or on your knee, and hold for 20 seconds. Switch to the other side.
Repeat three times.
Running on hard terrain (such as sidewalks) might put pressure on your spine, leading to soreness. To strengthen and stretch this body part, you should do the following steps:
Lie on your back with both arms kept straight at shoulder level on the floor.
While remaining the left leg straight, bend the right one until your right feet touch the left knee. Twist your hips to the left so that the right leg sits above the left leg. Try to press the right knee to touch the floor if possible.
Meanwhile, your eyes look to the right. Hold for 10-20 seconds and return to the starting position.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Do three reps.
Groin Muscle Stretches
The groin muscles are located in the hip area, between the stomach and thighs and they are prone to be injured. If you don’t stretch the muscle before a run, especially a long run, chances are that you might suffer groin tightness.
Here are three popular groin muscle stretches:
Squatting To Stretch
Stand comfortably with your knees a bit wider than your shoulders and your toes pointing outwards slightly.
Lean your upper body a bit while keeping your back straight, slowly bend both legs until they create a 90-degree angle and your knees above your toes. At the same time, place your hands on both knees and gently push outward.
Hold for 30 seconds, then back to the starting position. Do three reps.
Stretching while standing
Stand with your legs a bit wider apart than your shoulders.
As you’re going to keep this stance for several minutes, adjust the pace to get the best comfort. Now, bend your right knee until it is angled over your right foot while your right leg is straight and still. Hold for 30 seconds, then back to the starting position.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Do three reps.
Tricks: If you find it’s hard to keep balance when bending your knee, try reaching your arms out in front of you.
Glutes have an important role in your physical development and strength, which directly affects the abilities to run, jump, accelerate, decelerate, or keep balance.
The muscle also helps maintain correct posture when moving to hence reduce pressure on the lumbar region and create stability for the whole lower body.
According to experts, strengthening and stretching the glutes significantly help improve your running performance.
Lie on your back. Bend your left knee and face it to the floor while raising your right leg and cross it over the left knee.
Next, pull your left leg toward your chest, hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side. Do three reps per side.
Pelvic Muscle Stretches
This muscle group is located in front of the spine - connecting the lower back to the thighs, and plays an important role in walking, running, kicking, and so on.
To be more flexible in running steps, you should stretch it properly.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while your hands clasped at the chest in front of you.
Step your left foot diagonally backward while lowering your hips toward the ground and bending both knees until they create a 90-degree angle. Remember to keep your back, chest, and shoulders straight.
Hold for 30 seconds, then back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Do three reps on each side.
Iliotibial Band Stretches
The iliotibial band refers to a long piece of connective tissue on the outside of the thigh. It extends from the hip to the outside of the knee and connects the pelvis to the tibia.
Vigorous movement in this muscle area can cause injury, therefore, performing appropriate stretches before running is important.
Stand near a wall with your right leg crossed over your left leg. Keep balance, then extend the left arm over your head, facing forward, and reach the right side. Hold for at least 30 seconds and do three reps on each side.
Posterior Thigh Muscle Stretches
This muscle group begins at the glutes behind the hip bones and ends at the knees. Stretching posterior thigh muscles is quite simple.
Sit on the ground, then spread your left leg to the side while moving your right foot toward your left inner thigh. Lean your upper body to the left until your left hand touches your left toes. At a time, keep your back and waist straight.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Anterior Thigh Muscle Stretches
Here are the anterior thigh muscle group:
To stretch it, stand straight, then use your left hand to pull your left leg back. Next, keep your pelvis in place, bend the shin towards the thigh, and at the same time bring the knee down to protect this joint.
Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Do three reps per side.
You should distinguish between stretching and pain. Normally, you will be comfortable in 30 seconds of stretching. If you feel pain, stop immediately.
That’s all for this article on “What are good stretches to do before running”. Hope that it has helped you in the next run. Thanks for reading!