10 Essential Stretches for Runners

There’s no doubt that running is amazing for you! It burns calories, builds muscles, improves heart health, and even fights depression.
Running can also leave you tight in all the wrong places. When you run, especially when you run long distances, you make your muscles repeat the same movement over and over again. This makes them tighten and lose flexibility. While runners tend to have great endurance, they’re not always the best at touching their toes.
If you enjoy a good run, check out these 10 essential stretches for runners. Make sure to perform these stretches after every run to keep your muscles from losing flexibility. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds before releasing.

1. Hamstring Stretch
Lay down on the floor. Bring one leg up at a perpendicular angle without bending the knee. With your hands, bring your leg closer until you feel a stretch along the back of your thigh.

2. Quadricep Stretch
While standing, raise one leg and bend it back. Grab your foot and slowly bring it closer to your butt. You should feel a stretch around the front of your thigh. Repeat with your other leg.

3. Quadricep & Hip Stretch
From plank position, bring your right foot in between your hands. Lower your left knee so it rests on the ground. With one hand, reach over and grab your left foot, bringing it gently toward your torso. You should feel a stretch along the front of your thigh.

4. Piriformis & Glute Stretch
Lay down on the floor. Draw your right knee close to your torso, leaving the left leg extended. To deepen the stretch, bend your left knee and cross your right ankle over your left knee, forming a figure four. Hook your hands behind your left knee and gently pull it toward your torso.

5. Calf Stretch
Stand more than arm’s length away from a wall. Step forward with your right foot and place your hands against the wall. Bring the heel of your left foot toward the ground. You should feel a stretch along the calf of your left leg.

6. Spinal Alignment
Sit on the floor and cross your left leg over your right. Push gently on your raised left knee as you twist your torso to the left, looking over your shoulder. You should feel an alignment along your back.

7. Back Stretch
Start on your hand and knees. You’ll be doing cow and cat pose for this stretch. Starting with cat, arch your back toward the floor while bringing your head back. For cow pose, curve your back up, away from the floor, while bringing your head down.

8. The Rag Doll Stretch
Stand with your feet together. Keeping your legs straight, bend at the hips and bring your hands toward the ground. Let your arms and head hang limp and let gravity do the stretching for you.

9. Shoulder Opener
While sitting, bring one hand over your shoulder and toward the middle of your back. Bring the other hand under your shoulders and latch your fingers together. This should open your shoulders and chest.

10. Groin Stretch
Sit down with your knees bent. Touch the soles of your feet together. Slowly lower your knees out, pushing gently, until you feel a stretch.
Have some more runners’ stretchers to share with the SkinnyMs. community? Let us know! Leave a comment below.