There is a lot of information out there regarding stretching for runners so here are a few key facts to help you with your running-stretch-strategies
Firstly, research suggests that static stretching prior to exercise can reduce power output and is no longer being promoted for use prior to our runs.
However, static stretches are still recommended for after a run to aid recovery and reduce DOMS (delayed-onset-of-muscle-soreness).
It is still important to warm up the joints and cardiovascular system before a run, and a brisk walk/light-slow jog, some dynamic stretches and joint mobility exercises are a great start as part of your warm-up.
As for after your run – here are four stretches to target the key running muscles groups. Hold each stretch for a count of 40 seconds and repeat twice on each leg.
1. Quadriceps stretch
Take your right foot in your right hand behind you. Keep your knees together and tail tucked under. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.
2. Hamstring stretch
Place your right foot up onto a step and slightly bend your right knee. Tip your tail bone out and bend forwards, maintaining a straight back posture. Feel the stretch in the back of your thigh only.
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3. Calf stretch
Lean against a wall with your right leg bent in front of you and your left extending back behind you. Ensure your feet are facing forwards, your left knee is straight and that your left heel is down. Feel the stretch in your left calf.
4. Gluteal (buttock) stretch
Lying on your back take your right knee into your chest and across your body towards your left shoulder. Add a little rotation by drawing the left ankle in towards you. Feel in the buttock only. Cease if you feel this in your groin/front of hip and seek guidance from your physio for an alternative stretch.
With your static stretches hold a light stretch and gradually increase the intensity within comfortable limits. If you are overzealous with your stretches your body can tighten up in response to protect itself - so 'slow and steady wins the race' in this case folks!
This article first appeared on Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions.
Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions is a group of leading Physiotherapy clinics, based in the Sydney CBD and Chatswood.
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