9 Essential Post-Run Stretches

9 Essential Post-Run Stretches

Young female runner stretching in rural park
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Post-run is a great time to stretch because your muscles will be warmed up. These stretches target particular areas that frequently get tight during and after running. Make them part of your post-run routine to help improve your flexibility and performance.

Hamstring Stretch

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This hamstring stretch feels great, and it's easier on your back than the bending-over stretch. Here's what to do:

1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your back straight. Make sure your lower back is on the floor and your hips are level.

2. Bend your left knee and keep,your left leg extend on the floor.

3. Slowly straighten your right knee, grabbing the back of your leg with both hands.

4. Gently pull your right leg towards you while keeping your hips on the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on your left side.

If straightening your leg is too difficult, you can also do this stretch with a bent knee.

More Hamstring Stretches

Quad Stretch

Quadricep Stretch
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Your quadriceps (front thighs) are powerful muscles that work hard when you're running, so it's important that you stretch them. Here's what to do:

1. Stand straight (don't lean forward), lift the foot of your cramping leg up behind you, and grab your foot with your hand on that side.

2. Pull your heel gently toward your butt, feeling a stretch in your quad.

3. Keep your other leg straight and try to keep your knees as close together as possible.

4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Release and repeat. Switch legs and repeat steps on the other leg.

Calf Stretch

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Your calf muscles work hard when you're running, so they'll need a good stretch when you're done. This stretch is essential for preventing shin splints. Here's what to do:

1. Place both hands on a wall with arms extended.

2. Lean against the wall with one leg bent forward and the other leg extended back with your knee straight and foot facing forward.

3. Keep the heel of your rear foot on that floor.

4. Feel the stretch in the calf of that leg, and hold 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Low Lunge Stretch

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This is a great stretch for your hip flexor muscles, which work hard lifting your legs up during running. Here's what to do:

1. Step into a lunge position.

2. Keep your toes pointed forward and your upper torso straight. Your back leg should be straight back behind you.

3. Press down with your hands and extend the hips forward until you feel a stretch from the front of your hip and the top of your thigh (of your back leg).

4. Hold 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.

IT Band Stretch

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A common area of tightness for many runners is the illiotibial band (ITB), a tendonous and fascial band that starts at the hip and goes down to your knee. This standing IT band stretch can help stretch your IT band and reduce your risk of IT band syndrome. Here's how to do it:

1. While in an upright position, cross your right leg behind your left.

2. Lean slightly forwards and to your left side until you feel a stretch on the outside of your right leg.

3. Raise your right hand over your head and extend it to your left side.

4. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with your left leg.

Also see:  How to Foam Roll Your IT Band

Butterfly Stretch

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This groin stretch, known as the butterfly stretch, stretches the inner thighs and groin area.

1. Sit on the ground. Bend your knees and bring the bottom of your feet together, so that your knees are pointed out to the sides.

2. Wrap your hands around your feet and slowly slide your heels toward your body as far as you comfortably can.

3. Lean forward slowly and press your knees down to the ground. You should feel a light stretch in your inner thighs.

4. If the stretch feels too easy, lean forward more, as if to touch your nose to the ground. But be careful not to overdo it.

5. Stay in this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Make sure you don't bounce during the stretch.

6. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat the steps one more time.

Hip and Back Stretch

Hip and Lower Back Stretch
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This stretch is great for your hips and lower back. Here's what to do:

1. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you.

2. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left leg, which should stay straight.

3. Pull your right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder.

4. Hold for 15-30 seconds.

5. Change legs and repeat the sequence.

Arms and Abs Stretch

Arms and Abs Stretch
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This move is perfect for stretching your arms and obliques, or side abdominals. Here's what to do:

1. Stand with your feet hip length apart.

2. Stretch your arms above your head, dropping your shoulders away from your ears.

3. Lean back as far as you can without hurting your back.

4. Straighten up again and lean to the left and then to the right, to stretch your sides.

Triceps Stretch

Triceps Stretch

You use your upper body when you're running, so it's important to stretch your arms when you've finished your run. Here's how to stretch your triceps, the muscles on the back of your upper arm:

1. Bring one of your elbows across your body, towards your opposite shoulder.

2. Use your other hand to bring your elbow closer to your shoulder.

3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

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