Lemme guess… you’re a runner and you’re trying to find out the best stretchers to keep you not only free from injury but also to improve your recovery time and help with soreness?
Well, you’ve made it to the right place because here I am going to outline the best leg stretching exercises for runners.
For some running really is an activity that you just can’t beat. The freedom, the runners high, the physical benefits. For others, it really is a hard one nonetheless, but if you can get yourself in the habit of running 15, 20, or even 30 minutes a day, you will be doing yourself a world of difference. Not only will you look and feel more agile, but you’ll have more pop in your step.
That being said, people have varying opinions when it comes to what constitutes a warm-up. Some might focus solely on stretching their muscles before a workout, whereas some runners will just simply jog at a slow pace to get the blood pumping and their heart rate going.
Take Advantage of Dynamic Leg Stretching
Dynamic stretching is a stretching movement that uses the muscles to bring about a stretch that allows the joints and muscles to go through a full range of motion. These types of stretches are specifically targeted to prep the muscles that you are going to use during a given workout.
However, you have to keep in mind that some individuals might have to tweak their routines because different muscles are used for trail running or running up-hill. Heck, the time of day that you choose to run can even impact your warm-up routine. Whatever the situation is, you can make sure that you are ready for your next big run with one or a combination of these seven dynamic stretches.
Top Leg Stretching Exercises for Runners
When it comes to prepping the lower body, you will probably not find a more effective warm-up than the leg swing. This routine is perfect for prepping your body for all kinds of movement. Another reason that this is such an effective warm-up stretch is that it literally targets every leg muscle. To perform this routine all you need to do is place your hand on a solid structure and lift the opposite leg. Once lifted, swing the leg back and forth like you are kicking a soccer ball.
Inner Thigh / Adductors Stretch – My Favorite Leg Stretching Exercise
Most runners will undoubtedly experience inner thigh soreness and tightness if they are constantly running without stretching these muscles. the good news is that stretching these muscles can significantly help with soreness and tightness.
Stretching the inner leg muscles is best done with a leg stretcher because these machines allow you to track your progress and get a deeper stretch. Not to worry though as getting an inner leg stretch can also be done without a machine by sitting down, sticking your legs out straight, and spreading your legs as wide as you can. You will feel the inner leg muscles start to stretch.
Runners are going to run into hamstring problems at some point. This can create major problems including low back issues and pulled muscles. Suffice to say, you’ll want to avoid this problem by stretching your hamstrings before going for a run. The hamstring stretch is a must for this purpose. This stretch will ensure that your spine remains in a natural position. This means that you won’t have to worry about hurting your back.
You can perform the stretch on the ground or standing up. To do this exercise, you can be standing or sitting but works best if you are sitting. Just make sure your legs are out straight and bend your torso as far down to the ground as you can. You can wrap your hands around your legs and pull if you need to, in order to help with assisted further stretching.
Stretching the hamstrings is pertinent since failing to do so will limit your mobility and speed.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’re focusing on your quadriceps. When you stretch your quadriceps, you’ll make your hamstrings contract. This will make them strong so you can run quicker and easier. One of the best stretches for runners is the standing quad stretch. This one will provide you with the best results. Stand up straight while holding onto the wall. You need to grab your left foot with your left hand. Hold the position for as long as possible before letting go and repeating with the opposite leg.
It is wise to focus on the piriformis too. This muscle is very important for rotating your hips. When you’re running, there is a risk that this muscle is going to tighten and that will make it difficult for you to run. With that being said, you’ll want to experiment with piriformis stretches. This will ensure that this muscle doesn’t become tight and it will reduce the likelihood that you’re going to experience spasms.
Thankfully, performing this exercise isn’t tough. You’ll want to start on your back with your legs extended. Remember that your hips and back need to remain level with the ground.
Take your right knee and bring it towards you. Grab it with your left hand and move tour right hand off to the side. Your left hand should guide the right knee over your body. Hold this positive for 10 to 30 seconds before repeating with the other leg.
The Hip Flexor Stretch
This one is excellent for engaging the hip flexors, glutes, calves and shin muscles. Targeting these muscles for trail and uphill running will really give you the power you need to dig in and push forward. Luckily this is an easy one, as all you need to do is stand with your feet together. You will then extend one leg straight out in front of you while keeping your toes on that leg pointed straight out. Keep your leg extended in this position for several seconds before switching to the other leg and repeating the same process.
Sitting Toe Touch
The toe touch is a simple stretching exercise. However, it has some very big benefits. There are multiple ways to perform the toe touch properly. The basic method is to stand up straight, bend at the hips, and touch the tips of toes with both hands.
If you are looking for a more involved toe touch stretching exercise, you should consider the toe touch jump, which involves jumping while keeping your arms and feet bend in a certain pose. If you opt to perform the toe touch jump, you need to do it in a manner that protects your entire body from potential injuries. When you jump up, you need to land on the balls of your toes.
Standing Toe Touch
The Standing Toe Touch is another stretching exercise that warms up the leg and arm muscles. To perform the foot grab, you need to start by finding a stable surface to hold onto. You can utilize a wall or other stable structure for that purpose. To begin, you need to place your right hand on the wall while reaching for your opposite leg. Grab your shin to pull your leg back while bending your knee. The goal is for the heel to make contact with your butt.