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What stretches should I do before running?
December 3, 2020
Starting running with stiff muscles is not a good idea. But warming up by itself is not enough if stretching exercises are not integrated. At runningDue to its characteristics, stretching before running improves performance and helps prevent injuries.
However, the stretching exercises that should be done before running are not the same that should be done after running. As part of the warm-up, dynamic stretching should be performed, especially the lower body.
Stretching exercises before running
The best way to stretch to improve range of motion and prevent injury during workouts is to perform dynamic stretches. In fact, according to the latest research, static does not reduce the risk of damage.
Spending 10-15 minutes warming up before running with dynamic stretching improves range of motion and relaxes muscles, while increasing heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow.
Alternate Quadriceps and Piriform Stretch Walk
The Alternate Quadriceps and Piriformis Stretch Walk is a dynamic stretch that targets the quadriceps, glutes, and piriformis muscle, while activating all of the lower body muscles.
To start stand up and bring your left foot to the gluteus, keeping the knee aligned with the hip. Grab the ankle. But be careful with this: if you bring your knee out, you will not stretch the anterior muscles correctly.
Then step forward with that foot. Raise the opposite foot: the right. Place your ankle at hip level, bringing your knee out. Lower your foot to step back and repeat. After several repetitions change sides, bringing the right foot to the gluteus and, after taking the step, the left to the hip.
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Dynamic hip opening
The dynamic hip opening is a stretch that focuses on the deep external rotators of the hip. To do it, stand up. Bend one knee and raise it towards the chest, holding it with the hand.
Then bring your knee out, about 90 degrees. Use your hand to stabilize and guide the movement. Return with the knee towards the chest and support. You can repeat several times with the same leg or perform the exercise alternately.
Toe tap (Frankenstein's walk)
The toe touch exercise, also known as frankenstein walk, it's a great warm-up exercise before running. Increases muscular endurance and good for stretching the hamstrings and calf muscles. It also activates the hip flexors and quadriceps.
Stand with your arms extended in front (zombie pose). Take a step by extending one leg straight in front of you, raising it as high as you can or as far as your flexibility allows. Touch the top of the foot with the opposite hand. Finish the step and continue with the other leg.
It is important to maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise, activating the abs and lifting the leg as much as possible.
The worm exercise is a dynamic warm-up that focuses on the entire core and hamstrings. It is quite intense, raising body temperature and heart rate.
Begin in a standing position. Bend forward from the hips and rest your hands toward the floor. Slowly walk forward with your hands to an upright plank position, keeping your arms and legs in a straight position. Slightly tilt your pelvis and squeeze your glutes to further engage your core muscles.
From this position walk your hands toward your feet, legs stretched out as far as possible for a greater stretch on your hamstrings. Return to the standing position and repeat.
Finally, we will include an upper body exercise to dynamically stretch and warm up the pecs, delts, and upper back at the same time. To do the arm circles, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. After Raise your arms out in a cross, palms down.
From this position, circle forward and then back. The important thing here is not to go fast, but to feel the opening of your back and chest with the movement.
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Stretching tips for after running
Once the training is finished, it is important to perform a cool down phase with the aim of gradually recovering the resting pulsations and the elasticity of the muscles.
After running the muscles are warm. Now is a good time to do static stretching. However, stopping suddenly and starting to stretch can cause problems, such as loss of balance.
On the other hand, to do the stretches after running and to be effective, it must be taken into account that they cannot be done in a hurry. You need to hold the static stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Otherwise, it will have little effect.
Combine running with other activities
It is necessary to take into account that stretching after running does not improve flexibility. Its objective is to recover the elasticity of the muscles. Otherwise the muscles would shorten, which would lead to problems with reduced range of motion, contracture or even muscle imbalance.
To improve flexibility it is necessary to do a separate work, such as yoga or Pilates. These types of exercises are very useful to improve specific aspects of training that cannot be achieved during the race or with strength training.
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