The only thing that hinders one from achieving his or her fitness goal is getting injured. An injury is something one should really try to avert whilst on the fitness progress, because running with a torn muscle or hamstring issue can lead to a muscle strain which can keep you off the road for a long time – even much longer. Doing some stretches before starting off your running routine sure won’t hurt as it will help warm your muscles and gear it up for your run no matter how long the distance is. Concentrate on the core muscles that will mostly be utilized – hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and gluteals. Also remember to warm up your abs, calf muscles and back.
1. Static or dynamic stretches
Dynamic stretches comprise of combine movement and the same time, taking your joint over a full variety of motion. Experts say that these stretches are good for pre-run warm ups than Static stretches that you hold for long periods. The dynamic stretch prepares you for the upcoming activity you’re about to embark and offers more advantage than the static stretch.
2. Walking lunges
Walking lunges have a massive impact on your major muscles – quads and hip flexors and also help to put on the motion of running which makes them a useful means of stretching before running.
How to do them: To do this stretch, stand with your feet together and take a long step forward with your right foot. Have your front and back knee bent to 90 degrees until it almost touches the floor. Stay here for a few seconds and work to smooth down the back leg so you feel a stretch through the front of your left thigh. Then, rise up and take a big step forward with your left knee to get the stretch on your left side. Do this for about 10 lunges.
3. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
You will probably need this stretch especially if you have been sitting at the office for the whole day because your hip flexors will be tight causing them to be in a state of flexion.
How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your front knee at 90 degrees. Begin to straighten your back leg so you feel a stretch along the front of your back thigh. Keep your front knee aligned over your toes. Raise your arms up over your head, hold for a few seconds then release. Continue in a dynamic motion, shifting forward as you raise your arms up, and then lowering your arms as you come back to the starting position.
4. Side stretch
You can avert stitches by stretching your torso before running. It is either done standing or as athletic performance. It will also be good if you add side stretch to a kneeling hip flexor stretch.
How to do it: Bring your arms up over your head and, keeping your abdominals tight, lean to the right and then to the left, bending at the waist.
5. Dynamic pigeon pose
The pigeon pose is done to stretch the glutes and the iliotibial or bands that go through the outer thigh.
How to do it: To get into this pose, fold your right knee in front of you on the floor so your knee is pointing out to the right slightly and the outside of your thigh and shin are on the floor. Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your leg straight and the top of your thigh, shin and foot on the ground.
6. Hip circles
When running you will realize that your hips bear a lot of the force. So, it wouldn’t take much just to stretch up the joints and muscles of that area before hitting the open road which can also help avert injury.
How to do them: Stand with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart. Begin to circle your hips in one direction, almost as if you’re hula-hooping. Make the circles wider and wider until you’re working your full range of motion. After about 6 to 10 rotations in one direction, switch directions. To deepen the stretch, for one round pause briefly at the front, back, left and right points in the circle.
7. Round-the-world lunges
Lunge in all directions by warming up and stretching all the major muscle of the legs.
How to do them: Start with your left leg stationary and lunge backward with your right foot, holding the stretch for a moment, then come back to center and lunge forward with your right foot. Follow with a side lunge, lunging out to your right and holding for a moment.
8. Stork stretch
You can use a different type of classic pose for this stretch. Either use a wall to assist you or experiment your balance by doing it without any help.
How to do it: Bend your right knee and grab your right foot or ankle from the outside. Pull your foot in toward your right buttock and hold it there for a count of 10. Repeat 3 to 5 times and switch sides.