Weekly tip #4 - Stretching

Stretching has been hotly debated in recent years. When it comes to staying injury-free, functional range of motion is more important than flexibility.

Before your workout, your time is better spent warming up with dynamic stretching. These moves, which include butt kicks and walking with high knees, improve range of motion and loosen up muscles that you’re going to use on the road. They also increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow so you feel warmed up sooner and run more efficiently.

After a run, if you have an area that still feels tight—the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, IT bands, and quads tend to be tight after running—a little stretching may be in order.

Here are some excellent static stretches for after your run!

1. Gastrocnemius (upper calf) stretch

Keep the back leg straight and push the back heel into the ground. Keeping a straight upper body and gently lifting up your hips helps. There shouldn’t be much pressure on the front foot. 
 

2. Soleus (lower calf) stretch

Stand closer to the wall and bend one leg, keeping the foot flat on the floor. You should feel a stretch in your lower calf. Leaning towards the wall intensifies the stretch; there should be little pressure on the other foot.
 

3. Iliotibial band stretch

Place one foot around the other, with both feet flat on the ground. Keeping both legs straight, lean your hips towards the side of your rearmost foot (so, if your right foot is rearmost, lean your hips to the right). You should feel the stretch down the outside of your leg and around your hip – if you are very stiff, it may take a few times before you feel anything.
 

4. Hip flexor stretch

Keep your hips squared forwards and your upper body vertical; slumping forwards reduces the stretch.
 

5. Standing quadriceps stretch

Flex your foot and keep your body straight to maximise the stretch through the front of your leg. You can put one hand on a wall if you need balance.
 

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