Top 3 Stretches for Runners

Weekend warrior or competitive athlete, your ability to run pain-free consistently is key to your success. Feeling ‘tight’ is not only uncomfortable, but a performance limiting factor. Flexible muscles can work freely for you without issue. With inflexible muscles, things can go wrong. Your form will breakdown and joints will suffer.

To improve your flexibility you must S  T  R  E  T  C  H. The greatest gains in flexibility are available AFTER running, when muscles are warm and rich with blood.

The secret is time. Holding a short stretch has minimal benefit. Holding a long (30-60 secs) stretch fits the bill. Muscles must be allowed time to lengthen. So which muscles should you stretch?

Here are our top 3 for runners:


1)  Calf/Soleus Stretch

Stand against a wall/post with one foot in front of the other. Keep toes facing forward. Bend your front knee towards the wall/post while keeping your heel on the ground. This targets the lower region of your calf on your front leg, around the achilles tendon area and just above.

Hold for minimum 30 secs each leg.


2)  TRUE Hip Flexor Stretch


Start in a half kneel with the shin of your front leg vertical, and the thigh of your back leg also vertical. Stay tall through your upper body and keep your head up. Actively engage your abdominals by breathing in tightly and puffing your chest out. Consciously contract the glutes of your back leg which slightly tilts your pelvis and pushes your hips forward slightly. Do not lean forward into the stretch, a discrete movement is key here. The stretch should be across the front of the hip on your back leg.

Hold for minimum 30 secs each leg.


3)  Piriformis Stretch


Lie flat on your back and slide both feet up towards your backside. Lift your left foot up and place it on top of your right knee. Wrap both hands around the back of your right thigh and gently pull towards your chest, while remaining flat on your back. Apply moderate pressure with the pull without causing pain at the left knee. You will feel this deep in your left hip.

Hold for minimum 30 secs then switch legs.

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At Pyramid Performance & Health we have extensive experience working with runners and triathletes on injury prevention, rehabilitation and performance optimisation. Our biomechanical gait analysis service and strength training programmes are second to none.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you and your running.

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