Everyone knows you should do some stretching after a run, just like everyone knows you should eat five servings of fruit and veg a day. But knowing something and doing it are very different things. Most people just want to take off their trainers and hit the shower as soon as they finish a run.
However, spending five minutes stretching after your training will help your muscles recover and prepare them for your next workout. To help you do the right thing after your next run, we enlisted Richard Tidmarsh, strength and conditioning coach and founder of Reach Fitness, for five great post-run stretches.
From a press-up position, bring your right leg up and place it so your knee is by your right wrist and your right foot is by your left wrist, with your shin parallel to your chest. From this position sit down into the stretch, initially keeping your chest up and making sure your hips are square with your shoulders. Then slowly drop your chest forwards and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. You will feel a deep stretch in your right glute and lower back. Breathe, stretch and enjoy. Then repeat on the other side.
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This is a great move to open your hips and stretch your quads after a run. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight. Then bend your right leg and place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh. Then bend your left leg out to the left. Then place your right elbow on the floor behind you (if you can) and feel the stretch in your right hip and left quad. To increase the stretch, place your elbow further away from you. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
From a lunge position with your left knee on the floor and right leg out in front, place your left hand on the floor level with your right foot and then reach behind you with your right arm and take hold of your left foot or shin, pulling your foot up. Feel the deep stretch through your left hip flexor and quad. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
The scorpion is a great way to stretch a long chain of muscles all the way from your quad to your upper back. Lie on your front with arms spread to create a T shape. Lift your left leg and move it over your right in a wide arc, aiming to land your left foot as close to your right hand as possible. Do two or three reps to create distance, then hold at your maximum range for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
This is a simple and effective way to stretch your entire posterior chain, lengthening your back and hamstrings. Stand on a small step, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tuck your chin into your chest and slowly “roll” your spine forwards to your full extension, with your arms hanging in front of you. Keeping your chin tucked, take six deep breaths, trying to increase the depth of the stretch on the exhale.
Training on Demand is a series of video workouts devised by Richard Tidmarsh. For more info visit r4reach.com