Dave's "High-5" Stretching Routine

for Runners

 

Dave Chandler

Stretching is a necessary part any running and fitness routine. Not only does it warm up the muscles to help prevent workout related injuries, it also increases flexibility. When I’m about to go on my semi-daily jog, I do dynamic stretches for five minutes beforehand, and static stretches for seven to eight minutes after. A dynamic stretch is ‘in-motion’ stretching, and it loosens up the muscles before running. Static stretching is just as it sounds: non-movement stretching. This type of post-workout stretch is just as important as the pre-workout stretch because it lowers the heart rate and prevents muscle soreness.

 

This stretching plan works very well — stay loose and limber with this simple routine.

 

—Before your run—

 

These two dynamic stretches loosen up your inner and outer thighs; your calves, hips, hamstrings, inner thighs and quadriceps.

 

1. Leg swings: Hold onto to something sturdy like a heavy chair or other furniture, and stand on your left leg and swing the right leg back and forth. Do this 20 times. Next, swing the same leg from side to side like a pendulum for 20 times. Each swing should build until your leg is close to its full range of motion. After a total of 40 swings with the right leg, do this same 20/20 swings with your left leg.

 

2. Walking lunges: Take a large step forward with your right leg, and bend your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor, and your knee is aligned with your ankle. Push upward, and draw your left foot even with your right and step forward with the left. Keep in mind these are walking lunges, and not static lunges. Focus on proper and clean form and be as fluid as possible. Do a total of 20 of these lunges, 10 per leg.

 

—After your run—

 

These post-run, static stretches maintain good range of motion and proper flexibility.

 

3. Kneeling hip and hamstring stretch: From a kneeling position, plant the right foot on the ground in front of you, so the leg is at a 90-degrees angle. Make sure the knee and ankle are aligned with each other. While keeping your back straight, press forward into your right hip while keeping your left knee pressed into the ground, stretching your left hip and right hamstring. Do this for one to two minutes and then proceed with the left leg.

 

4. Standing quad stretch: Stand with your legs together. Bend your right leg, bringing your heel upwards towards your glutes, and grasp your right foot with your right hand. Press your shoe downwards into your hand, so that your leg does the stretching, not the other way around. This should be done for a minimum of one-minute and then do the same with the left leg.

 

5. Wall calf stretch: Stand and face a wall with your hands on the wall directly in front of you. Place the ball of your right foot up against the wall, while your heel is touching the floor. Gradually lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf while keeping your leg straight. Hold this for one minute. Rinse and repeat with the opposite calf.