Posted on: 12 February 2015
Forget about what your elementary school gym teacher taught you about touching your toes and doing v-sit stretches before working out. As it turns out, research has shown that static stretches like these, when performed before a workout, can actually inhibit the muscle's ability to fire. A far better pre-run stretching routine relies on dynamic stretches, which involve taking the muscle through repetitive motions to loosen it up. This warms the muscle and helps prevent injury.
You don't have to spend 30 minutes or even 20 minutes stretching before your runs to see the benefits. Just perform this simple, 5-minute dynamic stretching routine, and you'll start your runs feeling looser and more limber. You'll also reduce your risk of injury because you won't be starting your run on tight legs.
Move #1: Butt Kicks
This move not only loosens your muscles, but also gets your heart pumping. Stand straight and tall, and then run in place, bending your legs fully at the knees so that your heels actually come into contact with your backside. Start off slow, and then increase your pace. Do 30 seconds of butt kicks, and then proceed to the next move.
Move #2: Walking Lunges
You'll need a little space for these, so hopefully you're preparing for your run either outside or in a big room. Step forward at least 3 feet, and then sink your weight down so that your front leg is bent to 90 degrees, and your back knee is nearly touching the ground. Stand up slowly, and then step forward on the opposite foot, repeating the move. Do 5 lunge steps on each leg, then move on to move #3:
Move #3: Kick-Outs
Jog in place, raising your knees towards your chest with every stride. As your knees rise, focus on turning your lower legs slightly towards the outside at the knee. This helps stretch out the knees, so you're less likely to suffer an injury if you make a wrong step while running. Do 30 seconds of kick-outs, and ten take a brief pause before repeating all three movements a second time.
One great thing about these stretches is that you can perform them as slowly or quickly as you like. The first time you go through the moves, focus on performing them at a steady pace and with good form. The second time through, really pick up the pace and focus on getting your heart pumping. You'll find yourself feeling relaxed, energized and ready to run. For more information on physical therapy, click here.Share