If you’ve been a runner for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of the importance of stretching after a run. Post run stretching will speed up recovery and help your body recover more fully. Even so, despite all the recommendations it can be hard to motivate yourself to stretch after already spending so much time on your run. It’s so easy to ignore stretching until you try it and realize how tight your muscles actually are.
The lower body is of course the most vital region of the body for runners. The most important stretches for runners are ultimately the ones that target the areas we use the most on a run. These stretches for runners are essential to loosening tight muscles and preventing injury. Recovery stretches feel so good after a tough run, and in turn help boost your recovery.
The stretches for runners listed below target the lower body, and hit all the major problem areas for runners. From tight hip flexors to shin splits, IT Band Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis, and tight hamstrings, this stretching routine for runners will ease them all. In less than 10 minutes, you will speed up recovery by completing these stretches after your run.
It’s so easy for runners to ignore these stretches until it’s too late. Do your legs a favor and spend some time recovering and fighting injury before you are forced to. It’s much easier to take 10 minutes after each run to complete these essential stretches for runners, than it is to spend 2 months off your feet. Enjoy the injury reducing benefits each day with these amazing stretches for runners!
The 10 Best Lower Body Stretches for Runners
Seated Hamstring Stretch
This seated stretch is so helpful to loosen tight hamstrings from your run. Sit with your right leg extended in front of you, with your foot flexed. Place the bottom of your left foot against your right thigh, and lead forward any amount. Ideally you should try to grab the bottom of your right foot. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Lying Glute Stretch
Otherwise known as “thread the needle” this stretch targets the gluteal muscles. Lying flat on your back, place your left foot flat on the floor, bending your knee. Place your right foot on your left thigh, flexing the foot to prevent strain on your right knee. Reach through your legs to grab your left leg and pull towards you any amount. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
3. Runner’s Lung Hip Stretch
Begin by kneeling on the floor, and extend your right leg straight behind you. Your left thigh should remain parallel to the floor. Feel free to lean back or arch your back to accentuate the stretch. This targets tight hip flexors, making it an essential stretch for runners to boost recovery. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Related: Amazing Yoga Poses for Runners
Half Split Hamstring Stretch
Begin by kneeling on the floor, and extend your right leg out straight in front of you, with the foot flexed. Your right leg should be at a diagonal, creating a triangle between your legs and the floor. Lean your chest forward and reach towards your right toes. You can accentuate this stretch by leaning your hips backwards. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
A simple twist to this classic stretch for runners. Kneel on the floor directly in front of a couch or wall (your toes should be pointed so they rest on the couch or up the wall). Extend your right leg straight out in front of you. This kneeling version of the standing quad stretch for runners intensifies the stretch in your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Standing Calf Stretch
Standing about a foot away from a way, place both hands on the wall with your arms full extend. Extend your right leg straight behind you, making sure to keep your right foot fully on the floor. Lean forward with your left leg until your feel the stretch in your right calf muscle. Hold for 45 seconds and switch legs.
Standing Achilles Stretch
Maintaining the same position against the wall with your right leg extended behind you, keep your right foot on the floor, but simply drop your right knee slightly. This will transition the stretch from your right calf muscle to the achilles tendon in your heel. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Standing IT Band Stretch
Stand straight up, with both feet directly next to each other. Cross your right foot over your left, and place it directly next to your left foot on the opposite side. Lean forward any amount, ideally until your hands touch the floor on the right side of your feet. Accentuate the stretch by moving your hands in closer to your right foot. This stretch for runners targets the problematic IT Band region. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
9. Standing Shin Stretch
Standing straight up again, cross your right foot over your left. Touch your right toes to the floor with the top of your foot facing down. Bend your knees and lower your body until you feel the stretch in your right shin. This stretch is helpful in preventing shin splits and loosening tight shin muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Toes Pose Feet Stretch
Kneeling on the floor, curl your toes under (including your pinky toe). Sit back on your heels. This stretch is so helpful in preventing plantar fasciitis and keeping the bottoms of your feet loose and flexible. Hold for 30 seconds.
Looking for more recovery options?
Dedicating as little as 10 minutes post run to complete these lower boy stretches for runners will pay off in the long run. These are stretches that every runner should do, and you certainly won’t regret it. Build them into your routine to boost recovery and complete some much needed injury prevention. You will notice a difference after just 10 minutes!