After a run, usually all you want is a little lower body R&R (especially if you went for a long one). That typically means a few minutes of walking followed by a few minutes of stretching. To give your hard-working muscles the TLC they need, we turned to Jennifer Giamo, Aaptiv trainer and founder of Trainers in Transit. She shares seven must-do post-run stretches that’ll target the muscles you use most on the road.
“These stretches are great for runners because they target all muscles of the lower body that you pound on when you run,” she says. “They help to improve mobility and range of motion. They can aid in recovery and help to prevent common running injuries. And taking the time to do these stretches—holding each one for at least 30 seconds—can also improve running performance.”
So, dedicate some time to a solid cool-down after clocking mileage with these seven soothing post-run stretches.
Aaptiv has hundreds of classes dedicated to stretching, check them out today!
Top Seven Post-Run Stretches
Standing Quad Stretch
Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Grab one foot (or your ankle or calf) behind you and pull your heel toward your glute. Hold for ten seconds and switch sides.
Place your hands against a wall and lean slightly into the surface. It’s OK if your arms bend slightly. Step your right foot back behind you about a foot and press your heel to the floor. Try to keep both legs straight. Hold for ten and then switch sides.
Figure-Four Standing Stretch
Rest your right hand on a wall at your side and cross your right foot over your left knee (just above the knee). Slightly bend your left leg and push your hips down and back. Continue bending your left knee toward the floor to get deeper into the stretch and target the glutes, outer hip, and the hamstrings of the standing leg.
Lying Straight-Leg Stretch
Lie flat on your back and extend both legs straight out. Lift one foot toward the ceiling, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Grab that leg by the thigh, calf, or ankle (depending on your flexibility) and pull it toward you for a hamstring stretch. If you need, use a towel or strap around the ball of the foot for an assisted stretch.
Lying on your back, bend both knees in toward your chest and grab them with both hands like you’re giving them a hug. Pulling both knees into your chest, rotate your legs in circles. You can keep your hands on your knees or arms hugging your legs. This stretches the lower back and hamstrings.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Lie down on your back and extend both legs straight out. Hug one knee into your chest, keeping the opposite leg straight on the floor. Hold for ten and then switch sides. This will loosen up your hip flexors, glutes, and lower back.
Start by standing and step one foot out wide so that your feet are wider than hip-distance apart. Bend both knees and shift your weight from side to side. You should feel a stretch down your inner thigh, in your quads, and in your glutes.