Dynamic Stretching for Runners

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Dynamic Stretching for Runners

Dynamic Stretching for runners Vs. Passive stretching

If you are preparing for a race, before your warm-up we recommend a pre-race dynamic stretching-for- runners routine. This is not a warmup on its own, but it will prepare you for your warmup and ultimately your race. While passive stretching is a great cool down due to its longer holds and focus on relaxing, dynamic stretching helps prepare your muscles for movement. Dynamic stretching involves making movements with your body that stretch the muscles to their full length or range of motion. Most stretches can be turned into dynamic stretches. This worksheet shows a brief outline of a good dynamic pre-race stretching routine to be used before your warmup or shake out. There is no set number of times a dynamic stretch should be done. Simply repeat the routine until the area is warm and feels good.

Walking quad stretch

Walking quad dynamic stretching for runners
Walking quad stretch

Walking quad stretches are a great traditional runners stretch and mobility warm-up. Start by standing and reaching for your foot behind your back (this can be done with the same side hand or opposite hand) Raise the opposite hand above your head. Hold for a breath then release and step forward and repeat on the other side. You should be able to ‘walk’ and stretch in a nice rhythm.

See a video of the walking quad stretch

Lunge with side stretch and cross-body stretch

This stretch encompasses multiple versions and modifications. In the simplest version, you can try a rocking lunge to stretch your quads and side body. Start by taking a lunge posture as shown in the first image. Raise the arm of the leg extended behind you, over your head, and rock forward. To reach more into the psoas and deeper belly muscles, tilt the raised arm across the body until you feel a stretch and pulse, as shown in the second picture.

More flexible people can try this same stretch as a cross-body lunge as shown in the third image. To make this stretch dynamic, open the arm wide to the side and drop it back down to the mat. Alternatively, you can make this stretch dynamic by turning the lunge into a march, where you alternate the sides of the lunge. This is a great progression dynamic stretching for runners.

Inner thigh/adductor stretching

Adductor stretch

Start by standing with your legs spread apart as if you are doing a jumping jack. Bend forward at the waist and drop your opposite hand to the opposite leg as shown while leaning into the stretch in the inner thigh. Alternate left and right sides until the area is warm and free of discomfort. This should be done in a nice steady rhythm with a pause between movements.

See a video of the dynamic adductor stretch

Walking out the calves

waking out the calves stretch for runners
Down dog calf stretch while walking out the feet

The beginning posture/stretch in this photo is called the downward dog. In general, this posture will passively stretch your calves just by holding the posture. To make this stretch dynamic walk back and forth by picking one foot up and letting the other foot sink deep into a heel stretch, then switch to the other side. This is called walking out the dog or peddling the feet.

In Conclusion about dynamic stretching for runners

Many people/runners operate under the assumption that stretching is a tedious stationary activity but dynamic stretching for runners can be a great addition to a warmup. Many forms of stretching are actually dynamic and can prepare you for a better run. Most passive stretches can be turned into dynamic ones with a few simple tweaks. Building in some dynamic stretching time pre-run can help you improve your body awareness and thereby prevent injury as well as mentally prepare you for the task at hand. If you do not like stretching yourself, you can always book a runner’s massage and stretch with us and we will do it for you 😍.