Stretching is an important part of any fitness regime. Stretching helps to increase the range of motion and improves coordination. Stretching does not take too much of time. It also helps the tired muscles to recover faster. Here are some stretching exercises for women runners:
1. Hamstring Stretch
For runners it is best to stretch this area. Sit with your legs stretched. Touch the toes. Don’t strain too much. Repeat the stretch 2-3 times and each one for 20 min. Hamstring muscles can be seen at the back of the thigh.
Some useful tips for Hamstring Stretch:
- Don’t force the stretch. Stretching too forcefully will increase muscle tension.
- Bend your knees when stretching. This will prevent knee injury and pain.
- The combination of Static + Dynamic stretches is more effective.
2. Rope stretch
Lie on your back and keep the legs out in front of you. Hold the rope in your hands. Keep one leg on the middle of the rope and pull the rope towards you at a 90-degree angle towards you. You must feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat the same with the other leg.
3. Quad Stretch
Quadriceps muscles can be found in the front and sides of your leg. You can stretch the muscles by standing upright and pulling the leg behind with the same hand. A chair can be used for support. Make sure that the knee points downward during this stretch. It is a stretch that you must perform after an uphill run.
Some useful tips for Quad Stretch:
- Put your back straight when stretching.
- Engage abs.
- Inhale and exhale smoothly and continuously.
4. Calf muscle stretch
They are seen at the back of the lower leg and must be stretched after a run. Stand close to wall with your left foot behind the right. Bend your right leg forward with your left leg straight. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Check out this video to learn the calf stretches for both your calf muscles the gastrocnemius and soleus.
5. Upper back stretch
Your upper back needs to be stretched. Back posture is very important for runners. Tension builds on the back muscles of runners. Simply stretch an elastic band to both sides.
6. Iliotibial stretch
Do not bounce while performing this stretching exercise. If you would like to stretch the left leg, place the left leg behind the right and push your hips to the other side until a stretch is felt. Perform the same with other leg and do it for ten seconds. Repeat the same with both legs.
This video shows you two great way to stretch out your Iliotibial Band:
7. Single leg balancing exercises
Try to stand on one leg and play various ball games. It stretches different muscles. Dribble a basketball or bounce a tennis ball onto a wall bearing the weight of the body on one leg. This stretching can be performed for 30 sec and gradually the duration can be increased.
Do the stretching exercises when your joints are warm. Perform the stretches before running. Warmed up muscles and joints are less prone to injury.
Always give your body a good stretch and reduce the risk of aches and pains.