5 Post-Run Stretches You Can Do Standing Up
After an exhausting run or race, it’s understandable why we’re tempted to sit or lie down. But getting off your feet too soon could cause muscles and tendons to tighten up, says Chris Ramsey, D.P.T., O.C.S., a physical therapist at Therapeutic Associates. Here’s why you should be doing some post-run stretches…
A better recovery plan is to immediately hydrate and refuel and then perform some post-run stretches to increase elasticity and reduce stiffness, so we worked with Ramsey to create a quick, five-move routine that you can perform standing up, immediately following your run or race.
How to use this list: Each of the post-run stretches below (except Chest Stretch) is demonstrated by Jess Movold, Runner’s World+ run coach. Ramsey recommends doing each in a dynamic manner: Hold for one to two seconds (to the point of slight tension); release momentarily; then stretch again. Do a total of 20 reps.
Stand tall with arms by your side. Lift right leg straight up and reach for toes with left fingers. Repeat with left leg reaching for left toes with right fingers. You should feel a stretch along the backs of legs. Continue to alternate.
Stand facing a wall, tree, or some similar structure for support with left foot forward and both hands flat against a wall, arms fully extended. Keeping both heels on ground, lean forward with left knee tracking over left toes. Make sure both feet are facing forward. Hold for one to two counts, then repeat. After 20 reps, repeat on left leg.
Glute and Piriformis Stretch
From standing, cross your right ankle just above your left knee. Keep a micro-bend in left knee and send hips back to increase the stretch. Hold onto a friend or a tree for balance if necessary. If comfortable, gently push down on your right knee. Repeat on other leg.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lace your fingers together behind your head above your neck. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while trying to extend your elbows out to the sides and slightly back to open your chest. Release, then repeat.
While standing, shift weight to right leg, bring your left heel back, and grab your left foot or ankle with your left hand. Gently pull your foot toward your tailbone. Keep your knees aligned, and pelvis tucked; don’t arch your back. Repeat on other side.
All GIFs: Julia Hembree Smith