Be it your morning or evening jog, a few good stretches are always a great way to start out. After a tired day at work or a good night’s sleep, stretching is sometimes a highly rejuvenating feeling to those muscles.
Stretching is also a major requirement while you are on a workout regime. It eases stiffened joints, oils up your muscles and helps prevent sudden injury.
The why and what of pre-jog stretching:
Dynamic vs Static Stretching:
Stretching, in general, helps improve the flexibility of your muscles. The time and type of stretching determine the difference between static and dynamic stretches.
- Frequently used by athletes.
- Involves rhythmic movement of limbs and muscles over complete turns of motion.
- Advances flexibility and reduces injury risk.
- The movements are slower versions of those made while playing a sport of sorts.
- Arm circles, walking lunges etc.
- Slower in comparison to dynamic stretches.
- Involves stretching your muscles until discomfort but no pain is felt.
- The position is held for 15-30 seconds.
- The hamstring stretch: You sit back with your legs in front of you and try to touch your toes.
Basically, if you are into running for longer hours and higher speeds, dynamic stretching is the way to go. Dynamic stretching helps to get your heart rate high.
Static stretching, on the other hand, relaxes your muscles. If you are pushing over 30, it is safer that you stick with static stretching!
So, if you are looking for particular stretch routines to carry out before a run, here are a few:
Walking lunges are a great way to warm yourself up. You see people doing it in the beach or their terrace and find it looking preposterous, but it actually helps you more than you think! The quads and hip flexors are muscles you essentially use when you run. These lunges warms up these muscles and also stimulate forward movement.
Perform these warm ups by bending your front knee to 90 degrees and the back one till it almost touches the floor.
Sideways stretches are a great way to start your day. At this day and age, sitting in your workplace all day results in a lot of back pain. And jogging in the morning without stretching could induce side stitches.
You can do this by pulling your arms up above your head and sucking your stomach in. Now bend at the waist right and left simultaneously. This helps to open up the hip flexors and eases the muscles in your lower back.
Now this is one exercise that everyone knows about. What you don’t know is that your hips do most of your exercise when you run. So easing the muscles there could go a long way to prevent damage.
The exercise is fairly simple. Circle your hips in wider progressing areas and then switch directions. Yes, it might be difficult to move left ways, but it really helps.
Yes, this might be weird but your claves go through a lot of stress especially while running. Putting a lot of pressure on those muscles could bring about quite a bit of damage.
You can do this by holding on to a rail or chair and standing on your toes for a minute and apart.
Stork Stretches can be quite tricky because a lot of muscles are involved, which makes it all the more important. This dynamic stretching exercise relaxes the hip flexors and quadriceps.
Bend your knee and pull in your right foot from behind up till your buttock. Hold this posture for 15 seconds and then switch sides.
The hip flexor stretch:
This dynamic stretching technique helps in flexing your hips before a run. This is absolutely essential if you have a desk job or spend most of your day sitting around.
Start this by pulling the front leg to a 90 degree angle and the other one stretched at the back with your knee above ground. Raise your arms high and straight in the air till you can feel a tug in the back of your thighs. Now pull your hands down and up again. Do this five times and switch legs.
This stretching routine is absolutely essential for the stretching of your iliotibial, outer thigh muscle and gluteal muscles.
Sit on the floor such that your right leg is bended and your buttocks rest on your right foot. Make sure that your right leg is folded in such a way that it is lightly angled to the right. Stretch your other leg behind you as far as possible such that your shin and top of your foot rests on the ground. Now bring your hands above your head such that one is holding the elbow of the other and twist your torso alternatively on both sides.
Running takes a toll on your entire body and all the muscles involved. A few lunges in every direction could do miracles by easing the pressure on your muscles.
Start out with a few forward and backward lunges by bending one leg to 90 degrees and the other backwards. Then do a few sideways lunges and a curtsey lunge, where you bend your backward leg like you are curtseying.
The hamstrings or the muscles at the back of your thighs suffer a lot under running exercise. They tend to tighten up during runs, which is why it is impertinent to stretch them beforehand. Stretching hamstrings is also known to reduce soreness, prevent lower back pain and improve flexibility.
Squat down such that your buttocks don’t touch the ground but are just above your heels. Pull your hands back and grab your claves with corresponding hands. Push your legs apart such that you are on a standing bend. Make sure that your chest is at par with your thighs and hold this position for a half a minute.
Lie on the floor such that your knees bent up and feet are flat against the floor. Now take a rolled up towel with both your hands and loop the middle over the mid of your foot. Extend the foot up into the air, still holding on to the towel. Hold this posture for half a minute and switch legs.
A few simple dynamic stretches to boost your workout:
Leg swings are one of the simplest and most effective dynamic stretches. You can do them either while standing or while moving forward. Keep your posture erect and kick with one foot right ahead as far off as possible without drawing pain. And then swing it backward in the same manner. These movements are aimed to stretch your hip flexors, your gluteus and your hamstrings.
Arm circles help get your blood flowing in your shoulders and wakes your shoulder muscles which will have a lot of work to do while jogging. Stretch your arms beside you to right angles with your body. Now slowly rotate them in the forward direction, forming as wide a circle as possible. Do this for a while then switch direction.
Alternate Toe Touches:
This is aimed to warm up your gluts and hamstrings before a run. Stand up with your back straight and your legs wide apart. Ascertain that your knees aren’t bending. Bend forward and touch your right foot with your left and vice versa. Repeat this several times.
Knee to chest stretch:
This aims to stretch the muscles in your gluteal regions. It is equitably simple. Lie on your back. Fold and bring your right knee up to your chest and hold the position for a half a minute. Do the same with the other leg.
Side to side leg swings:
This targets the hip flexors. Do this dynamic warm up by holding on to a rail or wall for support. Now lift your right knee and kick out your leg sideways such that it crosses a distance over the side and then crosses your other leg while returning. Do the same with the other leg too.