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10 Best Pre and Post-Workout Stretches For Runners

Do you love running? Do you know what are the best pre and post-workout stretches for runners like you? This article will help you learn some of the stretching routines that are essential for your workout.   

One of the most effective, most convenient, and cheapest exercises that you can do is running. But always keep in mind that it is important to conduct some pre and post-running stretches first. 

You will be off to a good start if you are able to do some stretching before running. Likewise, you will have a great wrap-up if you use yourself in doing post-workout stretches every after running.

Here are the best pre and post-workout stretches that you can try. Feel free to follow the steps provided below the next time you do some running exercises. If you want to have more insights into the stretches, you can watch these videos for a demonstration. 

a man and a woman jogging

Pre Workout Stretches

Standing Side Leg Raises 

This is considered one of the best stretches as it has the capability to target all your key leg and core muscles such as glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. This workout can be done by performing a single basic move.

  1. Stand straight with your feet positioned forward.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg up out to your side.
  3. Your weight should be shifted to your left foot as you lift your right leg. 
  4. Go back to the starting position by exhaling as you lower your foot.
  5. Do this for 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg. 

Moving Low Lunge

Just like the Standing Side Leg Raises, it also targets all your key muscles. 

  1. Stand straight with your feet together and your toes positioned forward.
  2. And then step back your left foot and drop your knee to the floor. Your hands should be on top of your right thigh as you inhale.
  3. Lean forward as you exhale. If you feel some stretch in your left thigh muscles and hip flexor, you are doing it right.
  4. Do this for 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.

Hamstring Scoop

Hamstring muscles are often prone to injury, this workout will help you stretch these muscles for a better and injury-free run. Keep in mind to not arch your back and not to move fast as you do this stretching.

  1. Begin the stretching by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. As your weight is shifted into your left foot, extend the right leg slightly in front. 
  3. And then place your right heel on the floor as you flex it and inhale.
  4. Bright both arms down in a sweeping motion as you exhale.
  5. Scoop your arms down and then back up towards you.
  6. Do this for 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.

Calf Raises

It is one of the most effective pre-workout exercises for runners. It is important that you do some stretching focusing on your calf muscles as it plays a huge part in running. This also targets your soleus and gastrocnemius.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly distance from each other and your toes positioned forward.
  2. As you lift both heels, put the weight into the balls of your feet. Make sure that you are lifting your heels high enough. If you can feel the stretch in your calves, then you are doing the right process.
  3. And then lower your heels back down slowly.
  4. Do this for 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg. 

Stretch Kick

It can be the hardest stretch and can take longer for you to master. But you will be benefiting a lot from this pre-workout stretching once you get the hang of it. It targets your quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings.

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Your toes should be positioned forward.
  2. As your feet are flexed, lift your left leg high in front of you.
  3. And then try to reach your left foot using your right hand.
  4. Lower your left leg and then switch sides. This time use your right leg and try to touch your right foot with your left hand.
  5. Make sure to keep your back straight and engage your hip flexors and lower abdominals. 
  6. Do this for 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.

a woman tying her shoelace

Post Workout

Here are the best post-run stretches you can perform after running. Post-workout stretches are recommended for easy recovery of your muscles.

Standing Lateral Lunge

Standing Lateral Lunge can do wonders for your muscles. It targets your hamstrings, quadriceps,  adductors, and glutes and stretches your inner thigh as well.

  1. Begin the stretching with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes positioned 

forward. Inhale.

  1. Take a big step sideward placing your feet as wide as possible as you exhale. 
  2. As you engage through your right heel, allow your right knee to bend to 90 degrees

position.

  1. Your left leg should be in a straight position, your heel down, and the toes positioned forward. And push through your right leg as you return to the starting position.
  1. Do this for 8 to 12 repetitions on each leg.

Hip Abductor and ITB Stretch

This post-workout stretching is one of the easiest to do. This targets your gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and iliotibial band.

  1. Stand up straight and cross your legs. Your left leg is behind the right.
  2. As you inhale, keep your right arm at your side as you raise your left arm high overhead.
  3. Exhale as you bend towards your right. If you feel a stretch in your left side torso, then you are doing the stretching right. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Lift your hands a little more as you inhale and then lean further into the stretch as you exhale.
  5. Go back to the starting position and repeat the whole stretch on the other side.

Standing Crossed Leg Hamstring

Its main target is your hamstring muscles. It is basically a hamstring stretch but an upgraded version. 

  1. Stand up and then cross your legs with your toes facing forward. 
  2. Inhale and then bend over slowly and then exhale by hinging at the hips.
  3. Try to touch your toes as you bring the torso towards your legs.
  4. Lean a little deeper each time you exhale. You can bend your knees a little if you have tight hamstrings. Hold on to this position for about 15 to 30 seconds. 
  5. Stand back slowly and then switch your legs around.

Standing Quad Stretch

This post-stretch for runners is easy to do and is very important for your inner and outer thigh. It targets your quadriceps.

  1. Start with standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes positioned forward.
  2. Raise your left leg and then bend your left knee. 
  3. Bring your heel to your back towards your glutes and then hold your ankle using your left hand.
  4. Make sure that your spine stays straight while performing this workout.
  5. Hold on to this position for about 15 to 30 seconds and then repeat the process using the other leg.

Straight Leg Calf Stretch

This Straight Leg Calf Stretch used walls as props. It targets your soleus and gastrocnemius. 

  1. Begin the workout by standing in front of the wall. At about eye level, put your hands on the wall.
  2. Step back your left leg and then press your heel into the ground to straighten it.
  3. Bend your right leg and then lean into the wall. If you are able to feel a stretch on the back part of your left leg, then you are doing the stretching right. Hold on to this position for about 15 to 30 seconds. 
  4. Make sure that your spine stays straight while doing this post-run workout.
  5. Do this for 2 to 4 repetitions on each leg.

Key Takeaways

Warming up and cooling down as you do your exercise routines is important for your muscles to condition and recover in no time. It is also important so that any possible risk of injury will be prevented.

Running is no exemption to this as your muscles get tired too as you run. That's why it is recommended to do some pre and post-workout stretches. Keep in mind to always stay safe and use high-quality exercise equipment and gear to ensure your safety all throughout your fitness journey.