3 Quality Stretches
Thursday, 20 September 2012
From the September 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Must-do stretches that are easy to perform, anywhere
By Sam Murphy
Let’s face it, most of us could do with holding our stretches for longer than the usual perfunctory three seconds. “Evidence suggests that holding a stretch for between 20 and 30 seconds is most effective for easing healthy muscles back to their normal resting length after a run,” says sports massage therapist Lorraine Western. But there are other ways of getting the maximum return from your stretching: “It’s thought that muscles relax on exhalation, so breathe in deeply and exhale slowly as you stretch,” advises Western. One stretch per muscle group is sufficient for ‘unwinding’ after a run, but if you have specific areas that feel tight, it’s worth repeating the stretch. Western recommends three or four repetitions of a 30-second hold. And if you’re in a hurry? All muscles that you’ve used would benefit from being stretched as part of a cool-down, says Western, but if you’re time-crunched, make sure you hit the hip flexors, hamstrings and calves as a bare minimum. Try this quickfire routine:
Take a big step forward with your left leg, bending the left knee and allowing your right knee to rest on the floor, shoelaces facing the ground. Bring your torso upright and curl your tailbone under, then gently press your right hip forward. Repeat on the other side.
Stand in front of a support that’s around knee-height and place your right foot on it, keeping this leg straight (1). Your support leg should be perpendicular to the ground. Hinge forward from the hips until you feel a stretch along the back of your thigh (2). Swap sides. Repeat.
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bending the knee. Keep your right leg straight and press your right heel down. Now take a half step forward with your right leg and bend both knees. You should feel a stretch along the lower part of the right calf. Swap sides.
Like this article? Subscribe to Runner’s World and save up to A$35 on the retail price (delivered directly to your door) and receive a FREE pair of Brooks socks PLUS if you subscribe for two years you will also receive a FREE Runner’s World watch.
If you missed picking this issue up at newsstands you can purchase your Runner's World back issue here today!