Top 10 stretching after running: pamper your muscles and let nothing stop you!
A stretching routine after any workout is, in addition to a good habit, very important for any runner.
If you want to prevent some injuries and achieve good long-term performance, I am going to explain the benefits of stretching after running and on of the top 10 basic stretches that you should do after training.
Why is it important to stretch after training?
You have probably found people who are for and others against stretching before and after training. If you have doubts about whether or not to perform dynamic stretching before running, which is our recommendation.
There is no medical evidence that certifies that doing static stretching after workouts is the key to not suffering any type of injury and in addition, many experts affirm that if you do a training correctly, you don’t need to stretch. However, stretching can have many benefits since we predispose our body to better rest and better recovery.
What you should bear in mind is that neglecting this practice, which is one more part of training, makes our body reveal itself in the form of overloads, jerks or contractures in general.
Benefits of Stretching
Stretching after an hour or more of running will only take about 5-10 more minutes, and in the long run it is sure to outweigh some of its benefits.
1. Promote Recovery and Circulation
When you do a vigorous exercise session, your body pumps blood faster to your heart and therefore beats faster. Stretching allows your body to cool down and your heartbeat to return to normal. Likewise, the release of lactic acid during this intense exercise stops with stretching .
A stretching routine allows you a complete recovery and repair of the muscles, resuming the circulation of blood to the muscles and allowing your heart rate to return to its natural rest. Thus, in addition, you will feel mentally more relaxed and calm before returning to your daily life, allowing you to perform much more in the next session.
2. Prevent Pain and Cramps
If you are a beginner, this in particular interests you, since it is likely that the first times you do more intense workouts your muscles will be more sore. You must be clear that stretching these muscles will not completely dissipate this pain, but it will undoubtedly relieve and minimize it significantly.
On the other hand, not stretching after a workout increases your chances of pulling or cramping. The legs are usually the most affected and the ones that most often suffer from this type of painful involuntary muscle contraction.
3. Improve Flexibility and Greater Range of Motion
About 30 minutes after training, your muscles may still feel tense. Stretching after running will prevent this and improve the flexibility of all your muscle groups.
Flexibility, as you already know, is a very important aspect to reduce muscle tension and help contracted muscles return to their original shape.
Stretching also helps you improve the range of motion of your joints and you will find that it is easier for you to squat or bend over and extend your arms to the floor. In fact, some studies claim that stretching your legs can, in the long term, increase muscle power and endurance.
How to Stretch Correctly?
Stretching consists of gentle and sustained exercises lengthening the muscle beyond its length in its resting position. They should be done slowly and progressively.
You must stretch so that your muscle relaxes . You will soon notice how it pulls, but remember that you should not force it. It is enough to feel a moderate tension and hold that position for about 10 to 15 seconds. Once you relax the muscle, if you continue to feel pain, it means that you are stretching excessively, so you should reduce the intensity of your stretches to avoid injuring yourself.
It is very important that you avoid bouncing or jerking, forcing your flexibility, since for each violent stretching of the muscle fibers a reflex contraction occurs. In this way you will not be helping your muscle to relax, quite the opposite.
Try to make your breathing slow and slow. Breathe in as you stretch the muscle and breathe out while holding it in tension. Remember that you should not hold your breath, since another of our goals when stretching is to regain our normal heart rate.
Always perform the same order in your stretches, from head to toe or from head to toe, passing through each of the muscle groups. This way it will be more difficult for you to forget to stretch any part of your body.
Top 10 stretching after running
With the heel resting on the ground and the knee extended, we must notice how the calf stretches, taking the heel back as far as possible.
they are the great forgotten and stretch in a very similar way to the calves but with the knee semi-flexed and forcing towards the ground. The heel should not lift off the ground.
With the instep down and pressing against the ground.
One leg resting on a wall or bench and the body leaning forward trying to touch the foot with the opposite hand as far as possible. It is essential that the foot resting on the ground is oriented in the same direction as the one that is raised.
5. Quadriceps :
For this stretch it is important that we act with our hips in retroversion, that is, by tightening the abdominal we will push the hips forward. We have to notice how the quadriceps stretches from the highest part, in its origin with the iliac spine. The knees should be more or less aligned.
6. Gluteal / pyramidal :
When stretching this muscle we must force the knee towards the ground. We can do it by forcing a little with the hand / arm, but it will always be better if we do the gesture consciously since our brain is sending a message to the muscle.
Feet on the ground, both facing forward, knees extended and we go to one side and the other to stretch both muscles.
8. Lumbar muscles:
Kneeling on the floor and supporting the buttocks on the heels, we lower the trunk as much as possible.
From the previous position we move forward gently while the hips seek the ground with arms extended and gaze straight ahead.
Look to the side and we grasp each other with the arm to carefully pull the head diagonally. The opposite shoulder must pull towards the ground.
What else can we do to improve in the race?
Strengthening is essential to strengthen the muscles involved in the running gesture and, in addition, it will make our muscles suffer less, resist more and be more powerful.
It can also be of great help to cool the muscles exercised after stretching , put the legs in cold water or apply cold with an ice pack or similar.
Another recommended action is to work the strength in eccentric; this means, work force not when the muscle shortens (which is the most common), but while the muscle lengthens. Strengthening the eccentric calf, soleus and hamstrings will prevent us from discomfort and injury when running. But this section deserves an exclusive article on the subject.