Stretches, something everyone does before a run or a workout. However, which muscles should we stretch?
How should we stretch it? How long should we hold each stretch for?
Based on recent studies, stretches do not actually reduce the risk in injuries with any exercise. However, it is still recommended as it helps with improving body awareness and provides that temporary relief for tight muscles.
Well, worry not as here are 5 different stretches to help tackle those tight muscles that are required for running.
1. Hip flexor stretches
Hip flexors are like the toddler that wants to be involved in everything but in turn makes things less efficient than it could be.
Tight hip flexors limit hip extension and ends up restricting the forward propulsion in a run.
2. Glute stretches
Gluteal muscle groups are important as they are the power house for the lower limbs.
They help stabilise your pelvis as well as make sure your hips don’t sway side to side. Giving some tender loving care to this group of muscles will definitely help your run last longer and reduce the load on your hamstrings.
3. Calf Stretches
Calves! ! The muscle group that literally puts a spring into your step.
Tight calves prevent us from having a heel strike which will impact our ability to push off and gain that forward momentum that is so important during a run.
Our calves have 2 major muscles with different attachments, hence stretching the calves with the knee straight and the knee bent are both correct but targeting different muscles.
These muscles are located under your six-pack abdominal muscles. The obliques help with stabilising the trunk. It also works in sync with the body by rotating the trunk and allowing each leg to be brought forward during a run.
5. Pectoralis stretches
Stretching the pectoralis muscle group will help open up the chest. This then allows the back muscles to stabilise the torso and shoulder blades.
It also provides better efficiency with arm movements during a run by allowing the arm to swing back and forth.
In terms of duration of each stretch, a general recommendation is roughly 2 sets of anywhere from 40 – 60 seconds.
Of course, it is always important to speak with your physiotherapist on what the best recommendation would be for you personally.
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