Article written by Bustle.
Stretching is a crucial part of any running routine: Research shows it can improve performance and help your muscles recover from all those miles. Here, fitness pros share their favorite post-run stretches that’ll prime your legs for your next tread sesh.
Your quads work hard when you run, which is why this staple stretch is the perfect way to give them some TLC after pounding the pavement, says iFit trainer Kelsey Sheahan. Grab your left foot and pull your heel towards your glute. Hold for 30 seconds per side.
Strong, healthy hamstrings are key to a solid stride, so taking care of them after a jog is crucial, says Jorden Gold, founder of Stretch Zone. Sit with your legs in front of you. Then lead with your chest to fold forward as far as you can. Hold for 30 seconds.
Running can leave your hips tight and inflexible. But pigeon pose can help, says Sheahan. From downward dog, bring your right shin as close to parallel with the top of your mat as you can. Keep your hips facing straight forward. Hold for 30 seconds per side.
There’s a reason this move has “run” in its name: It stretches all the major muscles in your legsthat can grow sore from logging miles. Lift your back knee or rest it on the ground, then press your hips forward, says Sheahan. Hold for 30 seconds per side.
Your legs aren’t the only thing working while you run. A supine twist will release tired back muscles after a jog, says Gold. Lie on your back, then bend your knee and cross that leg over your body. Keep both shoulders on the ground as you twist. Switch sides.
Tight hips? Sheahan says this yogic stretch is the perfect way to open them up. Cross your right ankle above your left knee. Sink your hips down and back as you press your right knee towards the ground. Hold for 30 seconds per side.
Build hip flexibility and mobility with this dual stretch, says Gold. Lie down, then lift one leg in the air. Lower it down to one side of your body, then the other. Hold for 30 seconds in each position, then switch legs. You can use a strap for support.
High Plank To Downward Dog
Strengthen and lengthen with this dynamic stretch that eases your tightly coiled hamstrings and back muscles, says Sheahan. Start in high plank, then send your hips back for downward dog. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat the flow for 30 seconds.
Give your arms a break from all that pumping with this shoulder release, says Gold. Bring your right arm across your body and gently press on your upper shoulder to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds per side.