You are here

10 Injury-Reducing Stretches for Runners

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Wide Side Lunges

    Targets adductors; reduces risk of groin and hip injuries

    Stand up straight with feet directly beneath your hips. Step your right foot out into a lunge as wide as possible and sit backward to stretch your groin muscle. Hold briefly, and return to standing. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Three-Way Hip Swing

    Targets hip muscles (important for range of motion); reduces risk of runner's knee

    While holding onto a wall or chair and keeping your core activated, swing your leg forward and back, side to side, and diagonal across the body. Pull your heel to your butt. Repeat on the other side.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Frog Salutations

    Targets hip rotators, hip flexors, and spine; reduces risk of lower-back and hip injuries

    Settle into a plank position. Bring your left foot next to the outside of your left hand. Sink hips down and hold for a deep stretch. Then, return to plank and repeat on the right side. With the right leg by the right hand, bring the left foot up to meet your left hand, forming a deep squat with feet turned out and elbows on the knees. From this position, stand straight up, extend clasped arms above your head and lean backward from the upper spine. Return to standing and repeat the sequence two more times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Windmill Kick

    Targets hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, and lats; reduces risk of side stitches and hamstring injuries

    Stand up with arms out to form a T. Kick one foot toward the opposite hand, stretching your hamstring and rotating your spine. Bring your leg back to starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Mini Jump and Squat

    Targets glutes, hamstrings, calfs, and lower abdominals; reduces risk of lower back, glute, and calf injuries

    Jump a few inches off the ground, landing on two feet while keeping your pelvis tucked and your knees straight. On the 10th jump, land into a wide-leg squat with feet pointed out. Repeat two times.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Cat Taps

    Targets calf and Achilles muscles; reduces risk of Achilles tendonitis. This move is great for sprinters.

    Shuffle from foot to foot, while staying on your toes, heels off the ground and knees straight. (Think: Shuffling forward quickly, but landing lightly.) Flex your toes when your foot is lifted and point your toes when your foot is on the ground. Do 50 taps total.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Hip Flexor Simulator

    Targets hip flexors and reduces risk of muscle strains on the lower leg and hip flexor injuries. This move is also great for sprinters.

    Bring your knee up to your chest. Release and repeat on the opposite leg, alternating arms with hips to simulate running. (This should feel more like jumping and less like marching in place.) Repeat two sets of 20.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Quad Pull

    Targets hip flexor and quad muscles; reduces risk of runner's knee and IT band syndrome

    Lie facedown on a mat. Grab one ankle and pull toward your butt, keeping your hips and butt neutral and flat. Hold for one minute and repeat on the other side.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Open-Air Stretch

    Targets hamstring and calf muscles; reduces risk of Achilles tendon, hamstring, lower-back, and calf injuries

    Lying down on your back, loop a towel around the ball of your foot and stretch the leg straight up. Keep both knees straight, with the opposite leg flat on the surface. Relax your ankle to stretch the calf and hamstring. Hold for one minute and repeat with the opposite leg.

  • Peter Ardito

    Stretches for Runners: Lying-Down Glute Stretch

    Targets glute muscles; reduces risk of glute and hamstring injuries

    With your back on the ground, bend one knee and pull across to the opposite shoulder. Keep your back flat on surface and hold for one minute. Repeat on the other side.

    Racer-Back Tank ($12, aeropostale.com), Prism Sport Tank ($68, prismsport.com), Capris ($88, lyraactivewear.com), Sneakers ($70, sketchers.com)