The most important of all stretches for runners is hamstring stretching. Hamstring injuries are the leading cause of severe low back pain in runners. If you do not stretch your hamstrings, you could be at risk for a severe injury.
Hamstrings run from the center of the body through the outer edge of the knee to the ankle. When it is stretched too far, this muscle becomes irritated, causing pain and possible injury. Running and other activities that put stress on the hamstrings may help prevent the chances of getting injured.
What Is The Best Stretches For Runners
The best stretches for runners for hamstrings involve working one side at a time. Each hamstring stretch should be performed while the foot is on the floor. Use your hands to lift the opposite leg off the floor while you hold onto it with both hands.
A sitting hamstring stretch can be helpful in relieving pain. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and put your hands on your hips. Press your hands against your buttock, flexing the hip and bringing your knees up toward your chest. Repeat several times.
Hanging hamstring stretches are another option. Hold onto a doorway, tree branch, wall poster, and pull your heels toward your hips as far as you can. Reach your hand toward the furthest point between your shoulder blades and try to touch your knee to the wall. Repeat on the other side.
Some Common Methods Of Stretches For Runners
Knee flexion is the most common method of hamstring stretching. Lie on your back on the floor and extend your knee straight out toward the ceiling. Allow your knee to remain bent but bring your heel to the floor.
You can perform knee extensions while lying on your back. Lie on your stomach and reach your knee back. Grab it by the shin and rotate your knee out toward the ceiling. Extend the leg as far as possible without straining the lower back.
Hanging hamstring stretches can also be done while lying on your back. Place a book or other object under your head so that your head is higher than your knee. Reach your leg out as far as you can.
What Should You Know About Hamstring stretches
Hamstring stretches should be performed when you have adequate time to fully stretch the muscles. If you only have 10 minutes, you will not get the benefits you seek. You should begin your stretches slowly so that the muscles will be ready to absorb the tension you put on them.
Hanging hamstring stretches should be done before you run or do any activity that puts pressure on the hamstrings. The best time to perform these stretches is when you are seated. However, they can be used before you run if you are in a position to stretch the hamstring muscles before you start running.
Stretch your hamstrings after every workout, especially after running. Begin to stretch both sides at the same time for a maximum benefit. Do these stretches for runners at least two to three times a week.
By following these suggestions for hamstring stretches for runners, you will increase your chances of being injury free. The best way to stretch is to stretch with your eyes closed. Do not forget to stretch before and after every run and activity.