The success of all athletes depends upon three factors—strength, endurance, and flexibility. Any athlete who wishes to reach the top and make a mark cannot afford to overlook any of these factors. A balance between all the three factors is crucial for a successful endeavor. For runners this is particularly so, but with flexibility scoring over the other two. Flexibility holds much importance for runners, because only when the length of the stride increases can a runner run faster, without expending any additional energy. Indirectly, flexibility also contributes to endurance and to a certain extent, strength, which explains as to why stretching exercises hold such importance for runners and athletes in general. Stretching exercises not only creates a balance, but are also important for the health, speed and reflexes of the runner. These exercises work on all the muscles that are vital for running, toning them so that the strain of running doesn’t wear them out. They are easy to do and take only a few minutes. However, this does not downplay their importance as performing stretching exercises can make all the difference when sprinting towards the finishing line. Regular stretching exercises will certainly give you an edge over other runners, surprising them, and leaving them far behind with the speed of your legs. Given below in the article are a few stretching exercises that runners cannot afford to miss. Read further to know more these stretching exercises.
Stretching Workout For Runners
For runners one of the most important muscles is the quadriceps. This muscle, present in the front of the thigh, helps in lifting the knees and increasing the speed. To do this stretching exercise, first stand straight. Then, hold a stable object with one hand to maintain your balance. Bring up one leg, bending it at the knee. With the free hand, hold the leg round the ankle. Now lift it towards your buttocks.
While doing this exercise, make sure that the back is kept straight and the knee of the bent leg is aligned with the straight leg. You can also do this exercise by positioning your body on the edge of a bench with one leg dangling and placed forward, with the knee bent. The other leg is placed on the bench, backward so that the thigh touches the bench surface. Then, using the hands, pull the ankle towards your buttocks.
Lie on your back with the eyes upwards and the back flat. Using both hands, grasp the thigh of one leg and pull it up straight. Keep the knee bent a little, while pulling it up and then straighten slowly. Gradually, you should be able to pull the thigh closer to the chest. Take a chair or a stool that is waist high. Stand at a distance and place your foot on it with the leg straight. Place both your palms just above the knee and slowly bend forward, until you feel a stretch in the hamstring.
Lie down on the floor with the back straight. Bend both the knees upwards with the foot off the ground. Cross one leg over the other, so that one leg is over the knee of the other. Grasp the uncrossed leg at the thigh with both hands and pull it towards your chest. You should feel a stretch in your buttocks and knees.
Stand straight and lean against a wall with both the palms pressed against it. Bend one leg at the knee and put the other leg back several feet away from the wall, with the heel placed firmly on the floor. Keep the leg that you put backward straight. While keeping the back straight, lunge forward so that you feel the stretch in your calf muscles.