Preparing your body to run is as important as what you do for the actual run. Most people wonder what the perfect warm-up to get prepared to run should be like, and that’s why there have been so many arguments regarding this topic.
However, the general consensus is that some light jogging in combination with dynamic stretches will go a long way in preparing your body muscles for the tasks ahead.
The stretches, in this case, should move your joints through the full ranges of motion while allowing the muscles to absorb oxygen. In case you were wondering what stretches you should do before a run, this is the right article for you. You might also want to have a peek here to find out more about the various benefits of warming up before a run. Without any further delay, let’s look at the best stretches to do before running:
1. Ankle Rotation
Most of the runners tend to pay a lot of attention to quads and hamstrings. However, the ankles, too take a beating and should not be ignored. You can make them flexible by rotating each one of them clockwise and anti-clockwise through the complete range of motion.
To do this, sit on the floor with the legs apart, then hold one ankle with your hands, and rotate it. Do 10 to 20 repetitions in each direction, and then switch ankles. This stretch should help to stretch the tight ligaments gently.
2. Walking lunges
Lunges encourage hip flexion and warm up the muscles you will use when running. To perform this one, stand upright with your feet together. Take a huge step with your forward right leg, then lower yourself to the ground by bending both your right and left knees at 90-degree angles.
The left knee should be pointing to the ground (not touching it) so that the left lower leg is almost parallel to the floor.
The right knee, on the other hand, should be bent in such a way that it’s directly over the ankle. Push upwards with your right heel, and push off the left foot to bring the left leg forward. Once you are in the start position, perform the lunge again, only that the left foot should be the one to step forward this time. Take 20 full steps (10 lunges per leg).
3. Calf raises
Every time your feet are raised from the ground as you run, the calf muscles contract. Even though this seems like a simple exercise, it’s crucial if you want to avoid ankles injuries and shin splints. To do this simple muscle stretch, all you need is a step and something to hold on to (banister in this case).
Stand on the step so that your toes are on the step and the heels are hanging off. Once you’re comfortable, lower your heels down towards the ground so that they are below the step. You can pause for about 2 to 3 seconds, then bring your heels up, and rise on your toes while contracting your calf muscles.
Stand on your toes for about 2 seconds, and then lower your heels again so that they are below the step. Repeat the process 10 to 15 times.
There you go,
The above are the best stretches to do before a run. Of course, there are several other stretches, but the ones discussed above should get you going. The main goal is to start off with light-stretching of the core muscles so that they are ready to be pushed to the limit when you start running. After the run, consider doing post-run stretches as well.