Dynamic stretches are (or should be) a critical part of every runner’s routine. These are stretches designed to move the body, and get the muscles and joints warmed up and moving.
Before you hit the road running, check out some of these dynamic stretches, designed to get your blood flowing, your heart pumping, and your muscles loose and ready to go!
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Balance on one leg, while lifting your opposite knee to a 90º angle (your quad should be parallel to the ground). In one smooth motion, lift your leg up and rotate to the side, before returning your lifted foot to the ground. Repeat ten times on each side.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Again, balance one leg, while lifting the other and crossing your ankle over the knee of your grounded leg. Allow your lifted knee to drop as comfort allows, opening your hips. Squat and lift on the supporting leg, approximately five times on each side.
You guessed it: we are going to stand with our feet hip-width apart. Keeping your arms and legs straight, extend and lift your left leg to meet your extended right hand. Alternate legs and hands, ten on each side.
Leg swings are a favorite. There are two variations: lateral and front-to-back. In both cases, you will balance on one leg, and then swing the other. In the front-to-back variety, swing your leg forward and then smoothly through back, in one controlled motion. Try to keep the moving leg in a sweep parallel to the grounded leg.
In the lateral version, you will swing your leg out to the side and then cross over the front of your supporting leg. Again, stay controlled and smooth. Repeat each type of swing ten times on each side.
Knee hugs can be performed as a static or dynamic stretch. For the dynamic version, stand on one leg, and grasp the opposite knee with both arms. Wrap your arms around the knee and draw it upwards, hugging it gently to your chest. Relax the posture and repeat five times on each side.
These are another favorites. With your feet hip-width apart, balanced on one leg and lift the other leg behind you. Grasp your foot with your hand and gently draw your heel as close to your booty as is comfortable. Relax and repeat, five times on each side, being sure not to strain your knee.
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What are your favorite dynamic stretches?