What Kind of Stretches Are Suitable To Do Before Running?

Skipping pre-run stretches or warm-up exercises is a sure way to injure yourself during your workout. Running with unprepared muscles can cause a muscle strain. And that can keep you off your feet – and the road or path — for days, weeks, or even months. There are various stretches to do before running. You will get a lot of them in the following text.

In fact, according to Yale Medicine, at least half of all regular runners are injured each year. Pre-run muscle preparation begins with a five- to ten-minute jog or walk, followed by dynamic stretching. Stretching the critical muscle groups, you’ll be utilizing quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors is essential. But don’t forget to warm up your core, back, and calves as well. 

Stretches To Do Before Running - Leg stretches

Leg Stretches To Do Before And After Running

The Knee Hug 

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, up to 80% of individuals will suffer lower back discomfort at some point in their lives. Lower back discomfort can be caused by heavy lifting and extended sitting. But a lack of healing can also cause it after a run. The knee hug might help to stretch and alleviate tension in the back muscles.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 

The hip flexors are a set of muscles found where the thighs and torso connect. Hip and lower back discomfort can be caused by tight hip flexors, especially in runners. Tight hips can impede a runner’s growth because of the function they play in raising the legs. Hip flexor stretches discomfort can also be caused by long hours of sitting at a desk or in a car.

Standing Quad Stretch 

The quadriceps muscles, sometimes known as “quads,” are the muscles at the front of the thigh. Running and riding can create tight quadriceps if they are not adequately stretched. When these muscles become stiff and fast, they can cause hip and back misalignment, resulting in discomfort. Because the quadriceps support the knee, having solid and flexible quads can assist with knee discomfort.

Knee Stretches To Do Before Running


Sit up straight and bring the soles of your feet together as if you were forcing your knees to the ground. You can press them down even more with your elbows if you maintain your back straight.

This Stretch targets your inner thighs, hips, and groyne and can help you move more freely from your hips. This is necessary to assist runners in maintaining proper form and stride, preventing strains that can cause discomfort.

Hip Flexor Stretch 

Kneel on your left leg, then take a giant stride forward with your right leg, leaning into it to feel your hips open up. Then make a changeover. Your office chair lifestyle, like your quads, may lead to very tight hip flexors, especially when combined with running, which involves a lot of single-direction movement. You could also benefit from including some lateral exercises into your cross-training in addition to this stretch. Everybody loves a nice side lunge!

Stretches To Do Before Lifting Legs And Running

Bent-Knee Forward Swing 

For added stability, stand next to a wall or fence. Place your right leg firmly on the ground. Then bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle in front of you. Drive the knee up toward your chest while keeping your hips pointed forward, then stretch it straight out behind you. Rep 10 times on each leg, then switch legs. This exercise focuses on the hip flexors.

Straight-leg lateral swing

Stand on one side of a wall or a fence, leaning against it for support. Place your right leg firmly on the ground. Then, using smooth, fluid action, lift your left leg and swing it out to the left. Then across your body to the right side immediately in front of your torso, maintaining your hips facing forward. Rep 10 times on each leg, then switch legs. The hip abductors and adductors are targeted in this exercise.

Stretches To Do Before Long-Distance Running

Hip Circle 

When you’re jogging, your hips take a lot of punishment. So warming up the joints and muscles in that area before you hit the pavement might help you avoid injury. A simple approach to achieve this is to do a few minutes of hip circles.

Standing with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart is an excellent place to start. As though your hula-hooping, circle your hips in one direction. Increase the size of the circles until you’re using your whole range of motion. On the last cycle, halt momentarily at the front, rear, left, and right points in the circle to deepen the stretch. Repeat in one direction for six to ten revolutions, then switch ways.

What Stretches Do Runners Need To Do Before And After Running

Arm Swings 

Standing in a steady posture, start swinging both arms at the same time, as if you were a windmill so that the whole arm rises straight in front of you and then around behind you. Begin with tiny circles and progressively increase the size of the arm swing as momentum builds. 

You may also adjust the swing’s angle gradually to bring it closer to you. Repeat for 30 seconds. This stretch focuses on the shoulder, chest, and upper back muscles that help you swing your arms when running.

Side Lunge 

Stand with a broad stance wider than your hip/shoulder breadth but not so vast that you feel stretched. Bend your left knee, enabling your hips to sit backwards, and move your weight over your right foot as you stride to the right with both feet facing forward. 

Keep your upper body erect and your core engaged as you move. Then go back to your feet. A rep for 10 reps on each side, then switches sides. The hip abductors/adductors are targeted, and the core stabilizing muscles are engaged.

Stretches To Do Before Running - Side Lunge

Do I Need To Dynamic Stretches Before Easy Running?

Increase flexibility, enhance motor skills and speed by doing dynamic flexibility exercises several times a week before harder/faster-running workouts or as a strength and conditioning program on its own. Increased flexibility and strength coupled enhances the condition of muscle fibers.

Running without stretching is a risky proposition that slows recovery. Before a rigorous training session or a quick run, it’s a good idea to do some dynamic stretches – stretching while moving. That activates the muscles and brings more blood to the vital areas.

Stretches To Do Before Running And Hiking

Take a few stretching exercises before heading out on a hiking excursion. Stretching before your trek increases your range of motion and flexibility. More so, it reduces the amount of pain you experience afterwards. Hiking stretches are essential for trail safety and can help avoid injuries. 

Types Of Stretches To Do Before Running

Calf Stretch 

Step back with your right foot against a tree (or a wall). Place your hands on the tree’s trunk and point your toes toward it. Bend your left leg forward for 30 seconds and hold it there. Continue to maintain the posture for another 30 seconds by switching legs.

Bend your left leg slightly and stretch your right leg out in front of you while standing. Tilt your hips forward until your outstretched leg feels stretched. Hold for around 20 seconds before switching to the other leg. During this posture, you can maintain your hands on top of your extended leg or your hips. Calf stretches can be the best exercise to do before hiking. 

Hand Stretches To Do Before Running

Eagle Arms 

This motion extends your upper back and shoulders. Your shoulder joint is also stabilized and flexed by it. It aids in the development of flexibility and range of motion. It might assist you to avoid slouching over your computer or keyboard. This is one of the best upper back stretches. 

Assisted Side Bend 

This is one of those stretches that you may find yourself sinking into and continuing to do. It lengthens your torso and extends your arms while opening up your side body. Because you’re gently tugging on your arm, the discomfort and pressure in your shoulder joint can be relieved.

Straighten your back. Sweep your hands out and up, meeting over your head, as you inhale. With your left hand, grasp your right wrist and raise your right palm to the sky. Root down into your pelvis (or feet if you’re standing) and lean to the left, gently tugging on your right arm with your left hand as you exhale.

Stretches To Do Before Running - Assisted Side Bend

As you breathe deeply and gently, relax into this. Bring your attention to your ribs as the stretch continues. Shift them back if they’re flaring out, so your spine is stretched laterally while the distance in your arm and side is maintained. Switch sides and extend the other arm when you’re ready.

Shoulder Rolls 

Standing up straight but comfortable, position your feet shoulder-width apart for shoulder rolls. Begin moving your shoulders in large circles forward. Perform this action for about 15 seconds, then reverse it for another 15 seconds.

If You Need To Do Full Body Stretches Before Running

Stretching your body before doing any exercise or activity is important. You may choose to focus on certain body parts due to limited time. However, you can do a full body stretch exercise if you have time to do so.

Stretching the full body lowers injury risks during exercises. Therefore, it is not forbidden to do the full body stretch.

Final Thoughts

Even a gentle jog works your muscles, and many doctors advise stretching those muscles before and after exercise. Over time, exercise can shorten a person’s strengths, reducing mobility. Stretching keeps the muscles and joints in the body flexible, allowing them to move to their maximum range of motion. And there are lot of stretches to do before running.

If you experience any pain when stretching, you should stop immediately. It’s critical to distinguish between feeling a “stretch” and experiencing pain. Stretches should be something you can easily hold for 30 seconds. So that’s all these were some of best leg stretches. 

3 thoughts on “What Kind of Stretches Are Suitable To Do Before Running?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I exercise and I run a lot. I have to admit that sometimes, I skip stretching and warming up before I go running, but in most cases, I do follow most of these routines here outlined. In fact, there are some new ones that I haven’t been doing but I will incorporate them in my stretching before running routine. For example, Hip flexor stretch is completely new to me so I’ll give it a try next time. Do you know what would be useful in this post? More pictures and maybe a video! In any case, this was extremely helpful. Thanks again for sharing and keep up the good work!

  2. Hello! This was a really informative article on stretching and how important it is for maintaining an active lifestyle. I can attest that on numerous occasions I didn’t properly stretch before running or playing sports and have either pulled a muscle or injured myself. It’s one of those things where I should know better but don’t always put in the time to stretch. Thank you for putting this information together and sharing your knowledge, this was helpful!

  3. This is a great reminder of how good it is to stretch before and after exercising. I’ve had a couple of hips replaced lately and am not quite back into running. However, after I heal a little longer I will definitely follow your instructions and do these stretches before and after running. Sometimes I skip the stretching part of exercise and I definitely feel it the next day!

    These exercises are also good for other activities like tennis. Thanks so much for this post. I will definitely heed the advise!



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