Exercise

How to stretch after a run

Performing stretching exercises after a run will help you cool down gradually and improve your flexibility.

These stretches are best done after exercising, when your muscles are warm and more elastic.

Breathe deeply and regularly during the stretches. Aim to stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort.

You shouldn't feel any pain when doing these exercises. If you do, stop and seek medical advice.

Hip flexor stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Hip flexor stretch starting position
Step your left leg forward, keeping both feet pointing straight ahead.
Hip flexor stretch side view
Keeping your back leg straight and avoiding sticking your buttock out and arching your back, slowly bend your front leg and push your right buttock forward until you feel a stretch across the front of your right hip joint. Repeat with the other leg.

Thigh stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Thigh stretch front view
Grab the top of your left foot behind you and gently pull your heel towards your left buttock to stretch the front of the thigh, keeping the knees touching.
Thigh stretch side view
Avoid leaning forwards or to the side. Repeat with the other leg.

Tip: place a hand on a wall or bench for balance.

Hamstring stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Hamstring stretch front view
Stand with your right leg just in front of the other and your hands on your hips. Keeping your right leg straight and toes pointing up, bend your left leg.
Hamstring stretch side view
Bend towards your right leg, keeping your back straight. Repeat with the other leg.

Iliotibial band (ITB) stretch – hold for 15 seconds

ITB stretch front view
To stretch your right ITB, cross your right leg behind your left leg.
ITB stretch side view
Keeping both feet on the ground, lean to your left side and push your right hip outwards. Don't bend forward or stick your buttocks out. Repeat with the other leg.

Tip: you should feel the stretch along your outer right thigh and hip.

Calf stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Calf stretch front view
Step your right leg forward. Bend your front leg and keep your back leg straight. Both feet should point forwards.
Calf stretch side view
Push your left heel into the ground, keeping your left leg straight. Repeat with the other leg.

Tip: You should feel the stretch at the back of your left leg, below the knee.

Lower back stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Lower back stretch
Lie on your back with both feet flat. Pull your right knee to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for up to 15 seconds and repeat with the left leg. Then pull both knees to your chest and hold for up to 15 seconds.

Buttock stretch – hold for 15 seconds

Buttock stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left thigh. Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands and pull the left leg toward your chest. Repeat with the other leg.

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Page last reviewed: 22/11/2017
Next review due: 22/11/2020