Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Best Post-run Stretch I Know!

This stretch is, in my opinion, The King. The reason I hold this opinion so strongly is that it stretches areas that I tend to have tightness in, especially if I've been running a lot. I think that all of the years doing heavy squats and deadlifts in my bodybuilding/powerlifting competition days created some shortened muscles in my hips and lower back. Oh well, live and learn, right? Always!

Anyway, to get specific about this stretch, what you're doing is squatting down as low as you can to mostly sit on your heels. Then, with your hands on the ground in front of you and your elbows between your knees, start pressing a little outward with your elbows and experimenting with pressing your upper body forward. Sometimes I even stretch my upper body so forward that I put the top of my head either on the ground or on a wall in front of me. For those of you who do yoga, you'll feel like you're in the beginning stages of the Crow Pose, but I actually get way more out of this pose than the full crow pose because of the awesome stretch on my lower back muscles. It's not the most graceful-feeling pose, but it sure is effective!

I'll be posting some more post-run stretches in the coming few days.


  1. This is a highly convenient recommendation since I just went for a two hour trail run! And, if training continues OK this week (e.g. no injuries) I'll even be running in a beginner 5k trail run on Saturday... sooo... please keep posting those running stretches! I'll need 'em for sure. ;)

  2. You'll be great, A.L.! If you're not used to two hour trail runs, you might be a bit sore for the next couple of days, so train softly while you're recovering. Also, soaking in a warm Epsom Salt bath (1 to 2 cups plain Epsom Salt to a tub of warm/hot water for at least 15 minutes followed by a warm/cool rinse in the shower) before bed will help your muscles relax. This helps you get a good night's sleep, too, which is the best thing for muscle recovery.
    PS Epsom Salts are super cheap to buy if you get them at the grocery store or drug store. Don't use the ones that are scented and fancy, because they can be ridiculously expensive! You can get a half gallon carton for about $2.50 at Walgreen's.

  3. Thanks for the advice about Epsom Salts! I am O.K. today (I'm surprised at how little I hurt actually) because I took it slow out on the trail yesterday-- I hiked up all the REALLY steep parts-- but I'm heading out to do a heavier workout with my running partner tomorrow. Trail running sure is different from running on a level path, so before then I'll pick up some Epsom Salts! Our goal is simply to finish the 5k in the time allotted-- nothing fancy, and we're both in shape to do it-- but the race will also be at altitude which presents a nice additional challenge.

    I've heard you shouldn't work the same muscles two days in a row, as it takes two days for muscle tissue to heal... other than abdominal muscles, which you can work every day. Do you hold to that in your workouts? Or do you do a lighter workout for some muscles every other day just to get some circulation and muscle stretching going?

    Thanks for continuing to post stretches! I'm going to go look at your new one now!

    -- Abby

  4. True stuff about muscles needing a day to recover! Maybe more, depending on how much you've pushed them. When they're sore, they're still recovering. But you can do what you said and kind of go through the motions lightly and gently to get circulation and muscle stretching going. Perfectly said!