My absolute favorite is the pre-jog dynamic running stretch

bBefore a run, stretching usually doesn’t fall into the “must do” column, the “get to do” column. I’m eager to use my energy to hit the trail, you know?

But there is one stretch that I don’t mind doing at all, because everything about it makes me feel like I’m getting stronger and more ready for the starting line. The stretch is called “single leg hip hinges” and also goes by the name “runner’s touch”.

To do this, you stand on one leg, and then lean your torso forward and lift the non-standing leg behind you until both are parallel to the ground. You’re basically in a Warrior 3 pose, with your body forming a “T” shape (your standing leg is the base, and your leaning-forward upper body and raised leg are the top). Then, engaging your core, you return to a standing position, bending the raised leg out in front of you, in a runner’s pose as you run with a high knee.

A single stride in the stretch is like a snapshot. You repeat this for 30 seconds on one side, and then do it again on the other leg.

This move falls into the category of dynamic stretching, where you engage your muscles while simultaneously stretching. This double duty is what makes dynamic stretching so great for exercise preparation.

“Dynamic stretching differs from static stretching because you don’t hold a stretch (like you do a static stretch), you’re actively coming in and out of that stretch, thus activating and stimulating the muscles being used,” says Azul Korazoria, a certified health coach and personal trainer “A good dynamic stretch targets the muscles you’re going to use to help increase range of motion and circulation.”

Since this stretch essentially ends in a freeze frame of your run, it makes sense that it will mimic the motion of running in a way that prepares your muscles.

“It slowly stretches your posterior chain muscles (hamstrings, glutes, and back) as you bend forward, and then activate/contract them as you come back,” Corazoria says. “This is a great movement because it requires you to use your core to maintain good form.”

So effectively, these moves make for a great pre-running warm-up. But what is it about them that I actually enjoy so much? When I lean forward, I enjoy the stretch my standing leg gives to my hamstrings. But I also love the feeling of being back. Doing this slowly and with control, I can feel almost every muscle in my leg – from my big ol’ quads to the tiny muscles in my ankles – working. It makes me feel strong and light. Like I’m ready to jump and run forward.

There may be some biology at work, Korazoria tells me. Stretches help relieve tension and tension, “but increasing blood flow and oxygen to our bodies can also release endorphins and serotonin (AKA our ‘feel good’ hormones). Our bodies are designed to move, they want to move.”

A reminder of exactly what this stretch is. That my body is ready to move, ready to run.

Want to get run-ready legs? Try this 10-minute mobility-based warm-up designed specifically to get you ready for a long run.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.